Let’s just get to the large elephant in the room. There is no doubt that there is a lot of information out there about mold. In the age of information, this is to be expected. But, just like you sift through the daily news agencies for accurate information, this should be no different. Of course, there are lots of reports out there on the world wide web that are designed to scare you to death. Be careful with what you are reading and use a little common sense. There is good info out there, it just might take a minute to find it.
Remember, scientists are still researching the effects of mold and how it affects humans so please take that into consideration as you do your digging.
If you have been diagnosed as having mold allergies, be mindful that it is next to impossible to completely eradicate spores within your personal environment. Molds are everywhere and can be found in any environment or season. Every time you open your door or window, here they come. Your doctor will no doubt tell you this as well. You can however, limit your exposure in your living environment. If you have a compromised immune system, it is definitely in your best interest to limit your exposure.
Mycotoxins are toxic chemicals that are present on spores and small fragments of mold and fungus that are released into the air. There are a few molds known to produce mycotoxins, the dreaded black mold (Stachybotrys chartarum) being one of them. Alternaria, Aspergillus and Penicillium are others. It is widely accepted that mold produced mycotoxins can make you sick but there is no definitive answer from the experts as to how much exposure it takes. Even molds that don’t produce mycotoxins can potentially make you sick. The best thing you can do is stay on top of mold conducive areas/conditions in and around your home. Always be on the lookout for leaks or new water damage as these can create environments for mold colonies. Especially keep an eye on the areas around the home designated as “wet” areas. These include sink, showers, toilets and laundry rooms. Crawlspaces are often over looked as a possible contributor to allergies. Have yours checked out for possible problems.
There are some occupations where mold exposure is a higher risk. The construction industry is high on the list. Many construction workers simply don’t realize that they are putting themselves at risk when remodeling, repairing leaks, working underneath homes, replacing flooring etc.
To speak from personal experience, I have never been diagnosed as having a mold allergy. But, I have found myself in situations where I didn’t have the proper PPE in place prior to being shown a customer’s mold problem and I have gotten a definite burning sensation in the back of my throat and a severe headache that will last as long as 4 days. Keep in mind that these have been extreme cases of a mold manifestation…and I was taken by surprise, but prolonged exposure can potentially turn into susceptibility.
Mold can affect those with or without allergies to varying degrees. Be careful self-diagnosing a mold allergy. The mind is a powerful thing if left to its own devices. If you suspect your having mold related symptoms, the best thing to do is go see a doctor. DO NOT ask your mold guy why you’re sick. There are too many of them that will play doctor and tell you…and that’s above our pay-grade!