You may not realize there is mold in your house, especially if it doesn’t look like the greenish black fuzzy or slimy mold you have seen before. In some cases, mold can look white and threadlike, or a cluster of black spots. Whatever the look, mold is dangerous. It reproduces quickly and once mold spores get into the air, they can be hazardous to your health.

Mold spores are common in household and workplace dust. Due to their light weight, mold spores often float through the air – both indoors and outdoors. Inhaling mold spores can cause allergic reactions for sensitive individuals.  Allergic reactions may include hay fever-type symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, red eyes and skin rash.

Most commonly, mold is found in moist areas of your home. It can be behind walls, in the basement, under the carpet, in bathrooms, or in your attic. It can even grow in your mattresses or under your kitchen sink.  There are hundreds of types of molds that can be found growing in your home, affecting the environment and your family’s health.

There are different categories of mold. Allergenic molds, pathogenic molds and toxigenic molds. Allergenic molds are on the low end of the danger scale. They tend to cause problems for those with asthma, with children being more likely to have mold allergies than adults. Pathogenic molds will cause infection, especially in those with suppressed immune systems. Toxigenic molds produce mycotoxins that can cause serious health effects. The toxic chemicals found in these types of molds can be absorbed into the body when they are inhaled, eaten or even when touched.

Since mold is not always visible, there are some warning signs that indicate there’s toxic mold growing inside your home. If a family member has hard to treat allergies, or has aggravated asthma, other lung problems, or an increase in negative health symptoms such as a fever or feeling itchy, it may be a sign that urgent action is needed.

Mold is a type of fungi. In small amounts, mold spores are usually harmless. However, once the spores are exposed to the right conditions, they can spread like wildfire. Mold can enter your home through windows, air vents and doors. Mold spores can also attach themselves to clothing or pets and then enter your home. If caught early enough, mold can be abated without an intricate process. However, left unattended, mold can damage the structure of your home, harm the health of those living inside it and can be a costly endeavor.

Quite often, mold has a musty odor, which can be one of the most prominent signs that you have mold. If you smell mold, schedule a thorough inspection of your entire home. Although you could purchase a mold test kit on your own, a professional inspection is recommended.

Do you feel better when you’re away from home, but notice your allergies tend to flare up whenever you’re at home? If so, there’s a strong probability that there’s hidden mold somewhere inside your home.  Typical allergic reactions to harmful mold include a runny nose, inflamed eyes, nasal congestion and sneezing. It does not usually take much mold to trigger these symptoms.

What most people don’t realize is that smaller mold spores may look like ordinary dirt or soot, so they are typically ignored. However, these signs could actually be mold in disguise. If you see mold growing, no matter how small, immediately take action.  Even seemingly insignificant mold patches can quickly spread and affect your family.

If you suffer from any neurological symptoms like a short attention span, dizziness, headaches, memory loss, or have trouble concentrating, it could be a huge red flag that harmful, toxic mold is growing and continuing to spread throughout your home — and it’s literally poisoning you. It doesn’t matter if it’s visible mold or not; health problems caused by mold are enough of a reason to get help immediately.

To keep mold from growing in your home, act quickly whenever water seeps into your home or a flood occurs. Remove or replace carpets and sheetrock that has been soaked as quickly as possible. It is recommended that you do not use carpets in areas with moisture, like bathrooms or basements. Ventilate bathrooms, laundry rooms and basement areas so that moisture isn’t trapped. Wash shower curtains and bathroom tiles regularly with mold-killing products. Promptly fix leaking roofs, window and piping. Lastly, keep humidity levels as low as you can all day long, optimally at levels no higher than 50%.

If your home has ever had an issue with moisture, condensation or flooding, you can almost be certain that somewhere mold has started to grow. If you have water issues, or have had them in the past, call a professional mold inspection and abatement company to check your home and make sure it is safe.

Other indicators of moisture issues are bubbling, cracking, or peeling wallpaper or paint. If you notice that your walls are warped, bulging, or bowed, it likely means that moisture has penetrated the surface. When hiring a professional mold inspector, look for a company that is properly licensed and insured.  No matter the outcome of the inspection, ask them for advice on how to prevent mold in the future and how to address trouble areas. Sometimes the solution is as easy as buying a dehumidifier to get rid of extra moisture.

John & Jeanine Tardy    JVN Restorations, Inc.

(718) 605-6256