There are many reasons why American homeowners want to rid their homes and businesses of mold and prevent it from ever coming back. It’s unsightly, for one thing. It can result in large, dark stains on walls, wallpaper, floors, ceilings, upholstery and even woodwork. Aside from that, it generates unpleasant and unwelcoming odors that severely hamper your ability to enjoy yourself and relax—or to focus and do work, as the case may be.
Finally, mold infestations can and do damage property values—especially when they get out of hand. There are many documented cases of homes permanently losing value as a result of large-scale mold infestations. Even if the problem is dealt with professionally, mold has a stigma that doesn’t easily go away when it comes to market value.
All of these are good enough reasons to address mold problems. But the greatest reason, far and away, is the health risks presented by mold. The fact that mold is often apparent to the senses is a good thing. If people could not detect it without special equipment, and never had any grounds to suspect its presence, the health risks of mold would be even greater.
So what are these health risks? What exactly can mold do to people who are exposed, especially over long periods of time?
The vast majority of mold species growing in American homes today can, at the very least, lead to persistent allergic reactions. Sneezing, sniffling, coughing, watery eyes, and other typical allergic reactions can be more frequent and more intense when mold spores are present in the air.
Respiratory and sinus conditions
Many types of mold—especially a handful of species known as mycotoxin-producing “toxic” mold—can lead to very serious respiratory conditions, including: Infection, asthmatic episodes, alveolitis, and sinusitis. Mold spores are particularly irritable for the human respiratory system, and prolonged exposure almost always manifests in respiratory problems of some kind.
Prolonged exposure to many types of mold can have tangible effects on mental clarity and even brain function. Mental fog, short attention spans, inability to concentrate, slow reflexes, loss of memory, and dizziness are just some of the ways in which mold can affect people psychologically.
The list is surprisingly long. Exposure to mold can cause circulatory problems (low blood pressure, inflammation, bleeding or clotting problems, internal bleeding), visual problems (inflammation, blurriness, jaundice), skin-related problems (dermatitis, inflammation, itchiness), and compromises to the immune and reproductive systems. In short, prolonged exposure to mold is extremely unhealthy for the human body, and can affect almost all of the body’s major systems.
So what can you do about it?
Give all of the risks of mold, especially in terms of health, the case for dealing with it swiftly, directly and proactively is about as strong as it could be. Mold is a very real threat on a number of levels, and 21st century homeowners are beginning to treat it with the seriousness it deserves. If you suspect mold—especially if you think that your family members are suffering health problems because of mold—don’t hesitate to have your home professional tested and assessed for mold.
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