What is black Mold?
If you are thinking that black mold sounds like something you wouldn’t want in your house,
you would be right. Toxigenic black mold, otherwise known as Stachybotrys chartarum or
Stachybotrys atra, can quickly infiltrate a home and pose a danger to humans.
Black mold spores that make their way indoors can deposit in areas of excessive moisture, where water damage or a leak has occurred. Black mold spores found in these vulnerable areas will grow and multiply. Wet building materials like cardboard, wood, tile, and paper products are a feeding ground for toxigenic black mold. Mold growth may also be found on paint, wallpaper, dust, drywall, insulation, carpet, and upholstery.
Black mold most commonly grows in the U.S. in areas of a home with poor circulation, which supports fungal growth in damp conditions. The CDC tells us, “Molds are very common in buildings and homes and will grow anywhere indoors where there is moisture.”In order for black mold to infiltrate, a few events must take place. Black mold spores can be found inside and outside. They can easily enter your house through openings like windows, doors, and heating and air-conditioning vents. Black mold spores can also move inside by attaching to pets and people— typically on bags, clothes, and shoes.
Invasive black mold is green-black in color. It is attracted to damp materials with low nitrogen and high cellulose content that facilitate rampant growth.
“constant moisture” for its growth.
Toxigenic black mold found in damp areas usually appears slimy with a wet layer on top. However, if the moisture source feeding black mold begins to dry up, black mold can become dry and powdery in appearance. There are a number of dark colored molds that look similar to black mold. A mold expert can sample the mold infestation to confirm Stachybotrys growth.
Black mold can be dangerous. If left untreated,it can cause a number of health issues related to:
Vision / eye damage
Fatigue / exhaustion
Side effects of black mold exposure include:
Allergies are one of the most prevalent side effects of mold exposure with symptoms like respiratory issues, sinus congestion, eye irritation, dry cough, skin rashes, and nose and throat irritation.
The CDC confirms a possible association between asthma development in some children and early mold exposure; risk increases among children genetically susceptible to asthma.
When mycotoxins from black mold are ingested, absorbed, or inhaled through the eyes and skin, they reach the bloodstream. Long-term toxin exposure in the bloodstream can cause blood clotting issues, heart damage, and external or internal hemorrhaging.
Toxigenic black mold releases mycotoxins that can suppress the immune system. A weakened or compromised immune system leaves a person open to recurring infection and illness.
This uncommon condition, similar to pneumonia, is likely to occur in vulnerable individuals after short-term to long-term mold exposure. HP is characterized by lung inflammation triggered by an immune reaction to airborne mold particles.
Serious infection is likely to occur following mold exposure in the immunocompromised or those suffering from chronic lung disease.
Even in individuals who aren’t allergic to mold, mold exposure in a home can cause respiratory, skin, and eye irritation. Black mold mycotoxins are known to irritate airways and skin.
The Institute of Medicine has discovered limited evidence associating damp environments with lower respiratory issues such as shortness of breath, chest tightness, coughing, wheezing, and the development of asthma.
While further research is needed, the CDC mentions several reports of toxigenic mold exposure linked to rare conditions like pulmonary hemorrhage.
sick building syndrome
Sick building syndrome is described by the EPA as a health condition that afflicts occupants of a damp or poorly ventilated building with non-specific symptoms of illness, like fatigue, headache, and eye, throat, or skin irritation.
10 Important Warning Signs of Black Mold Exposure
Depending on where water damage or dampness has occurred, black mold growth may not be visible. The CDC states that the first indication of a mold infestation may be a noticeable moldy smell or even sudden physical symptoms without a known cause.
Protect your health against black mold poisoning by watching for common symptoms like:
Aches and pains
Black mold spores that have been absorbed by the body will cause mild to severe muscle pain; symptoms include aches, pain, fatigue, and cold-like symptoms such as fever and nausea.
Early mold exposure may trigger allergy-like symptoms, such as itchy skin, sneezing, and headaches.
If you find yourself going to the doctor for that same sinus infection again and again, black mold could be to blame. Chronic bronchitis is another short-term symptom of black mold exposure.
Black mold exposure has been associated with disorientation, difficulty concentrating, memory failure, and even memory loss in very severe cases, such as in those with weakened immune systems, children, and the elderly.
Conjunctivitis that affects eye health is a common early warning sign of black mold exposure as the immune system releases histamines to fight off environmental toxins; watch for symptoms of red, watery, itchy, irritated eyes.
Malaise and drowsiness are hallmark signs of early black mold exposure; as the immune system attempts to fight off mycotoxins, drowsiness and discomfort may result.
Common symptoms of digestive distress related to mold exposure include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, and unexplained weight loss.
Those who are already vulnerable to mold exposure, like children with asthma or the elderly, may have difficulty breathing or see a sudden onset in asthma attacks.
In some severe cases, black mold poisoning can show up as a number of perplexing symptoms that are difficult to diagnose; chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia have been misdiagnosed in some patients.
Rashes are likely to occur within 48 hours after direct mold exposure, if black mold has been inhaled or touched; symptoms include dry, red, flaky, itchy skin.
Visible black mold should be dealt with right away— by calling a mold removal
professional or by using DIY methods for milder cases. Mold that is not visible may still release a pungent moldy smell. If you notice any strange odors in confined areas of your home that may be damp or affected by water damage, it’s time to investigate.
Your family’s health depends on it.
How to Recover from Black Mold Exposure
If you suspect that you have been exposed to black mold in your home, it’s important to contact your doctor. It is equally important to deal with any water damage that may be promoting mold growth. This is the time to call in reinforcements— large quantities of black mold may be difficult to remove safely without releasing more mycotoxins into your home.
Once mold has been contained in your home, health rehabilitation is the next step.
Your doctor can work with you to assess symptoms that may have occurred after black mold exposure. As described above, many run-of-the-mill mold exposure symptoms can easily be confused for exhaustion, allergies, or cold and flu symptoms. In reality, black mold infestation may be the cause of a number of chronic health issues that do not respond to medical treatment.
Lab tests are available to check for elevated Stachybotrys IgA levels in blood following black mold exposure. However, not everyone exposed to black mold may show elevations; further medical examination may be needed to confirm toxigenic symptoms.
Michigan State University College of Human Science
recommendations for toxigenic mold testing are as follows,
“Testing should be limited to standard diagnostic tests such as pulmonary function and radiographic studies. Skin testing for fungus or measurement of IgE antibodies such as those in the Midwest Allergy Panel and/or IgG antibodies in the Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis Panel are helpful in documenting exposure when the results are positive.”
your physician may prescribe drugs to treat symptoms of mold exposure, such as :
Mycotoxin binding agent.
Activated charcoal or bentonite clay
Natural binding agent, may be taken with CSM.
Including plyenes, triazoles, imidazoles, and allylamines.
Opioid receptor antagonist often prescribed at low doses.
Specialty resources for symptoms of black mold exposure can be found at the American Board of Environmental Medicine and the
American Academy of Environmental Medicine websites.
Seeking medical attention is always recommended to determine the extent of the damage caused by short-term and long-term mold exposure.
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- 6. “Recognise Black Mold Symptoms & Find Out How you can Treat them?” MoldGeek.
- 7. “Black Toxic Mold: 5 Warning Signs Your Home is Infested.” Answers.com.
- 8. “Toxic Mold.” oem.msu.edu.