Any warm moist place is a suitable place for mold to grow. Typically these molds appear as dark green or black spots, but they can also be while, yellow and pink. A particularly concerning type of mold is the toxic black mold or Stachybotrys mold. This mold is known to be toxic to humans and the side effects of mold can be disastrous for some.
In those who are sensitive to black mold the side effects can be wide ranging. Because this mold can grow any where there is sufficient moisture, it commonly occurs in households. And because it most typically grows behind walls, above ceilings, and under carpets it can be difficult to know when an illness is actually one of the side effects of mold growing in your home. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), those who have weak or compromised immune systems, asthma and respiratory conditions are especially at risk.
Some of the side effects of mold exposure include a persistent cough or sinus problems, headaches, skin rashes, watery/itchy eyes, and irritation in the nose and throat. Those who are very sensitive to the mold mycotoxins and those with asthma or other breathing conditions can experience wheezing and extreme shortness of breath. In addition, fungal infections are possible including those that require surgery. The severity of symptoms will depend on your sensitivity to the black mold, the length of time you have been exposed to the mild spores, and the degree to which you have been exposed. There have been documented cases of lung hemorrhage and memory loss from exposure to toxic black mold, so it is not something that should be taken lightly.
A mold allergy can be diagnosed by a physician through simple blood tests or skin prick tests. Of course another method to determine if your symptoms are due to mold side effects is to have a qualified technician examine your home for the presence of toxic black mold.
Because molds are everywhere it is impossible to avoid all exposure to mold spores. This isnt necessary in any case, as most mold spores are not harmful or at worst are mildly allergenic. It is primarily the toxic black mold that you should be concerned with as the spores and mycotoxins of this mold can be especially dangerous. Recommendations for avoiding the growth of mold in your home include keeping the humidity between 40 and 60 percent, using an air conditioner during humid times, and running a dehumidifier to minimize the amount of moisture in your homes air. It is also wise to have ductwork cleaned regularly and to have your home inspected for black mold immediately if you or a family member is experiencing any of the known side effects of mold.