Is it Dangerous to Live in a House with Black Mold?
We spend a majority of our time in our homes, and they should be safe spaces. They are where we eat, sleep, return to after a long day at work, and are the places where we are most ourselves. As much as they reflect our needs, interests, and style, they ultimately serve the purpose of sheltering us from the outside world. So, what about when our homes actually compromise our health?
Black mold is a relatively common presence in homes, but that doesn’t mean it’s a harmless one. Here is what you need to know about black mold and how it could endanger you and your family.
Why It’s Dangerous to Live in a Property with Black Mold
The exact level of danger varies in severity, dependent upon a number of factors, including length of exposure, amount of fungus, and state of your respiratory system—but even seemingly mild cases can evolve in time and deteriorate your health.
Does Mold Make You Tired?
Have you been feeling lethargic in your home, but full of energy when you leave town for a few days? This could be a sign you have a black mold infestation. Studies show a correlation between mold exposure and chronic fatigue syndrome. As you inhale in its presence, minuscule spores can enter your lungs, causing an immune response.
It takes a lot out of your immune system to defeat these tiny invaders, which can cause exhaustion. As your immune system keeps fighting the particles, your body can begin to develop an allergy, even if you didn’t have one before. If your family has a history of allergies or asthma you could be more at risk for symptoms.
Tiredness is one of the most common symptoms of toxic mold. Breathing in spores can interrupt your breathing and irregular breathing is a root cause of sleep apnea. If you can’t sleep through the night and are always catching your breath, this could be due to mold-induced sleep apnea. So, if you constantly feel under the weather and ready for a nap, it might not be a bug going around the office. There could be black mold lurking in your walls.
Can Living in a House with Mold Make You Sick?
Damp and mold are sadly common occurrences in homes that have poor ventilation, single-glazed windows, and other forms of poor insulation. Black mold is one of the more severe types of fungus that can grow in these conditions.
Being constantly exposed to and breathing in black mold is very damaging to your health, a conclusion that goes undisputed in the research behind it. Here are just some of the discovered complications that fungus exposure can cause:
- Allergies, such as watery eyes, itching or runny nose, or sneezing
- Aspergillosis, which can lead to breathing problems
- Shortness of breath
- Inability to breathe
… just to name a few. It can damage your health permanently depending upon the amount of fungus, the length of your exposure, and whether you already have any respiratory conditions.
Another feature of black mold (and any type of household fungus) is that it can grow in those hard-to-reach or seldom-visited places, like behind cupboards and underneath floorboards. This means it could be completely unnoticeable to you, despite the fact that you’re breathing it in. It can silently affect your health without your knowledge.
Should I Move Out if I Have Black Mold?
Ultimately, you should always prioritize your health above all else. If you have black mold in your house that is contained in a small enough area to be sufficiently removed, it’s likely that this will solve the issue (although you’ll have to keep an eye on it).
Black mold is, however, a fungus that spreads and grows through its microscopic spores that permeate beyond where we can see. One of the trickiest aspects about this problem is that often people don’t even realize that it’s growing inside their home until they start wheezing. And even if you clean it off, no longer seeing it in your home might not be enough to ensure your safety.
If you have a respiratory condition or simply don’t feel comfortable regularly occupying a space that could be fostering black mold, either employ a removal expert to get rid of it or ask your landlord/building manager to get it removed. If you cannot get it removed, you may want to consider moving house for the sake of your health.
How Can I Prevent Black Mold?
Of course, moving out is not a simple or accessible process for everyone. If you don’t have the resources to move or simply don’t want to, consider these prevention measures to protect yourself against black mold:
- Immediately repair leaks
- Constantly wipe down/dry wet or damp surfaces
- Invest in a dehumidifier(s) to clear the air of excess water vapor
- Clean rooms that are susceptible to water collection (such as bathrooms and kitchens) with anti-fungal products
- Open windows to facilitate air circulation when possible
- Clean rooms/spaces that don’t get much use to ensure mold isn’t growing there
Like any prevention method, these steps do not ensure that black mold will not grow in your home, but they lessen the chances. The biggest takeaway here is that black mold flourishes in objects that retain water or places that harbor standing water, which is why avoiding humidity is so imperative in preventing fungus growth.
How Can I Remove Black Mold?
If you’re looking to get rid of the black mold yourself, here are some pointers to do it properly:
- Clean the area with soap, water, and a diluted bleach formula. Repeat this process (even if it appears to be completely removed) for a few days thereafter to get any potentially missed spores in the area
- Replace appliances, furniture or parts of your house that have been affected
- Cover any susceptible walls or corners with mold-preventable paint
Be aware that black mold can spread quickly and invisibly. If you do not feel comfortable removing it yourself, or don’t feel equipped to do so, consider reaching out to professionals to do it for you.
The Bottom Line
Being exposed to black mold is dangerous for your household’s health. Those with pre-existing respiratory conditions are the most vulnerable to the dangers of black mold, but it is harmful to everyone.
Even if black mold is not growing in your home, abide by the prevention methods to heighten your chances of maintaining that cleanliness.
If you are experiencing black mold growth in your own home or are concerned about dampness in your home that may lead to it, contact All Dry USA today. We are available 24/7, and we can provide mold restoration, prevention, and cleaning services to ensure your home is safe.