What does mold look like in a house? In recent years, the topic of mold seems to be on everyone’s mind. This is because many more people have become aware of the health hazards that many molds represent. Of course, it’s also important to note that not all molds are dangerous. Despite this fact, it’s important to understand what mold looks like and what dangers it poses to both human and animal health.
What Are the Different Kinds of Mold?
It’s important to understand that mold is everywhere. Mold itself is a fungus that grows from spores. These spores are literally everywhere, all around us. They only grow in the right environmental conditions, such as warmth and moisture, so they are not always going to be a problem. Did you know that mold spores can even survive in space? The spores themselves are that hardy and durable that they can survive the vacuum of space.
There are also thousands of different species of mold, with many of them still unknown to science. Of course, there are more common types of mold that might grow in your home or office, including black mold. This can pose some very specific health problems.
In general though, every type of harmful mold falls into one of the following three types:
- Toxigenic mold: In simple terms this is toxic mold. This kind of mold creates toxic byproducts that can cause some very serious health conditions.
- Allergenic mold: This kind of mold often results in triggering allergies such as asthma attacks and other health conditions.
- Pathogenic mold: These kinds of molds are especially problematic for anyone with a weakened immune system and those with a health condition already.
Of these, black mold is perhaps the most common and one that many homeowners will come across at some point. So, why is it such a problem?
The Problem with Black Mold
Unfortunately, black mold is a common problem in many homes – especially those that are in areas of high humidity and moisture. When conditions are right, the mold spores germinate and start to grow quickly. If there is enough of a food source available, the mold will grow and spread.
It is most commonly found in the following areas of a home:
- In the bathroom
- Behind walls
- Underneath sinks and other areas where there is high moisture content
- In cellars and basements
- In the roof space and on ceilings
- In laundry areas
What Does Mold Look Like In A House?
It’s important to understand what does mold look like so that it can be easily identified and eliminated. While many molds vary in color and appearance, they will all generally appear as heavily stained areas. Black mold, for example, will have a distinct black appearance and will have a very strong mildew or musty smell.
Alternaria is a common house mold that generally grows in wet areas, such as bathrooms. It has dark brown or dark green hairs and has a velvet feel to it. It grows in spotty patches and spreads very quickly like a dark stain on the wall or ceiling.
Acremonium looks quite different, yet again. It starts out as a white powdery growth that may turn pink or even orange in color. It tends to become more harmful to health over time and is one of the allergenic molds.
There are so many mold species that it can be confusing. The best way to identify any mold is to look for a stain-like growth. It may be white and powdery, dark, brightly colored, or even a fine brown stain that looks more like water damage.
The Health Risks of Exposure to Mold
Though health conditions associated with mold exposure are not just restricted to black mold, it is certainly the most common type of mold found in buildings across the country. The mycotoxins that it produces can be very harmful indeed, especially to those who have a sensitivity to it.
Here are the major health effects of exposure to black mold:
- Respiratory Problems
This is especially problematic for anyone who already suffers from a chronic respiratory issue, such as asthma. Exposure to black mold and other kinds of toxigenic, pathogenic, and allergenic mold can cause significant worsening of existing respiratory conditions. It can also cause general respiratory issues such as wheezing and coughing. As a consequence, exposure to mold can be deadly for those with asthma and other respiratory issues.
- Concentration Problems
When sensitive individuals are exposed to black mold and other types of mold, they may develop neurological conditions, such as impaired concentration. This may also present as memory loss and general confusion. Indeed, it is not uncommon for householders to experience general neurological issues such as this for some years before the real culprit is discovered and removed: mold.
Often, exposure to mold can result in general allergic reactions that are similar to other conditions, such as hay fever. Red and itchy eyes, a cough, wheezing, and itching inside ears, nose, and throat are all hallmarks of hay fever. Consequently, some health problems caused by exposure to mold may be mistaken for other health conditions and the underlying cause can be left undiscovered.
This is especially problematic in people who already have weakened immune systems and those who are elderly or very young. Exposure to mycotoxins may cause a suppression of the immune system, which may then cause even common illnesses, such as colds, to become quite serious and even potentially deadly.
- Lethargy and Depression
Just as some symptoms may be mistaken for another illness, the lethargy, headaches, and general tiredness felt by some people exposed to mold may simply be mistaken for another issue. In some cases, exposure to mold may even cause anxiety and depression.
Get Rid of the Mold as Soon as Possible
If any mold in the home or office is allowed to grow out of control it will cause problems. This may be in the form of health problems, but it may also be in the form of structural damage. It’s important to identify a mold problem as soon as possible so that it can be treated and eliminated by experts.