Symptoms of Mold Exposure

There are many symptoms of mold exposure, including the effects of mold on your house and the symptoms of mold poisoning that affect your health. Symptoms from mold exposure affect the very young and very old and those with health problems the most, though anyone that lives in a home affected by mold may suffer some symptoms.

Physical symptoms include:

  • Hay fever-like symptoms
  • Stuffy head
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Headache
  • Itchy, watery eyes
  • Dermatitis (skin rash)
  • Fatigue

Recognizing Symptoms of Mold Poisoning

How do you know the above symptoms are due to exposure to mold instead of hay fever or an allergy to the family’s new pet cat?

  • Symptoms are worse indoors than outdoors
  • Symptoms of mold poisoning may worsen after a heavy rain (if the roof leaks or water otherwise comes inside during a heavy rain)
  • Your home shows signs of a mold problem (see below)

How You Can Recognize That You Have a Mold Problem

In addition to the above telltale health issues, look for the following signs:

  • Water stains or peeling paint on walls or ceilings
  • Leaky pipes
  • Carpeting that has gotten wet and stayed very damp for more than two days
  • An unpleasant musty odor
Mold from a bathroom ceiling leak

This picture shows mold in the ceiling from a leak. There was also mold in the walls.

Coping with Symptoms of Mold Exposure

The best thing you can do to cope with symptoms of mold exposure is to remove all traces of mold from the home. Medication such as allergy remedies won’t help much if you continue to be exposed to the mold.

Some people prefer to try to remove mold on their own, while others prefer to call in a mold removal specialist.

If you want to try to remove the mold yourself:

  • Scrub all hard surfaces, like tiles and concrete walls or floors, with a biocide designed to remove harmful mold.
  • Remove all moldy carpet, insulation or other materials that cannot be scrubbed clean and replace them with new materials.
  • Fix leaky pipes, leaky roofs, and other areas where moisture comes in and leads to the growth of mold.

If you have the know-how to replace carpet or insulation or fix leaky roofs yourself, you may be able to save money by doing the work yourself. However, mold removal specialists are trained to track down every trace of mold in your home and safely remove it. They’ll have all the proper equipment to do the job properly without stirring up further symptoms of mold exposure. In addition, homeowner’s insurance will sometimes cover the cost, so it may actually be more affordable to have the work done professionally.

If you do decide to take matters into your own hands, stock up on safety gear first, including:

  • N-95 respirator masks for everyone that will be assisting
  • Heavy rubber gloves
  • Plastic goggles
  • Long-sleeved shirts and long pants to be laundered as soon as the job is done
  • Large sheets of plastic (to block off rooms where you’re cleaning mold)
  • Duct tape (to tape the sheets of plastic securely over the doorways so mold doesn’t spread from room to room)
  • Try to rent a negative air machine, which removes mold spores from the air so they don’t spread to other areas of your home during the removal process.

Inhaling mold spores is hazardous to your health, and the spores easily become airborne as you clean up the moldy areas. Therefore symptoms of mold poisoning may actually increase after you attempt to clean up moldy areas, if you don’t take the proper safety precautions.

If You Are Experiencing a Mold Problem, We Recommend Consulting with a Mold Removal Specialist

Most mold removal specialists offer free consultations, during which they assess the situation, advise you about the work that needs to be done, advise you about the health risks associated with the mold in your home and the safety precautions needed during the mold removal process, answer questions and provide advice that will help you even if you end up deciding to handle the job yourself. For a list of mold removal professionals offering free consultations in your area, simply click the link.

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