Mold is one of a type of fungi that exists in many places, provided the conditions of the environment are ideal to its growth. Low or normal populations of mold present in a structure does not increase the risk of health issues in most people but it could have adverse effects on those who are immune-compromised due to age, pre-existing health conditions, and diseases. Fortunately, there are mold exposure treatments that help prevent and treat symptoms.
Are All Types of Mold Dangerous?
Molds by themselves are not poisonous or toxic. However, there are certain types of molds that produce poisons, known as mycotoxins. These mycotoxins, while necessary for the molds to survive, can cause certain health issues in humans and animals.
Molds are categorized based on their effects. These categories are:
- Toxigenic – poisonous to both humans and animals upon exposure
- Pathogenic – can cause adverse effects in those who are immune-compromised
- Allergenic – can cause mild allergies but will not cause illness
Contrary to what many people believe, no direct link has been found between mold exposure and lung disease or cancer.
Symptoms of Mold Exposure
Depending on the type of mold and on the individual’s own immune response, certain symptoms can manifest, including:
- nasal congestion or runny nose
- dry cough
- red, watery eyes
- sore throat
- shortness of breath
Mold poisoning or mycotoxicosis, on the other hand, can cause symptoms such as:
- body aches and pains
- mood changes
- memory loss
Mold exposure can also cause health problems in young children later in life. A study conducted in 2012 showed that young children and infants who had been exposed to mold had higher chances of developing asthma when they get older.
Mold Exposure Diagnosis
Mold allergy is usually diagnosed based on the symptoms that have manifested. The doctor may also order certain tests, such as blood tests and allergen tests. If the doctor suspects a systemic infection, he/she may order that a blood sample be taken and tested.
Mold Exposure Treatments
Treatments are recommended based on the symptoms and pre-existing conditions of the patient since people react to allergens differently. Some of these symptoms include:
Nasal rinses. Mold spores that have been breathed in can be flushed from the nasal passageways using a nasal rinse. Nasal rinses usually consist of a clean saline solution that is poured gently through one nostril and allowed to pass through the other nostril. This method floods the nasal cavity and washes away any mold spores that may be present.
Decongestants. Decongestants are used to treat nasal congestion, which is what we know as a stuffy nose. Nasal congestion makes it difficult to breathe. Decongestants come in nasal sprays and oral medications. Whichever is given will depend on the patient’s condition and symptoms. Decongestants as a treatment are usually short-term, lasting only for a few days.
Antihistamines. Antihistamines are a class of medications that help alleviate allergic reactions, such as itching, sneezing, and runny noses.
Corticosteroids. Corticosteroids are prescribed for individuals who are suffering from inflammation due to mold exposure. Corticosteroids are usually applied as nasal sprays. They are highly effective against allergic reactions, which is why they are often given as the first type of medication for patients.
Avoidance and Elimination. Exposure to mold only occurs due to the presence of the fungi in the environment. While there is no way to completely eliminate mold, there are ways to ensure that their population is kept under control. Since mold thrives in humid and damp conditions, keeping the environment clean and dry can help prevent their growth. Any molds present in the home should be cleaned using soap and water, and if necessary, a diluted bleach solution. Using an effective air purifier and ensuring proper ventilation will also help. For severe cases of mold infestation, a professional cleanup may be necessary.
Check out https://moldtreatmentcenter.com/treatment/ for more information.