According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, mold is a type of fungus that is found indoors and outdoors, and grows best in warm and humid conditions. Mold spreads by reproducing through spores, and can spread rapidly. When some people come in contact with mold, they may experience a variety of symptoms, some of which can be severe. Read on to find out more about the symptoms of mold exposure.
When people who are sensitive to mold come in contact with it, they may experience symptoms including nasal stuffiness, skin irritation and eye irritation, according to the CDC. While these reactions to mold are mild, some people experience severe reactions such as fever, shortness of breath and mold infections in the lungs, according to the CDC. Those who experience serious symptoms of mold exposure also may experience diarrhea, loss of appetite, vomiting, memory loss, swollen glands in the neach and armpit, breathing disorders and ear infections, according to moldsickness.org. In the most severe cases, blindness, brain damage, cancer and even death can occur.
Mold can also be toxic to people if consumed by accident. According to the New York State Department of Health, people have reported mold toxicity from eating moldy grain. People who have existing respiratory conditions, allergies and immune disorders generally are at a higher risk for symptoms when exposed to mold.
While mold tends to grow in humid areas, it is most commonly found in antique shops, mills, construction areas, flower shops and greenhouses, according to the CDC. In the home, flooding, leaks in the roof, damp basements, steam from the kitchen and bathroom and wet clothes are just some of the ways that the growth of mold can be stimulated, according to the New York State Department of Health.
If someone thinks that he has been exposed to mold and is experiencing symptoms, he should contact a doctor. The doctor may then refer him to a specialist who treats patients with mold allergies or an infectious disease physician, according to the CDC.
People can decrease their exposure to mold by avoiding areas where it grows, including wooded areas, cut grass and compost piles according the CDC. It is also advised that any mold that is found be removed with a mix of bleach and water, or soap and water. Keeping the level of humidity in a home between 40 and 60 percent, replacing soaked carpets and using an air conditioner or dehumidifier during humid months also can prevent mold growth, according to the CDC. People can identify whether their homes or workplaces have a mold problem when they see it. It often looks furry, discolored or slimy, according to the New York State Department of Health.