There are over 200 types of indoor molds. If you live in a wet climate or have problems with certain mechanical systems in your home (heating/cooling, ventilation, plumbing, etc.), you can bet that some of those strains have begun to invade. If mold were only a visual nuisance, you might be inclined to ignore it, at least temporarily. Unfortunately, it poses a threat both to your health and your personal property, and should be dealt with promptly.
A Fast-Moving Foe
People come into contact with mold by 1) breathing airborne mold spores, 2) consuming mold in the food they eat, or 3) touching mold on surfaces. New research has established links between exposure to mold and an increased risk of several conditions including chronic fatigue syndrome, skin reactions and asthma.
People with diminished immune response, and children, whose immune systems are not yet fully formed, are at the highest risk for mold-triggered medical issues. Children face “double jeopardy,” as they can experience short term reactions to mold spores and have an increased risk of developing asthma, a lifelong condition, when exposed to mold.
Staining Your Stuff
Mold is an aggressive and adaptable opponent. It can grow on almost any surface: food, tile paint, sheetrock, plaster, wood and fabric. It can even develop on top of dust. Once established, it tends to spread rapidly and destroys the surfaces to which it attaches itself if allowed to linger. When that “surface” is great grandma’s antique chair you were storing in the basement, the loss can be both financial and emotional.
High and Dry
What can you do to prevent mold or eliminate it once it has appeared? Here are some things to keep in mind.
- Ensure that all areas of your home receive a good supply of fresh air when possible and have adequate ventilation.
- Turn off moisture-producing appliances like humidifiers if you notice moisture on windows or other surfaces.
- Fix any sources of water leakage in your home as soon as you discover them.
- If your home sustains water damage, begin the drying process as soon as possible, ideally in less than 48 hours. Use cross ventilation drying methods.
- If mold is found on hard surfaces, wash them with detergent and water or a safe fungicide.
- Porous items that were not dried quickly enough and cannot be effectively cleaned (carpet, drywall, ceiling tiles, upholstered furniture) should be discarded immediately.
When it comes to the battle for your health and home, mold prefers a sneak attack. Your awareness and fast action can help you win the war.