You have likely heard horror stories about black mold and its dangers. The media has reported on extreme illness due to black mold exposure and, in very rare cases, even death. It can make you fearful of just being in your home. But, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), toxic black mold is inaccurate. Sure, there are certain mold species that are highly toxic to humans, meaning they produce toxins that are released into the air. Yes, you can become extremely ill because of black mold, but it does take time. By then, you’ll have caught the problem and scheduled expert mold remediation from a local restoration company.
The Dangers of Black Mold
We can’t say black mold is entirely safe either. The truth is somewhere in the middle. Can black mold cause severe respiratory illness? Yes, it can. But again, it requires long-term mold exposure.
First, let us explore what black mold, or Stachybotrys chartarum, is. Black mold is a type of fungus that acquired its name due to the dark green or black color. The mold has a distinct musty or mildew-like odor, which is usually the first sign homeowners notice.
If you breathe in too many mold spores, or mycotoxins, in the air for an extended period of time, you will experience what is known as black mold poisoning. The symptoms appear similar to your average respiratory infection, such as the common cold or the flu. However, if you suffer from a weakened immune system or a respiratory issue, such as asthma, the risk is far greater.
The most common symptoms associated with black mold poisoning include coughing, wheezing, stuffy nose, red eyes, skin irritation, throat irritation, and frequent nosebleeds. If you suffer from asthma or have a respiratory allergy, the black mold may worsen the symptoms of these conditions. Then, you may experience persistent coughing, frequent chest colds, difficulty breathing, and sinus inflammation.
Who is at Risk for Black Mold Poisoning?
As we previously mentioned, anyone suffering from asthma currently is at a far greater risk of black mold poisoning than someone with a healthy immune system. Of course, that’s not the only group at risk.
Anyone who suffers from the following ailments is at a greater risk of mold poisoning:
- Seasonal allergies
- Mold allergies
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
Furthermore, black mold exposure is typically more harmful to children and the elderly – both of whom have weakened immune systems already. According to the CDC, research suggests young children who inhale black mold spores early on in their lives are more likely to develop asthma during their lifetime. However, the results seem to be more of an issue for children with a family history of asthma.
If you have discovered black mold in your home, do not hesitate to call your local Restoration 1. We have certified mold experts available 24/7 to tackle mold remediation and inspections in your home or office!