Kalpana D Patel MD, FAAP, FAAEM
Mold spores are constantly floating through the air. These mold spores are like “seeds” of mold. Once mold spores make contact with water or moisture, there will be a mold outbreak that can cause expensive damage to home, work place, school room etc.
If you don’t catch it early on, it can be harmful or even hazardous to you and your family’s health, worker’s health including school children.
How Mold Forms
Mold spores are constantly floating through the air and are invisible to the naked eye. Usually, they’ll keep moving and won’t cause problems unless they’ve come into contact with some moisture like a damp windowsill or the moist environment of the bathroom or roof leak. After they’ve been watered and fed, they start to grow in patches that are barely noticeable at first but can become a much more serious problem if not taken care of early enough.
Some Possible Signs You’ve Been Exposed To Mold
Unless you’ve found the source of mold or know that you have an active growing mold problem, identifying the symptoms that mold can trigger can be tricky since many of the symptoms mimic that of regular allergy symptoms.
In other words: Mold produces allergens that can trigger the same allergic reactions or even allergy-like symptoms. The same ones you’d experience during the summer or spring with pollen and cotton flying through the air.
One of the best ways to tell you have a mold problem in your home is having allergy symptoms as soon as you step foot in your home, but otherwise being normal or fine when outside.
Other symptoms that can occur include frequent headaches, difficulty concentrating, memory loss and dizziness.
The Mycotoxins that some types of toxic molds release can cause all of these symptoms. If you notice one or more of these symptoms only when you’re in your home, chances are you have a mold problem that needs to be addressed.
Mold has an unmistakable smell. It’s not pleasant to the nose and chances are if you’ve ever forgotten about some leftovers in your fridge, you’re already familiar with that earthy smell.
The problem is that not all mold is visible and may require a pro for help finding and treating the source. Especially if you’ve looked all over for the source and can’t find it.
Other Signs of Mold Exposure
To the untrained eye, it’s commonly mistaken for soot or dirt. People often ignore it because they don’t know it’s actually mold. Adding to the confusion, mold comes in a rainbow of colors and patterns. Gray, brown, grayish green, white, black, orange, pink, or purple. If you smell mold in your kitchen, bathroom or laundry room, look for water stains or discoloration on the walls, floors or even the ceiling. Even if you can’t see it, mold can be just below the surface and you may need to call in a pro. Bulging of the walls, peeling or cracking of the paint and wallpaper are also common telltale signs of mold.
What Causes It?
If you’ve always had a moisture problem, chances are you’ll never completely eliminate the mold problem. Other common causes are:
- leaks from pipes or a ceiling.
- a sewage backup that occurred in the past.
- leaks that are hidden from your view.
- past flooding, if you’ve actually let your sink or tub overflow, or if there was flooding from a weather accident, chances are mold has started to grow.
Condensation can occur when there’s a high amount of moisture in your home and due to poor insulation in your home. Condensation could form on your windows, mirrors, or pipes. If you have metal pipes, rust is a common sign that you have a condensation problem.
The Most Common Hiding Places for Mold in Homes:
You may be more familiar with finding mold in your shower or fridge, but that’s not the only place you can find mold. Other common hiding places are:
- underneath bathroom and kitchen sinks
- laundry rooms or mudrooms
- air conditioning systems
- basemenet walls
- refrigerator door seals and drain pans
What You Can Do About It
Small mold patches should be taken care of right away and can usually be taken care of by yourself. If you’re dealing with a patch bigger than 3ft by 3ft though, you might want to consider hiring a pro. What starts out small could become an even bigger problem which can be expensive to treat But even small patches of mold can be a sign that there’s an even bigger problem with mold underneath the surface. If you’re still not sure if you have a mold problem, you can test for it in three ways:
- air testing
- surface testing
- bulk testing
Most of these tests require a professional who’s had years of experience, and you should definitely consider hiring a pro if someone in your home has allergies, asthma, or another serious respiratory condition. Things the pro may or may not tell you are that you must take care of the moisture problem and THEN the mold problem, otherwise the problem will just keep reoccurring.
Before You Start the Mold Cleanup Process
Before beginning, talk to us to make sure your symptoms or health problems won’t be aggravated by the mold cleanup process.
If you’re cleaning it yourself, remember to fix the moisture problem first otherwise it will keep reoccurring. Gear up with the appropriate tools.
- An N-95 Respirator mask. Make sure it fits otherwise you could be exposing yourself to toxic Mycotoxins.
- Gloves that are either nitrile, rubber, or latex work the best. Forearm length or up to the shoulder is best.
- Goggles without ventilation holes.
- A cleaning detergent with a source of water and a scrub brush.
- Scrub the mold off the hard surfaces with a detergent and water and then dry the surface completely.
- Porous or absorbent materials will more than likely have to be disposed of. Mold likes these surfaces because they’re absorbent and easy to grow in.
- Do not try to paint over a mold patch, the paint will just peel away sooner or later.
If you’re not sure how to clean or fix item of sentimental value or of high value, contact a professional who can help.
Unless you’ve seen or found the source of mold, mold exposure symptoms can mimic common allergy symptoms. If you and your family have started to experience allergy symptoms in your home, the cause may not be from the dander or hair of your family pet. Mold usually appears in close proximity of damp or wet surfaces, but not always. If you think you’ve found the source of mold and cleaned it all but keep continuing experience exposure symptoms, you may want to consider hiring a professional who can help find and take care of the problem for you.
Why You Need a Mold Inspection
Mold spreads via invisible airborne spores, which can spread throughout a home or commercial building with incredible speed and ease. If you have discovered a mold infestation, chances are that it has spread to other areas of your building, where it will continue to grow and spread if it is not found and remediated. Mold inspectors will conduct air quality tests and seek out other potential infestation sites to ensure the spread stops.
The Inspection Process
There are hundreds of different strains of mold (more on that below), and it is incredibly important to first identify what variety you are dealing with. Since mold spreads invisibly, a visual inspection is not always enough to determine the severity of the infestation or even what strain of mold is causing the problem. Mold inspectors use a variety of high-tech equipment to test air quality and the mold itself to determine the scope of the problem. A typical inspection will last anywhere from one to two hours, but largely depends on the size of the premises in question.
What Happens After Inspection?
Throughout the inspection process, the mold removal team will collect samples of the mold and send it to a lab for testing to determine the strain. Once the samples are sent to the lab, it can take anywhere from a day to two weeks or more to come back with definitive results. Once the results are in, the mold inspection company will notify you and determine what the best plan of attack is for remediation.
Mold can spread through a home or commercial building in under 48 hours and have a variety of negative effects on the health of people who are continuously exposed.
Symptoms can range in severity from none at all to coughing, allergies and, in severe cases, serious illness. If you believe you have a mold infestation on your hands, give us a call to schedule a consultation. We will guide you to get someone to assess the severity of the infestation, identify the source, then conduct thorough remediation to prevent any further spread.
When you hire a mold removal company, it is important to ensure that they will not just dry out the affected area, but will identify the source of the growth and take measures to fix it. Mold will appear when there is a significant buildup of moisture, and will thrive in dark areas like basements. It will spread invisible spores and begin to grow elsewhere if it is not remediated quickly, which is why it is imperative to check the entire building to ensure complete eradication. Environmental Remediation Company will not only get rid of the initial mold growth, but will test elsewhere to make sure it has not spread throughout your building. Buffalo-North East weather ranges from humid summer days, to cold winters, to wet springs. Unfortunately the near constant moisture means that it is a perfect breeding ground for mold to thrive. When snow melts, many of the older homes in Buffalo will experience basement flooding and inevitably mold infestation. Similarly, when heavy rains hit, any leaks in your roof or foundation could lead to not only water damage but also an increase in the probability that mold will begin to appear.
Most Common Places to Find Mold
Mold can be found just about anywhere, but it thrives in the dark, where there is a good source of moisture. Leaks in your roof can lead to water entering your attic and walls, which can lead to mold growth. Basements are one of the most common places to find mold, especially if you have had flooding or leaks. Air ducts and underneath laminate flooring are also common places mold can grow due to the high air flow and ease at which moisture can build up.
How Does Mold Spread?
Mold thrives in damp, dark environments (like basements, crawl spaces, and air ducts), and will continue to grow until the source of the infestation is found and fixed.
It spreads using invisible spores, which means that if there is any air flow (like when your central air is turned on), mold will begin circulating throughout your home. Once it finds somewhere else to grow, it will take over that location as well and continue to spread. Because of the negative health effects of mold exposure and the ease with which it can spread, it is imperative to have your entire building tested once you find one growth.
What do I do for my symptoms?
When you are toxic you need to detoxify. In order to detoxify it is important to test you for toxins, look at your history, biomarkers for the presence of mold and mycotoxins and look at the signs of toxicity. If mold is the culprit then the patient must move out of that environment to heal. This means leaving everything behind that has been contaminated by the spores. Many patients including physicians exposed to mold have been very sick for very long time and have developed dysautonomia, endocrine disruption, autoimmune diseases and allergy, cancer, Crohn’s disease etc.
We do use binders, fish oil, and Bentonite clay, charcoal and citrus pectin and binder drugs if tolerated. It is vital to support the elimination organs including the liver and gall bladder. Dr. Patel also do allergy testing for the mold and mycotoxin as needed. Dr. Patel tests the gut to see if leaky gut is an issue. She prescribes a low mold die.
Please call EHC-Buffalo for consultation - 716.833.2213 or EHCBUFFALO@gmail.com