What is mold?

Molds are fungi that can be found both indoors and outdoors. No one knows how many species of fungi exist but estimates range from tens of thousands to perhaps three hundred thousand or more. Molds grow best in warm, damp, and humid conditions, and spread and reproduce by making spores. Mold spores can survive harsh environmental conditions, such as dry conditions, that do not support normal mold growth. 

What does mold need to grow?

 

Mold only needs a few simple things to grow and multiply:

  • Moisture
  • Nutrients
  • Suitable place to grow

Controlling excess moisture is key to preventing and stopping indoor mold growth.

How do molds affect people?

 

Some people are sensitive to molds. For these people, exposure to molds can lead to symptoms such as stuffy nose, wheezing, and red or itchy eyes, or skin. Some people, such as those with allergies to molds or with asthma, may have more intense reactions. Severe reactions may occur among workers exposed to large amounts of molds in occupational settings, such as farmers working around moldy hay. Severe reactions may include fever and shortness of breath.


People with a weakened immune system, such as people receiving treatment for cancer, people who have had an organ or stem cell transplant, and people taking medicines that suppress the immune system, are more likely to get mold infections.


Exposure to mold or dampness may also lead to development of asthma in some individuals. Interventions that improve housing conditions can reduce morbidity from asthma and respiratory allergies.

Can mold make me sick?

Mold can affect the health of people who are exposed to it. People are mainly exposed to mold by breathing in spores. People can also be exposed through skin contact by touching moldy surfaces and by swallowing it. The type and severity of health effects that mold may produce are usually difficult to predict. The risks can vary greatly from one location to another, over time, and from person to person. 


 What symptoms might I see?


The most common health problems caused by indoor mold are allergy symptoms. Although other and more serious problems can occur, people exposed to mold commonly report problems such as:

  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Skin and eye irritation
  • Nasal and sinus congestion
  • Wheeze/breathing difficulties
  • Upper respiratory infections (including sinus)

Are the risks greater for some people?


There is wide variability in how different people are affected by indoor mold. However, the long term presence of indoor mold growth may eventually become unhealthy for anyone. The following types of people may be affected more severely and sooner than others:


  • Infants and children
  • Elderly people
  • Individuals with respiratory conditions or sensitivities such as allergies and asthma
  • Persons having weakened immune systems (HIV, chemotherapy, organ transplant)


People with these special health concerns should consult a medical professional if they feel their health is affected by indoor mold.

How to decrease mold exposure?

 

Sensitive individuals should avoid areas that are likely to have mold, such as compost piles, cut grass, and wooded areas. Inside homes, mold growth can be slowed by controlling humidity levels and ventilating showers and cooking areas.


Specific Recommendations:

  • Keep humidity levels as low as you can—no higher than 50%–all day long. An air conditioner or dehumidifier will help you keep the level low. Bear in mind that humidity levels change over the course of a day with changes in the moisture in the air and the air temperature, so you will need to check the humidity levels more than once a day.
  • Use an air conditioner or a dehumidifier during humid months.
  • Be sure the home has adequate ventilation, including exhaust fans.
  • Add mold inhibitors to paints before application.
  • Clean bathrooms with mold killing products.
  • Do not carpet bathrooms and basements.
  • Remove or replace previously soaked carpets and upholstery.

Should I test for mold?

Yes! If you are a sensitized individual or have any upper respiratory problems, it is a wise idea to test for mold even though you may not see or smell it. MC2 Home Inspections in Denver offers full service mold testing in Denver and surrounding areas. Our mold testing in Denver is non invasive and the test only takes 5 minutes per sample. The samples are collected and then dropped off at a local Denver laboratory for analysis. You will receive a detailed fungal report within 48 hours of collection.