Mold is a fungus. It can grow and flourish both inside and outside. There are many variations of mold—and they commonly crop up in moist and warm areas.
Any place is susceptible to mold. It’s important to understand the risks and health hazards associated with exposure to mold. Prolonged mold exposure can be extremely dangerous. Many of the harmful health effects aren’t immediately seen, making it trickier to know if you’ve been exposed to mold hazards.
Anyone exposed to mold can experience adverse symptoms—but children, pregnant women, and the elderly should be more cautious as their symptoms are often more severe. Some health risks associated with mold hazards include, but are not limited to:
- Allergic reactions. Common allergic reactions include wheezing, coughing, rashes, and eye redness.
- Difficulty in breathing, tightness in the chest, and even asthma attacks can occur, particularly in individuals who already suffer from asthma.
- Respiratory illness. It can present itself in children who are otherwise well, according to the CDC.
- Mycotoxin toxicity. When exposed to mold over an extended period, mycotoxin toxicity can ensue. Symptoms include nosebleeds, sore throat, and headaches, among others.
To prevent mold from growing in your home or workplace, you can:
- Clean regularly. Use cleaning products with mold-killing ingredients. Pay extra attention to showers and bathrooms.
- Throw away any food with mold in the dumpster outside, not in your kitchen’s trash can.
- Keep an eye out for leaks and other sources of moisture—and take care of them quickly.
- Seek the assistance of certified mold inspectors if necessary.
Take extra care when exposed to mold—and always be on the lookout for it. Molds can grow anywhere. Exposure can happen without your knowledge. If exposed to mold, contact your family or general health practitioner. If you need further treatment, they will refer you to a specialist.