Is a moldy basement dangerous? Can it make you sick? Yes. Here is a list of health risks of basement mold.
Whenever there’s a moisture problem in a basement, mold issues are never far off.
Mold In Basement Health Risks
Now, the prime conditions for mold growth include moisture, poor ventilation, and dark surroundings. Such conditions are common with basement areas.
With such situations come increased health risks.
This article seeks to discuss the health risks posed by mold issues. If you’re dealing with moisture issues in your basement, you’ll want to read through this article to know the implications of mold growth.
What is Basement Mold?
Tiny mold spores are everywhere around us. In other words, they’re naturally occurring and will readily begin to grow once a suitable condition is found. Moisture is part of such suitable conditions.
Others include low airflow or ventilation and the presence of wet cellulose materials.
Examples of wet or damp cellulose materials targeted by mold include insulation, wallpaper, cardboard, paper products, wood products, and upholstery.
Molds can also grow on ceiling tiles, dust, drywall, fabric among others.
Should One Be Concerned About Mold Growth?
The presence of mold in the basement or other interior locations of a home doesn’t bode well for occupants. First off, it’s a sight of moisture issues that can easily damage the structure.
Any delay in locating or finding the moisture source and treating it can result in significant damage.
This is likely to attract costly repairs. More worrisome are the health risks posed by mold growth. Active digestion goes on wherever you find mold growing.
What results from such fungal growth and activity is what everyone should be worried about.
Why Basement Mold is Considered a Health Risk
If you’ve wondered why basement mold is considered a health risk, you’ll need to look at what goes on at the molecular level.
Whenever there’s mold growth, several things happen, cells, unstable compounds, spores, and fragments are released into the air. These in turn give rise to mycotoxins, allergens, and irritants.
Now, persons with high allergic sensitivity are affected the most. Also among the most vulnerable are those with chronic lung conditions, breathing, and asthmatic conditions.
Types of Basement Mold
There are several types of basement molds. Some of the most common include Aspergillus, Cladosporium, and Penicillium.
Others are Stachybotrys chartarum and Alternaria. Although the growth of any mold type shouldn’t be tolerated, not all pose the same level of danger (health risk).
Aspergillus is among mold varieties that can cause significant health issues in humans.
The health condition caused by its presence is known as aspergillosis. Persons dealing with this condition may experience difficulty in breathing, headaches, bloody coughs, and breathing problems.
The Health Risks of Mold Presence
Not everyone will show signs or symptoms of mold-related health issues.
However, those with a weakened immune system are likely to be more vulnerable. If you or any member of your family is having an existing respiratory problem or an allergy, expect the risks to be greater.
How long does it take to get sick from mold exposure?
Basically, persons exposed to moldy surroundings for a significant amount of time are likely to experience all sorts of health issues. These range from allergies, aspergillosis, breathing problems, and inflammatory responses.
In a nutshell, exposure to basement mold never ends well.
Persons with high allergic sensitivity are likely to be most affected when exposed to moldy basements. This affects the upper respiratory tract and results in symptoms that include watery eyes, runny or blocked nose as well as sneezing.
Other symptoms include an itchy nose and itchy throat. For persons with asthmatic conditions, this can be worse when combined with mold allergy. For such, an asthma attack is likely to occur more frequently.
Recall we earlier said that basement mold can easily thrive in dusty environments. With increased dust comes an increase in dust mite presence.
This easily leads to allergic reactions for some persons.
Aspergillosis has been mentioned earlier as a health condition caused by a mold type known as aspergillus. This causes a wide range of health issues based on the type of aspergillosis.
Speaking of types, these include Chronic Pulmonary Aspergillosis and Allergic Aspergillus Sinusitis.
Others include Allergic bronchopulmonary Aspergillosis (ABPA) and Aspergilloma also known as Fungus Ball. Chronic Pulmonary Aspergillosis causes symptoms like difficulty in breathing as well as weight loss and cough.
For Allergic Aspergillus Sinusitis, symptoms include headache as well as nose problems. ABPA symptoms affect the lungs. Such a person may experience difficulty breathing.
In the case of Fungus Ball, vulnerable persons may experience bloody coughs and breathing issues.
Breathing problems are another health risk posed by basement mold.
The toxins released into the air by mold presence also promote the increased presence of dust and other particles in the air. What results is a situation where the throat, lungs, and nose are irritated, thus causing difficulty in breathing.
Inflammatory response to mold growth is common especially among those with allergies. This is due to the presence of microbial agents produced by mold growth.
Vulnerable (those with allergies) persons are likely to have fungal and bronchial infections.
Common conditions include lower respiratory tract issues, hypersensitivity pneumonitis, and allergic fungal sinusitis. Others are bronchitis, chronic rhinosinusitis, and allergic alveolitis.
Narrowing things down
From our discussions so far, it’s evident that having mold growth in a basement is likely to expose you to all sorts of health risks. Such risks are significant for persons with allergies.
You’re likely to experience conditions such as sick-building syndrome, skin & eye irritation as well as mucous membrane irritation.
Others are wheezing, insomnia, fever, headache, fatigue, and nausea. The prospect of experiencing any of these can be scary for anyone. As such, your best bet is to adopt prevention measures.
Adoption of Preventive Measures
There’s no better way of avoiding basement mold-related health issues than by tackling the problem.
Here, the focus should be on the cause. Moisture control is the best approach to consider. You might want to start by having your basement waterproofed.
Have a waterproofing contractor come over for an assessment of your basement. Also, existing mold growth should be treated by cleaning and treating such surfaces.
This two-pronged approach goes a long way to make your basement unattractive to mold.
Now that you know the health risks posed by basement mold, your best bet is to adopt the best preventive measures. With such, everyone is kept safe and your home’s condition improves.
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