Black mold can be as bad as it sounds. It can some cause serious health symptoms. There are measures you can take to help prevent black mold. But sometimes the inevitable happens.
When it does, it’s good to know how to identify it and how to get rid of it.
Read on to learn more about preventing black mold, how to recognize the symptoms and how to get rid of it if you do have it growing in your home.
What is Black Mold?
Mold is actually pretty common. Most homes and other buildings have it. Most mold, even black molds, are harmless to people and pets. And it’s not too difficult to get rid of.
However, in rare circumstances, a specific type of black mold creates a toxin called Stachybotrys, which can sometimes make people sick.
Where is Black Mold Found?
Toxic black mold likes warm and wet conditions. So it’s mostly found in places that are, well, warm and wet.
It grows in the soil, and therefore, can be brought into a home on people’s shoes. However, it needs plant material, like wood, to grow on.
If it’s growing in a house, it can be hard to see. This means it sometimes isn’t found until it’s been growing a while.
The most common place to find black mold is in a basement that has a water leak. Often this water leak is hidden, such as inside a wall, above ceilings, or under floorboards.
How to Prevent Black Mold?
Toxic black mold takes a long time to grow, so it’s easier to prevent than you think. In fact, it can take eight to twelve days just to colonize. That’s many days longer than most molds.
As mentioned, it likes warm, wet places. So if you make sure there are no leaks in your home, you’re probably safe from black mold. It’s a good idea to do a problem check every year, and identify places that mold might be likely to grow.
Make sure these places are kept dry. Also, ensure proper ventilation. Make sure that water doesn’t collect outside your home that can seep in. Keep your gutters clean.
And finally, since mold loves plants, make sure that your plants’ soil is free from mold.
How to Identify Black Mold?
There are two ways to identify black mold. It has a distinct odor and a distinct appearance. Typically black mold smells dank and musty. It’s not a pleasant smell.
It usually looks slimy and has a dark greenish-black or grey color. It can be gelatinous since it likes moisture. It often has a wet layer.
However, if it’s water source has disappeared, then it can be dry and powdery.
Lots of mold look similar to black mold. It’s very possible that if you find mold, that it isn’t the toxic variety. You should get it tested before treatment. You don’t want to tear down a wall or remove flooring, only to find out that it’s not a toxic variety.
A mold expert has the ability to do further testing, to validate its identity. An expert can look at a sample under a microscope to distinguish one mold from another.
What are the Symptoms of Black Mold Poisoning?
If you do have toxic black mold growing in your home, you might experience symptoms of toxicity before you even find it growing. The symptoms of black mold poisoning can be mild to severe.
Some of the symptoms of toxic black mold include:
- Difficulty breathing and respiratory problems
- Coughing and sneezing
- Irritation of the eyes and mucous membranes in the nose and throat
- Internal organ damage
- Persistent headaches
- Immune system suppression
The most serious symptom is that toxic black mold can cause permanent damage to your health and can even cause death, in the most extreme cases. The longer you are around without treatment, the more it will damage your health.
There is no cure for black mold poisoning. The only way to treat it is to remove it. Over time, your body will recover from the symptoms.
Because of these serious health risks, it’s important to remove black mold immediately.
How to Get Rid of It?
Several steps must be taken to properly remove black mold. Proper protective gear must be worn, and it involves going into tight spaces.
The first thing you must do is remove the source. This means eliminating any leaks and causes of unwanted wet areas. Otherwise, the mold will just regrow.
Then you need to seal off the area with plastic. Place an exhaust fan in front of any door and windows. This will stop any airborne spores from being released.
A respirator must be worn at all times to prevent inhalation. All areas of the body must be covered.
The mold must then be washed with soap and water. But then a commercial-grade treatment must be used to disinfect the area and all adjacent areas. All materials used must be sealed in a plastic bag and thrown away.
It’s a lot. And most people find that hiring a professional can ensure proper removal of toxic black mold. You can find a mold expert at this website.
Black mold is serious business. Although there are ways of preventing toxic black mold from growing in your home, sometimes it happens anyway. If you are experiencing any of the above-mentioned symptoms, it’s best to see a doctor right away.
You also want to have a professional identify toxic black mold. Don’t rely on your suspicions. A professional can make sure that any mold you do have growing in your house is indeed black mold.
Because so many difficult steps must be made to remove toxic black mold, it’s also best to hire a professional to remove it. This can also help prevent it from growing back.
To find the right person to hire for any job, check out our blog.