Types of Household Mold: The Good & The Bad
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- Types of Household Mold: The Good & The Bad
Most everyone has mold in their home. No not the black mold, that’s toxic and can kill, but ‘normal’ household mold.
Perhaps it’s in the dish that slid underneath your bed, or the tomato that slid to the back of the refrigerator.
And if you have children, well it could be their science experiment that feel somewhere for weeks until the search and rescue team, went on a hunt and destroy mission to find out “what’s that smell”.
Yes, household mold! Ugly and stinky. But, it’s there. So what are the types of mold that can be found in a house, and which one should you be concerned with?
That’s the questions and that’s the mission set before you! Here is the information that you need to have, starting with there are 400,000 different types of molds.
So clearly they wont all be covered here.
Those that are the most important, the most common will be. In part, that’s going to include some information about black mold.
It truly is deadly, especially if left unchecked.
Types of Mold!
While there are 400,000 types of mold, only approximately 1,000 have an impact on our lives and are of any consequence.
Some you are probably aware of. They are used for medication.
Such things as amoxicillin and penicillin are molds that can be used to help you become well, when sick.
The reason the words “can be used” are used, is because as the picture on the right shows, some people, usually children, can be allergic to the ‘cillin’ family of antibiotics.
Consequently, this type of mold can potentially be lethal to those people.
“Which molds are hazardous and which molds are safe? That’s the question!!!”
Three Major Mold Categories
Of that, roughly 1,000 mold types are found indoors…from coast to coast in the states. It breaks down even further than that, with less than 80 of them be suspect to cause illnesses of varying types.
And an even smaller amount that are classified as being toxic.
Most of us know what the three categories of mold are, by problems they cause.
First is Allergenic. By it’s name, you know that it causes allergies, or more accurate, allergic reactions.
Second is Pathogenic Mold. Simply put, they are molds that cause disease in people.
Last group is Toxigenic, by definition, they are toxins that produce or elaborating. A toxin that elaborates is considered to be on that alters the chemical make of the “body” that it takes over in order to grow.
The three categories of mold are: Allergenic, Pathogenic And Toxigenic.
As you might expect, allergenic molds typically don’t kill anyone.
But like with any allergic reaction, there is always the possibility that it could be sever enough to cause death.
Most of the time the side effects are minimal and have little consequence.
The allergic reaction would be like any mild allergies such as runny noes, eyes, rash and soar or scratchy throat. Annoying for sure and for most, but no big deal.
With pathogenic molds the resulting impact is typically an infection. Unlike the allergenic response, those responses from pathogenic molds can cause serious health problems, especially those with suppressed immune systems.
A reasonable healthy person is usually able to “naturally” fight off the attacks from pathogenic molds, no matter how intense or high the dose.
Having said that, acute response can occur with high and intense exposure, this is called hypersensitivity pneumonitis.
The most extreme mold toxins are called mycotoxins and can cause major to serious health effects with most people.
These toxins are the most extreme and have the potential to cause cancer, immunosuppression and on the lesser end simple irritations.
Consequently, if it’s possible this is what you’re dealing with, further examination of the mold should be done, for everyone’s safety!!!
Some Mold is Good…
Some mold is bad, NOT ALL MOLD IS THE SAME. Educate yourself on the difference and THEN… if you need help, get it!!!
This can get complicated, so I’m going to attempt to make it as simple as possible!!!
There are approximately 5 common molds that life within the house.
Those 5 are: Alternaria, Aspergillus with subspecies of A. flavus and A. versicolor, Cladosporium, Penicillium and lastly Stachybotrys atra ~ S. Atra (this is the Black Mold).
This is what is called a zygomycete fungus and is a common indoor mold. It does cause allergic reactions in individuals with those people that have compromised immune systems can be more serious.
Signs and symptoms are not unlike a cold on the mild end, but can go up in severity.
The following are potentially signs and symptoms: Brain, eye, lung, nasal sinus and skin. always keep in mind that there could and can be multiple areas affected as well as preexisting conditions.
Also keep in mind that some of these molds may grow quicker than others, causing compromised symptoms quicker.
Acremonium Sp. (Cephalosporium sp.)
Acremonium is also considered to cause allergic reactions. If a reaction should occur, it is a result of a trichothecene toxin having been ingested.
Signs and symptoms include things like: diarrhea, nausea, vomiting with subspecies cause nail infections, corneal ulcers and even meningitis.
To say that it’s a nasty mold, is somehow an understatement.
Most of the time this mold is found outside, however, it is can also be found in carpets, on horizontal surfaces textiles, window frames Portals of entry for this mold are thought to be in the nose, mouth and consequently the respiratory tract.
With potentially causing an asthma known as “bakers asthma”, which is an asthma that is typically found with bakers.
Most sever symptoms are edema and bronchiospasms, with chronic cases leading to pulmonary emphysema.
Aspergillus sp is a mold that should be looked for with gardeners. Why? Because it will grow in soil, on decaying vegetation, feed products in tropical stored food, and subtropical regions.
Another caution comes with some of them being parasitic on animals, insects, plants and most importantly humans.
It also can cause problems on the food that we eat.
This mold is an allergic and can cause extrinsic asthma. Diseases that can occur are edema, emphesema and bronchiospasms, as well as ear and eye infections.
Aureobasidium pullulans is the mold for the plant lover, but also comes with it’s own special set of problems. It likes to live on “aerial” parts of plants.
Where it can have a moist environments. Like most, Aureobasidium pullulans is considered to be allergenic.
It has the potential to cause problems being invasive in patients with AIDS, deratitis, peritonitis and pulmaonary infection.
Bipolaris mold is one of the more serious molds. It is typically found in decaying food, grass, plant material soil.
It is one of the more serious molds because it can cause kidney and liver damage and can cause problems in the upper respiratory tract of the lungs.
It is one of the few that can be found both indoors and outdoors.
Fusarium mold is found on a wide range of plants. Most critical in the home is where it is located, that of being found in humidifiers. Within the subcategory of trichothecene (scirpene) the following systems are attacked: alimentary, circulatory, nervous and skin.
This mold goes on to cause vomitoxin on grains when for any reason the growing conditions become unusually damp.
Signs and symptoms include: dermatitis, diarrhea, extensive internal bleeding, nausea and vomiting. With additional infections in the eyes, nail and skin.
Geotrichum sp. is often found having contaminated dairy products, fruits, grains, paper, soil, textiles and water, and believe it or not, it’s part of many peoples normal body life/flora.
While this is a rare disease, it can have outbreaks of bronchi, intestines, lung, mouth and skin infections, with secondary infections can be very severe with the result being acquiring tuberculosis.
Mucor is most often found in animal hair, dairy products, dead plant material, fruit juice, horse dung, fruits, jute leather, meat, and soil.
Because it is a zygomycetes fungus it likes to grow on mucous membranes like brain, eyes, skin, lungs and nasal sinus and this mold grows rapidly.
As with others that like this growing services, it may attack multiple locations.
If you have a humidifier, this should be of interest to you and an allergenic. It can connect with wood trims, soil, dust, wallpapers and occasionally in the air.
Paecilomyces variotii can cause paecilomycosis and pneumonia.
***THIS IS NOT A COMPREHENSIVE LIST OF MOLDS***
That’s the lungs, nose and anything else to do with breathing. This is where it can become tricky.
Because the symptoms that come from Black Mold are not that much different from the common cold, flu, drippy nose, asthma symptoms, sore throat and the like.
Which is why it’s important to take note of how often people are getting sick and if it’s not something that is typical for that person, then it could be a Black Mold issue.
The major problem for asthma patients and those with respiratory problems is that the spores that come off of the mold like to live in the lungs and cause what’s know as a Fungal Ball and if not caught early enough, can lead to death.
Not only is the respiratory system at risk, but so is the nervous system.
This includes the brain and all the nerves throughout your body. When the nervous system is impacted by Black Mold, it cause things like fatigue, dizziness, headaches, and depression.
Again, not uncommon, so it’s extremely important to look at all that’s going on around the person or people and not just assume that it’s just a headache, or just depression.
So the moral of the story is, Black Mold is very bad.
If you’ve moved to a new place and are having the symptoms, it’s more than worth it to get your house inspected and take a trip to the doctors and contact a mold remediation company.
If left unchecked the result could be lethal.
Signs and Symptoms…
Often, mold spores, whether dead or alive, cause adverse health effects, primarily of a respiratory nature, including hay fever-like allergic syptoms.
Many of these molds, primarily S. atra, also produce chemical toxins known as “mycotoxins,” which are generated and released into the air within the mold spores, leading to the “toxic mold” designation.
Exposure to these toxins can occur through inhalation, ingestion, or skin contact, and can result in symptoms including dermatitis, cough, rhinitis, nose bleeds, cold and flu symptoms, headache, general malaise and fever.
Initial awareness of adverse health effects from S. atra exposure was raised by a mid-1990’s study from Cleveland, Ohio, involving infants who had died from sudden and unexplained pulmonary hemorrhage (bleeding of the lungs).
Upon investigation, researchers found that the infants resided in homes with high levels of S. atra, linking S. atra exposure to serious health effects.