Mold in your Florida home can be a problem that is both costly and dangerous. This is especially true when infestations of toxic black mold occur. Toxic black mold symptoms can range from being mild to adverse, depending on the type and quantity that’s present.
Knowing the signs and symptoms of black mold exposure can help keep you and your family safe.
So, what is black mold exactly?
The term “black mold” refers to an entire genus of fungi which grows in warm, damp places. So when people refer to black mold, they are not talking about one specific species or type of mold.
The most common species of black mold is Stachybotrys chartarum. These molds thrive in environments that are moist and warm. For example, basements, kitchens, toilets, showers, and baths.
Black mold, or Stachybotrys chartarum, is toxigenic. This means that its spores can quickly infiltrate your home and pose a danger to you and your family.
What are the symptoms of black mold poisoning in Florida?
Mold poisoning is a term sometimes used to refer to a set of medical symptoms of black mold exposure. Also referred to as mycotoxicosis, mold poisoning can cause a wide range of health problems, some of them severe.
There are several common black mold symptoms. Some effects of black mold are as follows:
- Chronic coughing
- Irritation of the mucus membranes of the throat, nose, and mouth
- Eye irritation
- Chronic fatigue
Long-term mold exposure can be extremely unhealthy, but certain groups are more vulnerable than others. This includes the elderly, the very young, and people with pre-existing health issues.
Even without immediate symptoms, long-term exposure to mold can also lead to:
- Muscle cramps
- Gaining weight for no reason
- Sensitivity to light
- Stomach pains
- Numbness in hands and feet
- Confusion or memory loss
- Loss of hair
Exposure to black mold may also cause severe health problems to individuals who already have pre-existing conditions like:
- Immunodeficiency disorders
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder
- Weakened immune system
- Cystic fibrosis
- A mold-specific allergy
- Seasonal or chronic allergies
Where does black mold grow in your Florida home?
Mold thrives in places of high humidity and warmth. The damper and warmer an area or room is, the better for mold growth. The following are common places where mold is most likely to grow.
- Microwave and Stove – These are food-centric places. They see a lot of grease splatters and spillage – two things mold need to flourish.
- Refrigerator and Pantry – Food can cause mold, especially if expired. Always ensure that these places are free of old food and are wiped down regularly to prevent mold growth.
- Kitchen Sink – Another area where you are most likely to find mold is in, on, and under the kitchen sink. Things like dirty dishes, water splashes, and wet sponges all contribute to the potential for black mold growth.
- Shower and Bathtub – These are one of the most suitable places for black mold to grow in the house. This is because mold thrives in damp, humid areas. Without proper ventilation during and after a bath or shower, mold spores will thrive.
- Sink and Toilet – Sinks and toilets are also prone to black mold growth. This is due to the presence of water and the humid nature of bathrooms.
- Windows and Window Sills – Does your window collect condensation due to humidity? If so, that could provide good conditions for mold to grow. The only way to prevent mold growth is by drying it off regularly.
- Mattress – All it takes for mold to grow is excess moisture and something to grow on. If you can, buy a mold-resistant mattress to avoid black mold poisoning. Otherwise, ensure your mattress is always cool and dry.
- Fireplace and Chimney – When not in use, these two areas can provide a suitable environment for mold to grow. They are cool, damp and dark. Additionally, mold can spread quickly as brick used to build most fireplaces is porous.
- Indoor Plants – Greenery in your home can also be breeding grounds for mold. To prevent mold growth, don’t overwater and make sure your Florida home is at an optimal humidity level.
- Couch and Curtains – Mold grows on absorbent surfaces, and couch and curtains present the perfect environment.
Attic, Basement, and Garage:
The following table summarizes common areas where you are most likely to find mold in your attic, basement, and garage.
How can you minimize or prevent black mold exposure symptoms in your Florida house?
You can minimize or prevent future mold contamination by:
- Checking gutters, pipes, and air conditioners regularly to avoid potential leaks and water damage.
- Installing exhaust fans in damp areas, such as kitchens and bathrooms, and avoiding putting rugs or carpets in these areas.
- Keeping rooms warm and well-ventilated during cold or wet weather.
- Keeping all walls and surfaces dry.
- Using a dehumidifier to reduce the amount of moisture in the air, especially in areas where damp is an issue.
- Regularly cleaning any areas where mold is likely to grow, such as damp rooms, showers, and bathrooms.
Exposure to black mold can wreak havoc on your health and well-being, causing a wide range of ailments to develop over time. To prevent mold from growing in your Florida home, it’s important to correct the conditions causing it. For example, water leaks, infiltration, condensation, and flooding.
If you believe you are suffering from the symptoms of mold exposure it’s important to call a professional to conduct a black mold test.