Moulds are simple organisms that are present both indoors and outdoors in our environment. They play a vital role in our ecology and are necessary in the decomposition process of organic waste. Our exposure to moulds is unavoidable and in most day to day activities this exposure goes unnoticed. But what happens when your exposure affects your health?
Some moulds are known allergens and several are also known to produce mycotoxins, but in high enough concentrations, all moulds are capable of harmfully affecting our health. We can be exposed to these moulds through ingestion of contaminated foods, inhalation of mould spores in the air or skin contact. The amount of contact needed to cause health problems is usually much less in pregnant women, children and infants, the elderly, people with existing respiratory problems and immune-compromised people.
Allergens are substances that are recognised by the body’s immune system and cause an allergic reaction. Mycotoxins refer to toxins produced only by mould, they are known to be some of the most toxic substances in existence. These two factors related to mould, affect health in a number of ways but can usually be categorised into three groups (allergic reactions, infections or toxic responses).
Typical symptoms can be any or any combination of the following:
- Skin rashes or irritations
- Respiratory problems, including wheezing, coughing, asthma symptoms
- Nasal & sinus congestions
- Eye irritation including, burning sensation, watery, redness
- Nose or throat irritation including, sneezing fits, bloody noses
- Headaches & fatigue
- Memory loss or mood changes
Allergic reactions are most common in people who already have allergic asthma, allergic rhinitis (Inflammation of the mucous membrane of the nose causing a “runny nose”) or atopic dermatitis (a long term skin disease resulting in dry itchy skin). The reaction often leads to asthma and rhinitis which are triggered by breathing in mould spores.
Infections causing deep tissue invasion are usually only experienced by immune-compromised people although chronic sinus infections are often due to mould elements. Superficial infections can be found on the feet, nails, dry body skin and oral mucosa of anyone exposed to high levels of mould.
Toxic Responses due to mould exposure relate to the effect of the toxins produced by the mould rather than the growth of mould in the body and are only required to be present in very small doses. The production of the toxins by the mould is dependent on specific environmental factors, of which little is known. Therefore the presence of the mycotoxins cannot be presumed by the presence of the species of mould which produces them. The effects of exposure to mycotoxins can range from short term irritations to long term neurotoxic symptoms.
If you have a recurring mould problem in your home, it is essential to call in a professional mould removalist to clean it up and stop it from spreading. They will also be able to help you identify the type of mould present if further medical assistance is needed.
If your property has a mould problem and is located in the Sydney, Central Coast or Newcastle areas contact the professionals at Mould Removal today on 0408 681034 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for an obligation free quote to rid your property of potential health problems.