If you have ever had water leaking from a pipe or seeping into your basement, you may be familiar with how quickly tiny mold spores can form. But many people aren’t aware that those tiny molecules can actually make you very sick.
Fortunately, when you are aware of a small incident, such as a leaky pipe, you can fix the damage right away and avoid any potentially dangerous mold growth. The real problems occur when large areas of mold are either undetected or not removed for an extended period of time.
What is mold?
Mold is a type of fungus that grows on almost any type of organic material. Because the spores are typically too tiny to see, when you find large blue, black or green patches that means there’s already significant mold growth.
Where does mold come from?
Water must be present in order for mold to grow, but the spores are easily spread through the air and can lie dormant for some time. If those spores land on a preferred food source, such as wood, paper or drywall, they will start to grow if the surface ever comes in contact with moisture.
Why is mold bad?
While mold naturally occurs in the outdoors, no one wants mold growing in their home. But for some individuals, it can become a source of debilitating illnesses. What’s even worse is that patients often experience symptoms such as head and body aches, asthma and even neurological disturbances without even realizing they are being caused by mold.
Keeping mold out
To keep mold from growing in your home, always remedy any source of moisture as soon as it’s spotted. This means making repairs, cleaning up any standing water and removing any carpet or drywall that can’t be quickly and thoroughly dried out.
Of course, it’s even better to be proactive to help avoid such situations. Be sure to check under sinks periodically for any signs of worn pipes, make sure gutters are clean and in working order to direct water away from the foundation and check for any cracks in basement floors and walls.
What if it’s too late?
If you suspect you may have a mold problem, you have probably already checked the obvious places. But make sure there is no mold hiding in your attic or crawl space that could have been caused by a leaky roof. It’s also a good idea to check around any appliances that use water, such as the clothes washer in the laundry room or the refrigerator and dishwasher in the kitchen.
Even when you are checking for mold you should wear protective gloves, goggles and a facemask. If you find mold that’s actually visible, it may be best to have it professionally tested before attempting to remove it yourself, as you could end up distributing toxic spores throughout your home if it’s not done properly.
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