Mold Health Risks and Cleanup Protections
Here are some clusters of persons who may be in higher risk for mold exposure:
- People with weak immune systems including individuals with HIV infection, cancer patients going through chemotherapy, and those who received organ transplant
- People with allergies, asthma, and other respiratory or breathing problems
- The elderly
- Infants and children
Probable Health Effects of Mold Exposure
- Mold infections can progress in the lungs of individuals with weak immune systems and with acute lung illnesses like obstructive lung illness
- Difficulty in breathing, wheezing, and shortness of breath can be a result of allergic reaction to mold and this can be serious
- Irritated eyes, wheezing, or stuffy nose in persons who are very sensitive to molds
- Skin irritations or reactions
Treatment of the Symptoms of Mold Exposure
When you or any of your family members develop health problems after being exposed to mold, contact your physician or healthcare provider.
Recognition of Mold
You may be able to notice mold through:
- Smell – walls and ceiling maybe discolored, or show some signs of mold growth, or damaged water
- Sight – bad odor like musty, earthy smell, or a foul stench
By controlling the moisture in your home can prevent the growth or increase of mold
Steps to Protect Yourself from Mold Exposure
When the cleanup job is a big task, contact or hire an experienced professional in cleaning up molds. But if it is a small task that you can do, here are several precautions:
- Wear rubber boots and waterproof gloves while cleaning up
- Wear outer clothing, such as long sleeve shirts and long pants, that is easy to remove, wash, or throw away
- Protect your eyes with glasses or goggles
- Reduce the spread of airborne spores by exercising work practices like
- Avoid dry sweeping
- Avoid quick movements like jerking or throwing moldy objects or items
- Reduce foot traffic in the place
- Cover moldy objects when you remove them
- Decrease the amount of time that you are in the area
Wearing Respiratory Protection
Respirators are commonly used in workplaces where the employer safety program ensures a correct form of protection. Employees in the workplaces with this kind of program knows the restrictions and if they are physically able to wear a respirator. The homeowners who are using respirators for short duration of time do not have the same program the workplaces have. Here are some limitations that you must know if you are wearing respirator:
- The absence or lack of proper training, those who wear respirators have the tendency to use respirators for purposes they are not intended to. N-95 respirator is developed to protect the wearer from the dusts and particles with the size of mold spores with about 95% or even higher efficiency. This N-95 can be used for mold cleanup activities.
- Those who wear respirators does not necessarily being protected from disinfectant vapors.
- Those who wear respirators must read the directions that come with the respirator on how to obtain the best fit. Proper and correct adjustment and fit is crucial to reduce leaks from the respirator.
- Those who wear respirators usually think they are protected from dangerous places when actually they are not.
Take note that wearing of respirator poses health risks. For instance, when the person who wears respirator and has a recurring respiratory problems, the pressure falls which is created by a well-fitted respirator can place the wearer at risk. Persons must check with their physician about wearing respirators to make sure that they are physically able to wear respirator.
Cleaning Up the Molds
- Get rid of all porous objects that were wet for more than 48 hours and that it cannot be completely cleaned and dried. These objects can continuously a source of mold growth and must be eliminated from the house.
- Clean the non-porous exteriors such as floors, counter surfaces, and walls with soap and water. It is recommended to use non-ammonia soap or detergent. Use stiff brush on the rough surfaces like concrete.
- Ensure that the working area is well-ventilated.
- If you want to disinfect, you may refer to the US Environmental Protection Agency or EPA document entitled, “A Brief Guide to Mold and Moisture in Your Home,” from http://www.epa.gov/mold/moldguide.html.
- Non-cleanable porous objects which include carpet padding and carpeting, wallpaper, drywall, upholstery, insulation materials, floor and ceiling tiles, leather, clothing, wood, paper, or food.
Preventing Molds from Returning
A solution to prevent mold from returning is to control moisture. These mold spores are located in outdoor air, and therefore, mold grows when the conditions are fitted indoors. The formerly damp places must be kept fully dry.
- Store clean fabric objects in a well-ventilated places
- Lessen the condensation on cold surfaces by insulation like insulating air-conditioning ducts, cold water pipes and the like
clean the fabrics such as upholstery, beddings, curtains, and the like, and keep them dry always have the leaks in the pipes repaired and check if there is any damp places around the sinks and tubs
- Decrease the moisture in the air with dehumidifiers, by opening the windows or air-conditioners, particularly during the hot weather
- Clean and vacuum the surfaces regularly and always
- Keep the humidity from 40% to 60% in your home. Humidity at home can be gauged with a household humidity sensor which can be available at your local hardware store.
- Check the probable problem spots regularly like bathroom and laundry for moisture and moldy smells
- Seek the advice of a mold remediation company if the growth of the molds is persistent