Mold is a type of fungus. “Black mold” refers to several species of mold that have a dark green or black appearance. One of these types is Stachybotrys chartarum.
The color of a mold is not associated with its dangerousness, according to the
Additionally, there is no evidence linking black molds, including Stachybotrys chartarum, under special health conditions.
Mold thrives in hot and often humid environments, including baths, showers, toilets, kitchens and basements. They can also grow on wood, dirt or paper.
Mold can grow even more abundantly in humid climates or if you use a humidifier indoors.
Regardless of the color, all mold should be removed from buildings and homes.
Find out about the effects of mold exposure, treatment options, and steps you can take to reduce mold in your home.
Allergies are the main health problem that molds can trigger.
Although the presence of mold can cause minor effects for some, such as a stuffy nose or cough, it can cause stronger reactions in people with asthma, mold allergies or debilitated.
It is important to address the myths some people may have about black mold. A common rumor is that black mold releases toxic compounds called mycotoxins that cause health problems, such as memory loss, headaches, and pulmonary hemorrhage in infants.
But according to one 2017 notice, there is no evidence that exposure to black mold causes any particular health problems.
Additionally, while a variety of molds produce mycotoxins, these compounds are only primarily harmful to humans when consumed in significant amounts.
A 2019 review research on this topic indicates that there is currently no evidence that mycotoxins in the air cause disease.
Mold can affect people in different ways and often doesn’t cause any symptoms. You may experience the following common symptoms if you are susceptible to mold. These symptoms may be more serious if you have a true mold allergy:
Particular molds can also cause an asthma attack in people with asthma and increase breathing difficulties in people with chronic respiratory disease.
People with weakened immune systems are also at a higher risk of fungal infections in general, which can include lung infections from molds.
Exposure to molds can also particularly affect children.
There are no proven tests that show when or where you may have been exposed to mold.
But your doctor can check for mold allergies by looking at your symptoms and doing one of the following tests:
- Blood test. Your doctor will take a blood sample and send it to a lab to measure the number of certain antibodies, which can indicate how sensitive your immune system is to different species of mold.
- Skin test. Your doctor takes a small amount of mold and applies it to your skin using a small needle. Your skin will turn into a bump, rash, or hives if you are allergic to this type of mold.
Treatment for mold allergies and symptoms of exposure may include:
- Nasal sprays or rinses. Over-the-counter nasal corticosteroids, such as fluticasone (Flonase), reduce inflammation in the airways caused by mold allergies. A solution of warm distilled water and saline can also help flush your nasal passages of mold spores and clear up congestion.
- Over-the-counter drugs. Antihistamines, such as cetirizine (Zyrtec) or loratadine (Claritin), reduce the response of your immune system, thereby minimizing inflammation of the airways. Decongestants, such as pseudoephedrine (Sudafed), help reduce swelling due to allergic reactions.
- Montelukast (Singulair). This oral medication reduces the mucus in your airways, which decreases the symptoms of mold allergies and asthma.
- Allergy shots. Your doctor may recommend that you receive regular injections of small amounts of the allergens to help your immune system get used to them over time.
Avoiding mold is the best way to prevent it from triggering your asthma or allergies. When you can’t avoid it, treatment can help manage your symptoms.
Take a closer look at allergy tests and treatments.
It is best to hire a professional to help you identify and remove mold, especially if you are allergic or vulnerable to it.
You should also consider getting help if the mold covers more than 10 square feet or is hidden behind wallpaper, ceiling tiles, or other areas.
Here are some steps to identify and remove mold.
Identify mold in your home
- Dark appearance or spots or clumps. Look for any clumped spots or growths, especially in warm, humid rooms.
- Musty smell. You may be able to identify mold by a musty smell.
- Allergies or asthma. If you are suffering from asthma attacks or allergy symptoms in your home, this could also be a sign that there is mold.
- Potential causes. Look for the causes of mold growth, such as a leak, water damage, lack of ventilation, or old food, papers, or wood.
Remove mold from your home
Solve any problems causing mold growth and throw away anything that is affected by mold or contributing to mold growth that you cannot clean up.
- Wear protective gear. When treating the moldy area, cover yourself with a mask, gloves, goggles, and rubber boots. If you clean a lot of mold, you can also wear disposable clothes or a mold resistant coverall.
- Ventilate the room. Open all doors and windows to increase ventilation.
- Sort and discard. Remove any objects from the area that have not been affected by mold growth. Throw away any items that cannot be cleaned.
- Replace moldy housing materials. Cut and replace drywall, ceiling tiles and carpet damaged by mold.
- Scrub and disinfect. Cover and scrub non-porous surfaces affected by mold with bleach, fungicide or detergent and water, then dry them. Do not mix cleaning products with each other.
- Solve all water problems. Make sure all water issues are resolved and the area is dry before renovating the room.
You can’t prevent all mold, but you can reduce the amount of it in your home. Here are some dos and don’ts to manage mold and keep it from growing indoors.
People with asthma, allergies, or problems with the immune system can have immune reactions to mold, regardless of its color.
On the other hand, there is no evidence that mycotoxins in the air from black mold cause disease.
It is possible to prevent mold growth by keeping your indoor humidity low and your space clean. Keep an eye out for small growths and do something about the mold before it spreads.
If you think your health is being affected by mold exposure, see a doctor or allergist.