Mold can trigger anything from an asthma or allergy attack to nervous system damage leading to death. Effects of mold on health can include migraine headaches, hay fever, eczema, chronic fatigue syndrome, memory impairment, flu-like symptoms, sick building syndrome, dizziness, nosebleeds, fainting spells, brain damage, nerve damage, or immune system damage. Yet despite all the warnings and lawsuits in the news, many people don’t take the threat of mold in their home or business seriously. Mold spores are everywhere but take root and thrive in dark, moist areas. They can grow on any organic surface, are hard to kill, and the most harmful varieties actually emit toxic gases. Following is a list of steps you can take to ensure that your living or working space is as free of dangerous molds as possible:
- Be conscious of humidity. Humidity levels should be monitored and should never exceed 50%. Use a dehumidifier if necessary to keep particular areas dry, such as the basement.
- Remember to ventilate every room and keep closet doors open. Open other doors and windows, run the air conditioner, and use ceiling, ventilation, and other fans.
- Some molds can only be killed with harsh chemicals such as liquid bleach. Clean all bathroom surfaces including shower curtains and window blinds with bleach once a month to keep those damp areas free of mold.
- Use your bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans to reduce moisture as well as odors.
- Keep fireplace wood away from the home.
- Remove carpeting from all concrete floors.
- Ensure that moist air from your clothes dryer is properly vented to the outside.
- If you suffer from mold allergies, stay away from moist areas and items that have been stored there. If necessary, seal off those areas until they can be properly disinfected.
- Inspect closets for items that may retain moisture, such as shoes or wood. Take necessary precautions to ensure mold doesn’t develop as a result of storage.
- If you find evidence of water damage from a leak in your home or plumbing, be sure to resolve the problem immediately and have any affected and surrounding areas professionally cleaned as soon as possible using proven mold killing techniques, technology, and cleaning products.
If you’re unfortunate enough to find an existing mold problem anywhere on your property, take these steps to ensure thorough remediation of the threat:
- Make sure the area is inspected by a trained, certified mold inspection service professional to determine the proper plan of action.
- Isolate or quarantine any infected areas and belongings until disinfection is complete to prevent cross-contamination.
- Mold is dangerous enough that professionals in space suits will likely have to clean a badly infected area and remove the mold in hazardous waste containers. Care must be taken that mold spores are contained and not “stirred up” during the cleaning process.
- Consult professionals to accurately determine the cause or causes of the problem and fix it immediately to prevent any future issues. Structural damage, plumbing leaks, or poor ventilation are common causes.
- Outline and follow a prevention and maintenance plan using the tips above.