Common mold symptoms are typically those of a respiratory allergic reaction; stuffy nose, watery eyes, blocked sinuses, and difficulty breathing. Mold can cause allergic reactions of varying severity in individuals, sometimes severe.
Mold can also cause or worsen other illnesses (i.e. asthma, respiratory disorders, immune suppressed individuals). In severe cases mold can cause irreversible damage to the lungs.
Mold typically grows in damp areas outside and inside the house. Houses affected by some form of water damage are at a greater risk of developing mold. Mold growth may not always be visible but may also occur within ventilation systems, inside walls and floors, and on furniture, carpeting, or other materials.
Signs of mold growth indoors are visible discoloration of the ceiling, walls, and/or floors, and also musty or foul odors. Removal of affected items, and disinfecting remaining items while ensuring adequate ventilation and proper respiratory protection are the first steps in eliminating mold growth and exposure to it.
- stuffy, itchy nose
- blocked sinuses
- skin irritation
- difficulty breathing
- shortness of breath
- irritated, watery, itchy eyes
- blockage of the ears
- increased asthma attacks
- chronic sinus infections
- lung infection
Diagnosis is typically through physical examination and identification of exposure to an environment in which mold could be present. Lung function testing and chest x-ray can help support the diagnosis of an inflammation of the lung. Blood testing can help confirm the diagnosis of mold exposure.
Treatment is typically with the simple act of avoiding the source of the mold. If this is not immediately possible or is not practical, respiratory protection should be used. In advanced cases, corticosteroids can be used to help reduce lung inflammation.
Prevention can be achieved by immediately removing mold-affected items and treating remaining surfaces and areas to kill mold.