Mold is an inescapable part of life. Outdoors, mold plays a crucial role in breaking down materials like leaves, wood, and other plant debris. Indoors, it can be a totally different story. It may cause health problems in some cases, and you’d be none the wiser as mold can remain undetected behind walls, in ceilings, and under carpets for years. In fact, at least 45 million buildings in the U.S. have unhealthy levels of mold. If your house is one of them, that can be an issue as you continue to work from home.
Locating mold at home
Mold begins as a little spot, but it expands very quickly. Unless it’s in a hidden location, a regular sweep of your indoor surroundings will help you notice mold development. It can come in just about any color and may either be cottony, velvety, or powdery.
When you notice a new spot that wasn’t there before, you can tell that it’s mold if it has a musty, earthy smell. It can also cause warping, cracking, or peeling on the material it’s growing on. Mold usually appears in rooms that are dark and damp. Moist plant pots, cracked windows, leaky pipes, and wet shoes could all contribute to mold growth indoors.
Health effects of mold exposure
When you start to notice these symptoms, it’s best to go see your doctor. They can provide you with prescriptions or further treatment to be administered by specialized nurses. In fact, allergy-immunology care is one of the most in-demand nursing careers today and is part of the growing body of nursing specializations. These specialists often have a master’s or doctoral degree in nursing and advanced knowledge in their fields. Those specializing in allergy-immunology care work with patients long-term, even throughout their lives, to alleviate chronic allergic conditions. Mold can produce allergens, irritants, and toxins that may compromise your health. Mold illness is difficult to screen; lots of Americans are being treated for chronic allergies without knowing that those may be caused by mold.
How to prevent mold problems
Getting rid of mold can be costly and challenging, so you should put conscious effort into prevention. For one, keep humidity levels as low as possible all day long. Now that you’re working at home, you can monitor the changes in humidity throughout the day. In more humid months, use an air conditioner or a dehumidifier. And make sure that your home has enough ventilation. This isn’t just a good measure to prevent mold, it could be beneficial to your health too.
Once you notice leaks in your roof, walls, windows, or plumbing, get them fixed immediately. The most important thing to remember is that moisture helps mold develop, so avoid unnecessary dampness as much as you can.
Mold is an indispensable part of the world we live in, and there’s no way to get rid of it completely. But there are ways to make your home, your current workplace, inhospitable to mold. This will keep you healthy and feeling your best for remote work.
Our Environmental Mold and Mycotoxin Assessment can help you determine if toxic mold is present in your home office and its surroundings. The EMMA tests for the presence of 16 of the most dangerous mycotoxins and 10 pathogenic fungal species.
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By Aubrey Verona