Mold 101 – Effects on Human Health

Having a mold problem in your home can be a serious health risk, and sometimes it can develop behind the walls and out of sight. Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean you don’t need to be concerned about mold. It will still create health problems for everyone in the home. Dampness in general will breed mold, but it tends to be a bigger problem if there has been recent water damage or flooding.


That’s why any professional water damage restoration company will tell you all about the risks of mold, and how to watch out for symptoms. Sometimes this is the only way to know that mold is growing.

Respiratory Problems

This is the biggest health risk with mold, and people who already suffer from conditions like asthma are particularly vulnerable. Inhaled spores can irritate the airways and the lungs, which leads to symptoms like wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath and a tightness in the chest. People with asthma can find that being around mold spores will trigger attacks. Small children may even develop asthma if they spend too much time in a home with a mold problem.

After extended periods of time, the irritation can lead to more serious infection that can continue long after the mold itself is cleaned up.

Nose and Throat Irritation

Though somewhat connected to your breathing, having additional problems with your nose and throat are a different set of symptoms entirely. Typically, you’ll get a stuffy or runny nose and a sore throat. Not overly serious, and many people shrug these types of symptoms off as harmless “seasonal allergies”.  If it gets bad, you can also start to suffer from nosebleeds.

And More

These first two are the most common mold effects, but you can also get rashes or generally itchy skin if you are around an active mold colony. If you are living in a moldy environment for a long period of time, you can expect headaches, insomnia and even mental health symptoms like anxiety, depression and memory loss. Serious effects like this aren’t common, so don’t panic just yet.

You also need to remember that not all molds react in the body the same way. Most are just irritants, almost like breathing too much dust. The spores get in our airways and cause irritation and inflammation. Some kinds of black mold are more dangerous because they actually produce a toxin. With this, you can expect much of the same symptoms, only more severe as your body responds to the toxin.

How to deal with it

If you have family members suffering from these problems, and an investigation does turn up mold in some parts of the house, what can you do about it? Mold doesn’t just wipe off, so plan on a more rigorous cleaning chore. Make up a bleach solution of about 1 part chlorine bleach to 10 parts water, and give the moldy area a good scrub down. Porous materials like fabric or drywall may need to be removed. For wood, try to let the liquid really soak in so it can kill any deeper spores.

Erin Emanuel