Monthly Archives: September 2016

Mold can cause hair loss

Mold Allergens and Hair Loss

Loss of hair could be a result of human’s allergic reaction to mould. Studies have shown that people living in homes patched with mold are more likely to suffer hair loss. Hair loss affects all people, women and children included.

How does Mold Allergy cause Hair Loss

Blood circulation in the human body is responsible for the growth and normal functioning of body organs and tissues. Hair is one of them. Hair grows from a follicle on the head and this growth is sustained by a constant supply of blood through the capillaries. An interference with the blood supply means normal growth of hair is disrupted.

For hair to start falling off during an allergic reaction, one will have inhaled mold allergens. Since allergens are foreign to the body, your immune system automatically triggers the production of histamine which in turns causes dilation of capillaries. When this happens, normal flow of blood is affected. Once there is not enough supply of blood to the hair follicles, your hair begins to thin or even fall off and usually without any particular pattern but all over the head commonly referred to as diffused pattern.
If you notice mold in certain areas of your house, have them removed as a preventative and curative measure for mold allergies.

Hair Loss can be caused by other Allergies too

Apart from molds, other indoor allergens too are likely to cause hair loss. A long period of exposure to such allergens without getting rid of them and treating yourself may result in hair loss.
Common indoor allergens include pet dander, chemicals and biological enzymes present in laundry detergents, and dust mites.

How to treat hair loss caused by Mold

After you are certain that mold is what is causing your hair loss, wisdom dictates that you address the cause first, as a preventative measure, rather than the symptoms. Therefore, get rid of the mold in your home as best as you can. A mold test is a sure way of inspecting your home for molds.

After removal of mold, the next step will be to ensure that you don’t have more mold problems by consistently HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) Vacuuming your home to reduce the presence of mold spores. This type of vacuum, unlike the normal vacuums, filters up to 99.97% of airborne particles, mold spores included.

Thirdly, consult an allergy specialist or a doctor for anti-fungal treatment. He may prescribe a nasal spray, oral tablets, or creams for application on the affected area.

What are the Chances of Hair Growing Back

A successful treatment of hair loss is possible. However, it may take some time for hair to grow to normal and this will be determined by whether a person is still exposed to mold or not.

A permanent removal of mold from your house and immediately seeking the doctor’s attention for mold allergy treatment will most certainly increase your chances of having your hair back. Mold causes hair follicles to be either dormant or dead. After treatment, dormant hair follicles are reactivated for hair to grow back but the same case will not apply where follicles were already dead.

Fungal infection and Hair Loss

Fungal infection that results in hair loss is usually caused by dermatophytes, a parasitic fungus that attacks the epidermis. An example of such mold-like fungi is the ringworm, scientifically known as Tinea Capitis

While hair loss caused by mold allergy occurs in a diffused pattern, that caused by fungal infection is patchy. Usually, these patches start of as a tiny pimple and end up as red, itching peeling patches with hair falling of the affected area.

Clear signs of a fungal infection causing hair loss are an inflamed scalp, tender and peeling skin. For others you might notice rashes appearing. Fungal infections are communicable and easily affect people with weak immunity. These infections are also common among children.

Treating Fungal Infection

The best remedy is to speak to a specialist who will give an anti-fungal prescription. Some effective anti-fungal creams include terbinafine and miconazole. Anti-fungal nasal sprays and oral tablets are also used for treatment. In many cases, hair will grow back after successful treatment.

Mold Testing – How to test for mold in house

The problem of hidden and invisible mold

Mold that has grown into colonies is easily visible and is detected on time. However, there can be mold present in your house that is totally invisible and resides in air and leaves no visible traces anywhere. And still it would affect your health.

Mold Testing

Mold testing a process of analyzing the air quality in a particular area of your house, like a bedroom or bathroom. Specific chemical tests are able to test and detect mold spores that are present and thrive in just the air around without giving any signs of presence other than health problems to the occupants.

The test can tell if there is hidden mold in the place, the level of air quality and also identify the species of molds present.

Professional Mold Testing

Mold testing can be done by a proper mold testing agency or service provider. They will collect samples and send it for analysis to labs and get accurate reports on the mold samples. Hiring professionals gets you highly detailed and accurate reporting on the mold.

mold testing

Mold Testing

To find a suitable mold testing service in your locality search on google or some local classifieds site.

DIY Mold testing kits

The other way of testing for mold is doing it yourself with mold testing kits that are easily available in the market. You can find a good do-it-yourself mold testing kits on amazon.com.

This particular video shows how a mold testing kit can help you discover invisible mold that resides in the atmosphere without you having any knowledge of it.

Mold testing kits are a less expensive way of testing for presence of mold in your house, but with limitations. These mold kits can be used to detect active mold spores in the atmosphere or on a surface.

However they cannot give you detailed information about the species of the mold, or whether they are toxic or not. For a detailed analysis you better opt for a professional mold testing provider.

Types of Mold Tests

The three main types of mold tests, depending on how the mold samples are collected –

  • Air testing
  • Surface testing
  • Bulk testing

Air Testing for Mold

Air test checks for mold spores present in the air. The samples are collected from a particular room at a time and then the samples undergo examination. These samples under examination reveal if mold is present in the air and in what quantity.

This test helps to detect mold, even if there are no visible signs or symptoms. The test reveals the quality of the air that all the occupants of the house are breathing.

Surface testing for Mold

Surface testing involves collecting samples from somekind of a surface where there might be some signs of mold growing. For example a wooden surface. Samples are collected using cotton swab, tape lifting or other methods. Later on, its send for analysis to the laboratory.

Surface test can detect, if the moldy growth is actually mold or just soot or dirt. If its detected as mold, then you know its time to clean it.

Bulk Testing for Mold

Bulk testing is a more intensive way of carrying out the tests for mold. In the process, actual objects or pieces of affected material are collected from the home and take to the laboratory for examination under the microscope.

Culture Test

In Culture test, the mold sample is kept in a special environment where it can grow into large colonies. Then the colony can be examined to identify the species of the mold.

This method is used in many diy mold testing kits where in, after collecting the sample you have to keep it in a special chemical apparatus where it will grow into colonies in a few day. The culture test works only if there are alive mold spores in the sample that are capable of growing.

However, even dead mold particular can cause health issues. So even if the culture tests show negative signs of mold in the sample, you can go for other tests that can detect even the dead mold spores.

When do you need to test for mold

Like mentioned earlier, the main reason behind mold testing is to detect mold that is invisible or difficult to detect by human eyes.

However, you may want to go for mold test due to any or all of the following reasons –

  • You notice signs of mold and want to do a thorough inspection
  • Identify the mold species and get information of related health issues
  • Find the source and root cause of the mold growth
  • Test the quality of air indoors by measuring the mold spore density
  • To check if mold has been completely removed after treatment

Presence of Mold signs and symptoms

The foremost reason to go for mold testing and inspection is the presence of mold signs in your house. These can be visible mold growing in some part of the house or health problems being faced by some or all members of the house.

If you notice musty smell in any corner of the house, it is a strong indication of mold growing somewhere.

If any member of the house is suffering allergic symptoms, there could be mold present in the air or some surface that is often touched or comes in human contact. Mold in air will cause breathing or respiratory problems like irritation, sneezing etc. Whereas mold on surfaces will cause skin problems.

For more information on the health problems and symptoms caused by mold, check this post –

What are the health symptoms caused by black Mold

Identifying Mold Species

Another important reason to go for mold testing is to identify the mold species. This might sound insignificant. However there are scenarios where the mold the highly toxic and spreads rapidly due to climatic and environmental conditions. In such cases, the residents of the place need to exercise greater caution to be safer.

Some of toxic mold species are Stachybotrys (often called toxic black mold) and Aspergillus.

If there is mold infection somewhere in your house or even outdoors, which are unable to eliminate permanently and you are suffering toxic symptoms due to it, then its extremely necessary to get the mold tested. Such an examination can be done only by professional testing labs.

Finding the root cause of Mold

Sometimes, it could be difficult to identify the exact location where mold is originating in your house. You entire house might feel free of water and moisture problems and yet there might be mold coming in from somewhere.

The test can identify the exact location where the mold is originating from. For example damaged walls that are absorbing moisture from outdoors or wooden structure absorbing moisture from soil. Once you are able to identify the exact place the mold is coming from, treatment becomes easier.

Testing indoor air quality

Mold testing also reveals the level of air quality in places where mold spores appear even after repeated treatments.

Assessing the air quality becomes even more important if there are kids or pets in the house. They are more susceptible to health problems and symptoms and need more care.

Sometimes, there are no visible signs of mold growing anywhere in the house and still the members suffer breathing problems. This can be due to mold spores that are present in the air that might have come from outdoors. In such a situation, its better to get the air quality level checked and proper mold test done.

If the test reveals that there indeed are mold spores present in the air, you can be sure of what treatment needs to be done next.

Mold testing after Mold removal

If there has been a lengthy mold treatment process going on in your house, its a very good idea to do a mold test after the mold removal is done. This is useful to ensure that the mold removal process was successful and that mold was actually removed completely without any left over traces.

All the places affected by mold earlier should be thoroughly tested. Samples should be collected from air and surfaces. If the test shows residual presence of mold anywhere, then you need to carry out the removal process and cleaning again.

Once the tests show that the mold spores have been completely eliminated and that the air quality level is in a safe range, you can be sure that the job is done quite well.

Conclusion

That was some very basic information about mold testing. To learn more about the process you should contact some local mold testing laboratory.

Mold testing is becomes necessary in cases where its difficult to detect the mold by mere visual inspection. It happens when mold spores either originate from deep hidden places or are carried into the house from outdoors by airflow.

If the mold is visible, its easily detected and all you need to do is to prepare for the cleaning and removal process. Then you can just do the usual cleaning and skip the testing unless it seems necessary later on.

References and Resource

https://www.epa.gov/mold/mold-testing-or-sampling – More information about mold testing and sampling at EPA

http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/eh/indoorair/mold/moldtest.html – Information on Mold Testing at Minnesota Department of Health

Mold Inspection – Detecting mold in your house

Mold Inspection

If you think there is excessive amounts of mold growing in some part of your house that you cannot check all by yourself, a professional mold inspection service can be of great help.

The mold inspection process finds where exactly the mold is growing in your house and also checks for water problems that is causing the mold to appear. So you can not only remove the mold, but also fix the root cause of the trouble.

If you see mold in your house, then there may be more of it somewhere underneath or out of view. This happens often with underground wooden structures or crawling spaces or some wooden roof structures. In these scenarios calling a mold inspection service is quite necessary as they can do a thorough check of the extent to which the mold has spread.

Signs of Mold in house

There are plenty of symptoms that can indicate a mold problem somewhere in your house. For example –

1. You are suffering respiratory problems or skin allergies or both.
2. You notice musty smell in some corner of your house.
3. You have water and damp problems which will potentially cause mold.

To learn more about the signs of mold problems, check this previous post here –

What are the signs of mold in house

Hiring a professional mold inspection service

There are plenty of mold inspection service providers that can make your job easier. They have the experience and equipment to accurately detect and test mold even in the hidden places of the house.

Mold testing services will also collect samples of the mold and send it for testing to collect more information on what mold was growing inside your house. This can help you detect and diagnose health problems of those living inside the house.

With their fine equipments they can not only find mold, but also check for water and damp problems that is causing the mold. If you think there is mold problem in your house that you are not able to treat yourself, its necessary to call in a professional.

Checking for water problems

If you plan to call in a mold inspection service, then make sure to recall all past water problems that happened in the house. This would be water leakage from pipes or even flood. You need to inform the mold inspection team about these past problems so that they can investigate in the right direction.

Even if you are trying to do the mold inspection yourself, you need to be well informed about past water problems so that you have some clue about how and where the problem began in the first place.

Check the house thoroughly for moisture or damp problems. While doing regular cleaning of the house you can easily discover areas like walls and ceilings that are having moisture problem or smelling bad.

Also check places that could have a water leakage problem. Check places where water pipes are installed in your bathroom, kitchen etc and see if there are any signs of water leakage. If you have a water reservoir on the roof then check its pipelines as well. Also check the roof structure for any cracks where rain water could potentially fill in.

Hidden Mold

Mold can grow in places that are completely hidden from view. For example, inside the cracks of a wall, under peeling walls or other areas that are not visible. If you are inspecting such areas in the basement or other crawling spaces, the make sure to carry a bright flashlight to be able to see clearly.

Other ways to detect hidden mold is by the musty odor they emit. If certain areas of the house smell very bad and cause sneezing or eye irritation, surely there is mold over there.

Identifying Mold Properly

Sometimes, what might appear as mold, might just be black dirt spots or soot sticking around for a long time. Look at spots closely but carefully and see if it appears like fungal growth or something organic. If it appears as a uniform dark patch it might just be dirt that you need to clean.

Try not to dust away the mold

If you find large areas of mold during the inspection, be careful not to dust away using some kind of broom stick or wipe. Doing so, can spread the mold in air and also release mycotoxins (toxic chemicals released by mold) in the air which will be harmful to those breathing around.

Do the cleaning after complete inspection using proper cleaning solutions and other necessary preparations. For more information on cleaning mold yourself, check out this previous article here –

Mold removal guide - Removing mold with common household cleaners

Mold treatment

After you have managed to find out the mold in your house, its time to get some remedy to remove it completely. If its small in quantity and size you may want to consider cleaning it yourself.

However, if the mold affected area is very large, like an entire room or a large ceiling or entire wall, then you should definitely consider consulting a professional. Large quantities of mold indicate a more severe underlying problem that will be difficult to fix all by yourself.

Furthermore, if the mold affected area is large, there are chances that a variety of mold species have grown over the place, including some toxic mold. Then it becomes even more important to get the experts to work on it rather than risking your own health and safety. In short, hire a professional or agency.

Mold Testing

Mold testing can identify the species of the mold that has been affecting your house and provides further information about possible health concerns. Many of the mold removal agencies will also provide mold testing services if you opt for it. Of course it will have additional cost.

Mold testing involves collection of mold samples from the affected site and then sending them to a laboratory for testing and analysis. Later on reports would be made available that would contain detailed information about the mold.

Mold Remediation

The final goal of all the effort is to do a permanent remedy to the mold problem so that it does not appear again in the house or at least stays out for a long time.

The first part of the process is to clean all the existing mold by yourself or hiring a professional. Once the whole place is clean, the next thing would be to do permanent treatment to the underlying problems that caused the mold to appear.

Fixing water leakage problems is the most important step towards eliminating moisture and damp problem from the house, which will prevent further mold growth. Depending on the nature of water problem you may have to call in plumbers or similar services to fix it. This will involve repair cost and labor charges depending on the scale of the work. You might have to collect quotes from multiple agencies before selecting one. This again could be a daunting task if you are doing it for the first time.

Conclusion

Mold inspection becomes necessary when it becomes a recurring problem inside the house. Merely wipe out is not the solution. Proper treatment of underlying problems is necessary to prevent mold from growing again and again.

Mold inspection becomes all the more important if the place has seen severe water damage in the past, like a flood. Water damage can cause water to permeate deep into the walls and basement, making it very difficult for the house owner to tackle himself.

Do make sure to call in a professional mold remediation service if you feel it necessary. Removing mold is necessary for your good health and of your family.

What are the signs of mold in house

Sign and symptoms of Mold in House

There are several signs that become visible if there is a mold problem in your house. The major signals are health problem and bad smell. Excessive mold growth can cause allergic symptoms to those staying around.

Allergic Symptoms from Mold

If you are suffering unusual respiratory problems or skin allergies then there might be a mold problem somewhere around. Some of the most common allergic reactions to mold include sneezing, irritation in breathing or nasal congestion. However these symptoms may not necessarily confirm the presence of mold.

For example if there is a damp problem in your bed there are chances that mold could grow somewhere underneath it and start causing health problems like skin allergies or respiratory allergies.

If the environment indoors feels heavy and musty whereas you feel better when outdoors, this could indicate a mold problem inside the house. If the allergies get worse inside the house then this would strongly indicate a mold problem indoors.

To learn more about health symptoms caused by mold check this previous post here –

What are the health symptoms caused by black Mold

Toxic Symptoms from Mold

If you are suffering symptoms like headaches, dizziness when inside the house it could indicate a mold problem.

Certain toxic species of molds like release chemicals called mycotoxins into the air which can have adverse affects on humans and animals both. The symptoms can be more severe than minor allergies. If you suffer any such problems then check for mold immediately.

Mold smell

Apart from health problems and allergies the other sure way of detecting mold is by its musty smell. When mold starts growing in significant quantities somewhere, it will give out chemicals in air that will produce a very foul smell that is difficult to tolerate.

The moment you notice such odors anywhere in your house, take action right away and go for a thorough inspection before it gets worse.

You can either check the whole area yourself or call a professional mold inspection service to do the job better.

Visible Mold

This is the most obvious evidence that you have been hit by mold. Black ugly patches spreading in some corner of the house like bathroom or kitchens are sure signs of mold. Do not make the mistake of thinking it to be dust or soot, and do not ignore it. Its time to clean.

Small mold patches like those in the bathroom, under the wash basin or between the tiles or on a vinyl door are much easier to clean yourself. Follow this previous post to learn more about cleaning mold yourself –

Mold removal guide - Removing mold with common household cleaners

Although small amounts of mold do not pose a direct risk to your health initially, but it can slowly grow larger and larger over time. Therefore in the interest of your own good health, you should take immediate action.

Other species of mold

Sometimes you might come across mold that looks unusual or does not look like mold at all. For example the kind of mold that grows on rotting food items often have a different color like white or pale blue. Such mold appears somewhat like cotton from distance.

There are even more varieties of mold that appear greenish or orange in color. Such molds can be found on ceiling edges that have water leakage problems. These kinds of mold may be difficult to spot if the underlying color of the surface acts as camouflage.

Signs of Water Problems

Long term moisture and damp problems are the primary causes of mold infestation inside houses. Even if you don’t have any visible mold signs like the ones described above, you still need to be vigilant if there has been water problem in the house in the past.

Mold growing on wall

Mold growing on wall

Sometimes mold could grow in concealed areas within the walls or wooden structures and can be difficult to spot. They will become visible or start smelling only when they have grown massively in size.

Moisture often causes damage to wall surface like peeling and cracking or swelling like bubbles. If any part of a wall is bulging abnormally it indicates moisture problems on the inside.

So if you are dealing with water problems, make sure to go for mold inspection and treatment as well.

Water Leaks

Water leaks are not very uncommon. Faucets, under sink pipes or ordinary taps, anything can leak if the structure becomes weak or gets damaged over time.

If there are such leakage problems in your kitchen or bathroom, the surrounding walls would often get affected by the water. The walls absorb water and provide a favorable place for mold to grow. Such mold is best visible on walls that are painted bright white. Black patches would become visible the very moment they appear.

However, the problem gets complicated if the leakage is somewhere inside the wall or on the other side (exterior) that is not easily reachable. Such places are hidden from view and mold growth can often go un-noticed until it becomes large and visible. Then it becomes very important to do a thorough inspection on all sides of the wall to ensure that no mold goes undetected.

Flood and water damage

If your house has seen floods and large scale water damage in the past then there are strong chances that mold has started infecting your house along with many other kinds of pests. Particular areas of the house like basements might have been badly affected by overflowing water for a very long time causing excessive damp problems.

In such a scenario you would actually need to inspect the entire house basement and even the foundation structure of the house to accurately assess the level of water damage caused. Even if the flood water has drained out, it will potentially leave behind damaged structures with cracks and crevices where moisture and damp can easily fill in. Such places will again breed mold rapidly if left untreated.

To learn more about prevention of health problems in the aftermath of a flood, check the following link –

http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr5508a1.htm – Mold Prevention Strategies and Possible Health Effects in the Aftermath of Hurricanes and Major Floods

Condensation

High amounts of condensation could result from high humidity in the atmosphere. This happens more during rainy seasons. Condensation causes moisture to accumulate and settle on surfaces like windows, pipes and wooden structures in and around a house.

This could again lead to mold. Such kind of condensation occurs mostly on the exterior sides of the house walls. This is what causes the greenish mold to grow on the outer sides of a building which is very common.

Mold that grows on the exterior parts of a house can eventually start creeping inside. That is why it becomes important to stop it right away.

Tackling such a condensation problem can again require some investment. You need to get your walls painted with water resistant paints so that they stay protected under the effect of high humidity or heavy rain or both.

Conclusion

That was an overview of some of the most basic signs and symptoms of mold being present in your house. We would recommend that you do not ignore mold problems and do proper remedies on time to avoid any health problems to you or your family.

In small quantities you can clean the mold yourself. If the mold infestation is massive or affects at least about 100 square feet of area, then its best advised to call in a professional mold inspection service immediately and get it treated.

Not only should you treat the mold growth, but also the underlying cause that has helped the mold to grow. Water problems, leakage and other moisture and damp related problems should be given a permanent treatment to ensure that the mold does not reappear.

References and Resources

Check the EPA website to learn about mold and how to control it in your house –
https://www.epa.gov/mold

http://www.cdc.gov/mold/