Molds are fungi that can be found both indoors and outdoors. No one knows how many species of moldexist but estimates range from tens of thousands to perhaps three hundred thousand or more. Molds grow best in warm, damp, and humid conditions, and spread and reproduce by making spores. Mold spores can survive harsh environmental conditions, such as dry conditions, that do not support normal mold growth.
How does mold affect you?
Many people are sensitive to molds. For these people, exposure to molds can lead to symptoms such as stuffy nose, wheezing, and red or itchy eyes, or skin. Some people, such as those with allergies to molds or with asthma, may have more intense reactions. Severe reactions may occur when exposed to large amounts of mold. Severe reactions may include fever and shortness of breath. People with a weakened immune system, such as people receiving treatment for cancer, people who have had an organ or stem cell transplant, and people taking medicines that suppress the immune system, are more likely to get mold infections. Exposure to mold or dampness may also lead to development of asthma in some individuals. Interventions that improve housing conditions can reduce issues from asthma and respiratory allergies.
When should you test for mold?
You should have a certified professional test for mold when you believe you may be exposed to mold but cannot see where it is growing. You may want to test for mold if you are having severe allergies, coughing, stuffy nose, shortness of breath, red or itchy eyes and skin while inside your home.