They could be lurking in your home right now. Hiding in your basement. Skulking under your kitchen sink. Even loitering in your shower. There are hundreds of thousands of different types, and they can thrive almost anywhere.
I’m talking, of course, about mold. A hearty living fungus that, under the right conditions, can set up shop in your home and make you sick. In fact, your health could already be suffering because exposure to hidden mold in your home or workplace and you may not even know it.
I’ll go over the most common warning signs of toxic mold exposure in a moment. But first, let’s take a closer look at how mold can find its way into your home in the first place.
How toxic mold invades your home
Microscopic mold spores can hitch a ride into your house carried on the air through open windows and doors or attached to your shoes or clothing. They can even make their way inside nestled in your pet’s fur.
The truth is there’s nothing you can do to prevent them from getting inside. And there’s really nothing to worry about at this point anyway since mold spores alone don’t pose a problem. But if those spores encounter warm, damp surfaces, all bets are off. They can take hold and bloom into a harmful mold.
Mold thrives in damp, humid environments such as showers and bathrooms, under sinks, in basements, and beneath carpets. It can also take root in places you can’t see it such as behind wallpaper or drywall.
If you smell a musty odor, like stored potatoes, you’re probably dealing with hidden mold. And the worst part is, hidden or not, mold can have serious health consequences.
14 signs of toxic mold exposure
Toxic mold exposure can be tough to nail down. Everyone’s reaction is a bit different. Some folks may experience mild symptoms, while others have more extreme reactions. And your own symptoms might overlap with other health conditions you have.
But if you’re experiencing any of the following 14 common symptoms, and standard treatments haven’t helped relieve them, it may be because you’re sharing your home with hidden mold that’s making you sick.
- joint pain
- feeling fatigued or tired all the time
- frequent headaches
- stomach problems such as diarrhea or bloating (or food sensitivities)
- weight fluctuations
- unexplained numbness or tingling
- blurry vision
- sensitivity to light
- brain fog, confusion or memory loss (may seem like early onset dementia)
- moodiness and irritability
- skin issues such as unexplained rashes
- trouble sleeping
- auto-immune issues
- inflammatory problems
Seek out and destroy hidden toxic mold
To find toxic mold in your house follow your nose. If you have any areas of your home that have a damp musty smell there’s a good chance mold has found a home there too. Check for water stains, discolorations or fuzzy growth around windowsills, pipes, walls, ceilings, and floors.
If the mold has grown on a nonporous surface, like the tub or bathroom floor, you can usually tackle it yourself. Mix together one cup of bleach and one gallon of water, put on gloves and a face mask (you can find them at the hardware store or online) and scrub all visible signs of the mold away.
Unfortunately, if the mold has settled into fabric such as curtains or a sofa, you may need to throw them out. If the mold problem is extensive, or if you suspect there’s mold in your walls or basement, it’s best to call a professional.
To keep your home mold free…
- Don’t keep carpets in humid areas
- Dry bathroom rugs daily, and wash them regularly
- Make sure your house has decent ventilation
- Keep humidity levels between 30 and 50 percent, using a dehumidifier if needed
- Fix plumbing issues as soon as they appear
Be sure to address a toxic mold problem as soon as you suspect you have one. Tackling it quickly could help you avoid some of the most serious health effects.