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Mold can manifest in a variety of colors and textures and can be found both indoors and outdoors. Though it is not uncommon to discover mold in the home, its presence is still unwanted and if left to develop for a long enough time, can cause health to decline significantly. To thrive, mold requires a water source, usually from a leak. Leaks tend to be hidden behind walls or ceilings giving mold the dangerous capability of being able to spread discreetly until it becomes more noticeable by sight or smell. By this time, the mold infestation can be substantial and require mold remediation or restoration.
There are 3 general categories of mold: allergenic, pathogenic and toxic. Allergenic molds are not likely to cause illness but can cause allergic reactions in those that are allergic to mold and trigger asthmatic reactions. Pathogenic molds can cause infections in those allergic to mold and those that are not allergic. This kind of mold is more dangerous to those with underdeveloped or compromised immune systems, like children and the elderly. Toxic molds are the most threatening because they produce mycotoxins, which are poisonous to humans.
Known for its long flask shaped spore patterns, aspergillus has 185 different species and can form thick layers on walls as it creates long chains of growth. It is an allergenic mold but has pathogenic and toxic species of severity. Toxic aspergillus produces aflatoxins, a carcinogen. The most common allergy symptom is lung inflammation, respiratory infection and asthma attacks.
Cladosporium can grow in warm and cool environments making carpet, upholstery, wood flooring and cabinetry ideal places for it to grow. It is typically olive green or brown in color and has a suede-like texture that can cause breathing and respiratory difficulties as well as skin infections.
The most notoriously common stachybotrys chartarum is better known as black mold. This toxic mold grows best in damp, humid conditions and is known to grow on wood, paper, cardboard and paper. Its texture is slimy and is dark green or black in color. Exposure to this mold can cause chest tightness, fever, nose bleeds and pulmonary bleeding in children and infants.
This allergenic mold flourishes in damp areas, like bathrooms. Showers, bathtubs and sinks are common areas of growth. Alternaria is velvet textured with dark green or brown hairs and is a direct result of water damage. Allergic reactions resemble asthma-like symptoms in the upper respiratory tract, nose and mouth.
The best way to prevent mold from becoming a much larger problem in your home is by conducting mold testing if you believe there may be mold present. Since its visibility can be low, mold testing is a sure way to know whether mold is an issue and how severe.
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