Long & Short Term Effects of Mold

The type and severity of health effects that result from mold exposure is widely variable among different locations, from person to person and over time. Although difficult to predict, exposure to molds growing indoors is most often associated with the following allergy symptoms:

  • Nasal and sinus congestion
  • Cough/sore throat
  • Chest tightness
  • Dyspnea (breathing difficulty)
  • Asthma (or exacerbation of it)
  • Epistaxis (nosebleed)
  • Upper respiratory tract infections
  • Headache
  • Skin and eye irritation

Long-term exposure to indoor molds is certainly unhealthy to anyone, but some groups will develop more severe symptoms sooner than others, including:

  • Infants and children
  • Elderly people
  • Individuals with respiratory conditions, allergies and/or asthma

Some indoor molds are capable of producing extremely potent toxins (mycotoxins) that are lipid-soluble and readily absorbed by the intestinal lining, airways, and skin. These agents, usually contained in the fungal spores, have toxic effects ranging from short-term irritation to immunosuppression and cancer.

More severe symptoms that could result from continuous human exposure to indoor mycotoxigenic molds include:

  • Cancer (aflatoxin best characterized as potential human carcinogen)
  • Hypersensitivity pneumonitis/pulmonary fibrosis
  • Pulmonary injury/hemosiderosis (bleeding)
  • Neurotoxicity
  • Hematologic and immunologic disorders
  • Hepatic, endocrine and/or renal toxicities
  • Pregnancy, gastrointestinal and/or cardiac conditions

It is important to notice that the clinical relevance of mycotoxins under realistic airborne exposure levels is not fully established. Further, some or much of the supporting evidence for these other health effects is based on case studies rather than controlled studies, studies that have not yet been reproduced or involve symptoms that are subjective.

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What is Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis

Hypersensitivity pneumonitis can develop over time in patients who are sensitive to mold spores in the air. One of the most common types of hypersensitivity pneumonitis is known as “farmer’s lung.” Farmer’s lung is a serious allergic reaction to mold found in hay and other types of crop material. Because farmer’s lung is so often undiagnosed, it can cause permanent damage in the form of scar tissue on the lung. This scar tissue, called fibrosis, can worsen until the patient begins to have trouble doing simple tasks.

Once farmer’s lung progresses to a more chronic form, symptoms may become more severe than simple histamine reactions. Farmer’s lung patients may experience:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Blood-streaked sputum
  • Muscular pain

Those who work around potentially moldy crop materials on a regular basis should watch for early histamine reactions and seek treatment if they suspect farmer’s lung may be developing. While mold exposure is generally not deadly, increased exposure can make symptoms worse. Mold allergies are progressive. Over time the attacks become more severe. The key is to prevent moisture from building up by repairing any leaks in your home.

If you notice a water build-up in any part of your home, stop the leak immediately. When working in situations where outdoor mold may be present, wearing a face mask can drastically reduce your exposure to the allergen. Masks that will protect your respiratory system from being affected by mold spore exposure are available.

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Surface Sampling in Attics

We get quite a few calls per week with customers claiming to have mold in their attics.  While some do, other attics have nothing more than “Suspect Areas” of concern and we always recommend testing.  The proper testing for such a situation is surface sampling.  This is a direct lift of the suspect area which is then sent to a lab to be tested for mold.  The reason this is so important is because attics tend to look like they have mold, but may just be dirty, discolored, etc.  Competitors of ours will claim anything that any discoloration they see is mold and try to start the work immediately, but with attics being one of the highest costs of remediation in the mold business, spending a small fee to insure what is in your attic is truly mold is money well spent.  So, when having your attic inspected, if it’s not clearly evident that you do have mold, then having surface sampling will be something that takes the guess work completely out.

How Flu Spreads

People with flu can spread it to others up to about 6 feet away. Most experts think that flu viruses are spread mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Less often, a person might also get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth or nose.

Person to Person

To avoid this, people should stay away from sick people and stay home if sick. It also is important to wash hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub. Linens, eating utensils, and dishes belonging to those who are sick should not be shared without washing thoroughly first. Eating utensils can be washed either in a dishwasher or by hand with water and soap and do not need to be cleaned separately. Further, frequently touched surfaces should be cleaned and disinfected at home, work and school, especially if someone is ill.

The Flu is Contagious

Most healthy adults may be able to infect other people beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5 to 7 days after becoming sick. Children may pass the virus for longer than 7 days. Symptoms start 1 to 4 days after the virus enters the body. That means that you may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick. Some people can be infected with the flu virus but have no symptoms. During this time, those persons may still spread the virus to others.

Mold Solutions & Inspections

Did you know that we are the 2011, 2012 & 2013 Angie’s List PA Award Winner for Mold Testing, Mold Remediation, Water Damage Restoration, Fire & Smoke Restoration and Bio-Hazard Cleaning.  We are also the 2013 & 2014 Best of Philadelphia Award Winner.  We recently won the 2014 Best Philadelphia Contractors Award from Philadelphia Life Magazine, and we’ve been inducted in the Philadelphia Business Hall of Fame for 2014.
There’s a lot of companies who claim to be the best, but there’s only one that can prove it.

10 Tips to Ease Allergies

Recent mold tests we’re preforming are showing mold counts to be at their highest, over 25,000 in some areas.  With these counts and the recent changes in temperature, here are some tips for ease spring allergies.

1. Check pollen counts.

Before heading out, check the local news or visit the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology’s National Allergy Bureau (aaaai.org/nab) for up-to-date readings. If levels are high, limit your time outside and take allergy medications.

2. Shut the windows.

Good advice for at home and in the car to help keep pollen out. Cool with the air conditioner instead.

3. Move outdoor activities to the afternoon.

Pollen counts are usually highest from 5 to 10 a.m. If you plan to garden, mow the lawn or take on other allergen-stirring chores, wear a mask.

4. Head out on rainy days.

Moisture helps clear pollen from the air. Dry, windy days are more likely to have a lot of pollen.

5. Strip and shower.

After being outside, it’s a good idea to toss your clothes right in the washer and rinse pollen from your skin and hair.

6. Dry laundry indoors.

As nice as the fresh-air smell may be, pollen can cling to your clothes, sheets and towels.

7. Use high-efficiency filters.

They can help keep indoor air cleaner by trapping pollen and other allergens if you use forced air-conditioning or heating systems.

8. Try a neti pot.

Rinsing your sinuses is a quick, natural and effective way to flush out mucus and allergens so you can breathe easier.

9. Run OTCs by your doctor.

Some over-the-counter oral decongestants can cause side effects, including increased blood pressure and insomnia; certain nasal sprays should be used for only a few days. Your doctor or allergist can help determine the best medication for you.

10. Treat early.

Most medications work best if taken before pollen hits the air. Ask your doctor when you should start treatment; some allergists recommend treatment about two weeks before symptoms typically surface.

Always consult with your doctor prior to taking any medication or before following vertain tips which may not be suited for your needs.  Be sure to click here for more info:  AdditionalInfo