Mold and mildew are a part of domestic life. Anywhere that damp and dank corners exist, such as between leaky roofs and ceilings, in disused garages, or even in poorly insulated homes, mold can propagate alarmingly fast. Mold poisoning is the result of chronic or prolonged exposure to mold, and can have serious or even fatal effects. Mold poisoning is often extremely difficult to diagnose, as oftentimes the sick person is not even aware of mold growing in his or her environment.
The environment is constantly filled with mold spores. Most are harmless and some are even beneficial to humans: yeast, cheese, and penicillin are all products or types of mold. Certain species, however, are toxic to humans and usually are referred to as toxic mold or black mold. If a person breathes in mold spores from a harmful form of mold or mildew, he or she may develop mold poisoning. Generally, the longer the exposure, the higher the chance for severe toxicity, but people with existing respiratory disorders are usually considered to be at a higher risk overall.
Symptoms of mold poisoning are numerous and hard to pin down. Though respiratory problems, such as chronic coughing, constant allergy symptoms, and nosebleeds are common, there are many other symptoms associated with toxic mold. Neurological symptoms, including headaches, memory loss, the development of personality disorders, and vertigo, can all be related to mold poisoning. Rashes are also a common symptom that indicate mold exposure to the skin.
It is often difficult to diagnose mold poisoning, since doctors may be presented with a collection of unrelated symptoms without a discernible cause. People displaying symptoms may simply be told they have a cold or flu, or even accused of hypochondria. Mold poisoning may sometimes be diagnosed through blood tests that measure the amount of certain chemical compounds in the blood, though this is not always an accurate or available method. Often, diagnosis may take months, and may not be definitively found until evidence of the actual mold is presented.
In addition to treating the symptoms, it is important to remove the chance of mold poisoning by reducing the spread of mold and removing mold growth. If several people come down with similar symptoms, it may be important to hire a professional mold removal company to perform an inspection and test samples. If mold is discovered, it may be best to allow professionals to handle the removal process, as chances of dangerous exposure are high without proper respiratory and protective gear.