Is Indoor Mold Dangerous?
Updated: Jan 18
If you’ve recently started experiencing a runny nose, watery eyes, a dry cough, or skin irritation, you may be experiencing symptoms of mold exposure.
Whether or not indoor mold is harmful depends on how much exposure you’ve had to mold. Typically a few days won’t affect you, but weeks or months of exposure can have harmful and sometimes long-lasting effects.
If you’re experiencing the symptoms of mold exposure, chances are you’ve had mold in your home for quite some time. But how long does it take to start feeling the effects, and how much mold exposure is harmful?
What symptoms does mold exposure cause?
Mold exposure can cause a variety of symptoms. These include a stuffy nose, red eyes, a sore throat, and wheezing. These symptoms become more severe if you have a mold allergy. People with severe allergies to mold can experience shortness of breath.
For people who are very old or very young, mold exposure can be especially harmful. Individuals with asthma can experience a worsening of symptoms. Those who are immunocompromised may be at risk of fungal infections.
Mold exposure, especially exposure to harmful black mold, is thought to have a toxic effect on the body. There is little evidence to support the idea that exposure to harmful mold spores can cause mycotoxicosis, or mold-poisoning. You’re more likely to experience mold-poisoning if you eat moldy foods.
How much exposure to mold is harmful?
There is no general guideline for how much mold exposure is harmful. The effects of mold exposure manifest differently in each person. For people who have asthma, are allergic to mold, or have weakened immune systems, just a small amount of exposure can be harmful.
Otherwise healthy adults may live among mold for weeks or months and never feel the effects of being exposed to it.
How will I know when I’ve been exposed to mold?
Chances are you may not know right away. Some individuals are so sensitive to mold, they can tell the moment they step into a moldy room. For the rest of us, it can be more difficult to sense. If you, a co-worker, or a family member are experiencing the harmful symptoms of mold exposure, the best thing to do is consult a physician.
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Photo by Nevit Dilmen from WikiMedia Commons