Water can damage a home or other building in many ways. Rotting wood, electrical short circuits and permanent stains are just a few of the more commonly experienced problems. However, one of the largest health risks caused by water damage is mold. Mold is a type of fungus that thrives in moist environments. Mold can live off a variety of natural materials such as wood, drywall paper and cotton fabrics. Mold can even grow on man-made materials while feeding on dust and other debris in the air.
Some mold is relatively harmless to human health. However, the spores that mold produce can act as an allergen to many people. For health people, mold spores may be nothing more than an annoyance. However, those with asthma, COPD and other respiratory illnesses, mold spores can make their medical problems worse.
When a person breathes mold into his or her lungs, the mold can cause an illness similar to pneumonia. The mold can begin to grow in the lungs. As the mold grows, it begins to block air from being processed through the lungs. The blockage makes it difficult for a person to breathe and restricts oxygen in the body. In severe circumstances, mold can actually enter the bloodstream and grow throughout the body. If left untreated, mold in the lungs can be fatal.
People commonly use the term ‘toxic mold’ but mold itself is not toxic. However, some molds create toxins that are dangerous to both humans and domestic animals. Inhaling or ingesting the mold toxins can make a person sick. Symptoms range widely but mold toxins can cause flu like symptoms including fever.
Though some amount of mold is always present in the air, no one should live or work in a building with growing mold. After a water event, it is important to have a professional water damage restoration company properly inspect, dry, treat and replace building materials as needed.