Is a moldy basement dangerous? Can it make you sick? Yes. Here is a list of health risks of basement mold.
Whenever there’s a moisture problem in a basement, mold issues are never far off.
Mold In Basement Health Risks
Now, the prime conditions for mold growth include moisture, poor ventilation, and dark surroundings. Such conditions are common in basement areas.
With such situations come increased health risks.
This article seeks to discuss the health risks posed by mold issues. If you’re dealing with moisture issues in your basement, you’ll want to read through this article to know the implications of mold growth.
What is Basement Mold?
Tiny mold spores are everywhere around us. In other words, they’re naturally occurring and will readily begin to grow once a suitable condition is found. Moisture is part of such suitable conditions.
Others include low airflow or ventilation and the presence of wet cellulose materials.
Examples of damp cellulose materials targeted by mold include insulation, wallpaper, cardboard, paper products, wood products, and upholstery.
Molds can also grow on ceiling tiles, dust, drywall, fabric among others.
Should One Be Concerned About Mold Growth?
The presence of mold in the basement or other interior locations of a home doesn’t bode well for occupants. First off, it’s a sight of moisture issues that can easily damage the structure.
Any delay in locating or finding the moisture source and treating it can result in significant damage.
This is likely to attract costly repairs. More worrisome are the health risks posed by mold growth. Active digestion goes on wherever you find mold growing.
What results from such fungal growth and activity is what everyone should be worried about.
How Dangerous is Mold Growth To Humans?
One of the first things you need to figure out is how much of a problem you face by having mold growing in your basement. The truth is; you’re exposed to high risks when there’s rapid mold growth.
Such risks are caused by unstable organic compounds, spores, and cell fragments that are released into the atmosphere.
As you inhale these harmful substances, a wide range of health conditions develop. These worsen with increased or significant levels of mold spores released as well as prolonged inhalation.
The resulting heath conditions are due to the presence and action of mycotoxins, allergens, and irritants released by mold growth.
Why Basement Mold is Considered a Health Risk
If you’ve wondered why basement mold is considered a health risk, you’ll need to look at what goes on at the molecular level.
Whenever there’s mold growth, several things happen, cells, unstable compounds, spores, and fragments are released into the air. These in turn give rise to mycotoxins, allergens, and irritants.
Now, persons with high allergic sensitivity are affected the most. Also among the most vulnerable are those with chronic lung conditions, breathing, and asthmatic conditions.
Types of Basement Mold
There are several types of basement molds. Some of the most common include Aspergillus, Cladosporium, and Penicillium.
Others are Stachybotrys chartarum and Alternaria. Although the growth of any mold type shouldn’t be tolerated, not all pose the same level of danger (health risk).
Aspergillus is among mold varieties that can cause significant health issues in humans.
The health condition caused by its presence is known as aspergillosis. Persons dealing with this condition may experience difficulty in breathing, headaches, bloody coughs, and breathing problems.
The Health Risks of Mold Presence
Not everyone will show signs or symptoms of mold-related health issues.
However, those with a weakened immune system are likely to be more vulnerable. If you or any member of your family is having an existing respiratory problem or an allergy, expect the risks to be greater.
How long does it take to get sick from mold exposure?
Persons exposed to moldy surroundings for a significant amount of time are likely to experience all sorts of health issues. These range from allergies, aspergillosis, breathing problems, and inflammatory responses.
In a nutshell, exposure to basement mold never ends well.
Common Health Conditions Associated with Mold Growth
When you discover mold growing in your basement, you’ll need to act fast to remedy the problem to avoid exposure to a wide range of toxins and irritants.
As more mold growth increases, a greater number of spores get released into the air. This leads to greater health risks. Speaking of dangers posed to health, quite a several conditions may develop.
These range from cold-flu symptoms, respiratory conditions, inflammatory responses, and aspergillosis. So, what are these conditions about and how do they affect humans?
Let’s find out.
When exposed to basements with mold growth, one of the first symptoms you’d notice include flu-like symptoms. Such symptoms include shortness of breath, stuffy nose, eye irritation, and skin irritations.
When it comes to such flu-like symptoms, the worst-hit are the young (infants) and the elderly.
Their vulnerability arises from immunes systems that aren’t strong enough. For the elderly, a weakened immune system causes such.
As expected, these health conditions are likely to worsen as long as there’s continued exposure.
Persons with high allergic sensitivity are likely to be most affected when exposed to moldy basements. This affects the upper respiratory tract and results in symptoms that include watery eyes, runny or blocked nose as well as sneezing.
Other symptoms include an itchy nose and itchy throat. For persons with asthmatic conditions, this can be worse when combined with mold allergy. For such, an asthma attack is likely to occur more frequently.
Recall we earlier said that basement mold can easily thrive in dusty environments. With increased dust comes an increase in dust mite presence.
This easily leads to allergic reactions for some persons.
Aspergillosis has been mentioned earlier as a health condition caused by a mold type known as aspergillus. This causes a wide range of health issues based on the type of aspergillosis.
Speaking of types, these include Chronic Pulmonary Aspergillosis and Allergic Aspergillus Sinusitis.
Others include Allergic bronchopulmonary Aspergillosis (ABPA) and Aspergilloma also known as Fungus Ball. Chronic Pulmonary Aspergillosis causes symptoms like difficulty in breathing as well as weight loss and cough.
For Allergic Aspergillus Sinusitis, symptoms include headache as well as nose problems. ABPA symptoms affect the lungs. Such a person may experience difficulty breathing.
In the case of Fungus Ball, vulnerable persons may experience bloody coughs and breathing issues.
Breathing problems are another health risk posed by basement mold.
The toxins released into the air by mold presence also promote the increased presence of dust and other particles in the air. What results is a situation where the throat, lungs, and nose are irritated, thus causing difficulty in breathing.
Inflammatory response to mold growth is common especially among those with allergies. This is due to the presence of microbial agents produced by mold growth.
Vulnerable (those with allergies) persons are likely to have fungal and bronchial infections.
Common conditions include lower respiratory tract issues, hypersensitivity pneumonitis, and allergic fungal sinusitis. Others are bronchitis, chronic rhinosinusitis, and allergic alveolitis.
Narrowing things down
From our discussions so far, it’s evident that having mold growth in a basement is likely to expose you to all sorts of health risks. Such risks are significant for persons with allergies.
You’re likely to experience conditions such as sick-building syndrome, skin & eye irritation as well as mucous membrane irritation.
Others are wheezing, insomnia, fever, headache, fatigue, and nausea. The prospect of experiencing any of these can be scary for anyone. As such, your best bet is to adopt prevention measures.
Mold Growth is a Symptom of Underlying Problems
As stated above, mold growth in your basement is a sign of damp and humid conditions being present.
It’s logical and most ideal to also address the causes why resolving the effects. This type of approach will do help a lot in containing the problem.
So, what causes damp and humid conditions in the basement?
Many factors can be responsible for that. These range from cracks in the foundation, age, and settling, grade of your yard, as well as type of soil around your home. What more?
Leaky pipes could also cause mold growth in your basement.
Cracks in Foundation
Cracks in the foundation are among the primary causes of mold growth in the basement.
This piece of information is important because it enables you to take adequate measures towards resolving the problem. As water seeps in through cracks, it creates damp conditions which in turn lead to mold growth.
Age & Settling
As time goes on, your basement ages and settles. Depending on the type of soil it’s built on, this could be significant enough that it leads to the weakness of the basement.
Certain soil types retain water more and could leak moisture into the structure.
Grade of your Yard
The grade of your yard is crucial.
In ideal situations, it’s supposed to slope outwards to prevent water from collecting close to or around your home.
With an inward slope, water gets trapped against the foundation which results in leaks that get to the basement, thus resulting in mold growth.
Type of Soil around your Home
As mentioned earlier, the type of soil around a home matters a lot.
Certain soil types trap water against your foundation which leads to gradual soaking in of water. Of course, mold growth is a strong possibility when this happens.
If there are leaky pipes and roofs around your home, it’s likely to eventually get to your basement.
Moisture conditions are more difficult to control in basement areas as the water hardly evaporates fast enough.
Adoption of Preventive Measures
There’s no better way of avoiding basement mold-related health issues than by tackling the problem.
Here, the focus should be on the cause. Moisture control is the best approach to consider. You might want to start by having your basement waterproofed.
Have a waterproofing contractor come over for an assessment of your basement. Also, existing mold growth should be treated by cleaning and treating such surfaces.
This two-pronged approach goes a long way to make your basement unattractive to mold.
Now that you know the health risks posed by basement mold, your best bet is to adopt the best preventive measures. With such, everyone is kept safe and your home’s condition improves.
Containing Health Risks Due to Mold Growth
To have any chance of resolving a mold growth problem, you’ll need to seek professional help.
There are moisture and mold control companies that provide mold removal and remediation services. The procedures involved include mold inspection and damage assessment.
Other actions include mold containment, air filtration, as well as the removal of mold and mold-infested materials.
There’s also cleaning of contents and belongings as well as restoration. Of course, you’ll have to move away from the basement area during treatment until treatment is completed.
A lot of homeowners face varieties of structural issues. One of the most common is moisture-related.
Moisture causes a wide range of problems including mold growth among other things.
This leads to further deterioration of affected areas. One of the areas we’ll be focusing on in the basement.
The basement area tends to be worse-hit when it comes to moisture problems.
When this happens, a close inspection is likely to show mold growth around the area. It’s important to note that as long as your basement is damp and humid, it’s ideal for mold growth.
So far, we’ve discussed the health risks associated with mold growth in the basement.
This has led us to look at the causes as well as possible solutions to the problem.