Sick Building Syndrome? Could Your House Have It?

Homeowners who experience mysterious health symptoms often wonder if their house could have sick building syndrome. This term is used to describe homes, schools and office buildings that cause occupants to become ill. Examining your home for signs of mold growth is one way to determine if your home is the cause of your health problems.

Mold growth can occur anywhere moisture is present. Fungal mold spores are everywhere in our environment and will begin to grow inside our homes if they land on areas of moisture. Mold can grow on non-porous materials such as plastic, tile or concrete or it can develop on porous materials such as carpet or paper. There are several different types of mold that grow indoors but black mold is a common cause of health problems related to mold exposure.

If you are exposed to mold every day, you may begin to have adverse health effects. Mild symptoms include nasal stuffiness, sneezing, itching eyes and skin rash. Those who are sensitive to mold or have respiratory illnesses such as asthma, may have more serious problems from mold exposure. These people often have wheezing, shortness of breath and difficulty breathing. Mold exposure has also been known to cause dangerous fungal infections in people who have autoimmune disorders such as HIV.

Examine your home to determine if you have mold growth. Mold may be easy to see when it is growing on tile in the bathroom but it can be more difficult to spot if it is behind wallpaper or underneath carpet padding. No matter where mold is found inside your home, it must be removed to prevent further health problems. Scrub mold from non-porous surfaces with a hard brush, liquid dish detergent and water. Once the mold is gone, rinse the area with water and dry. Porous materials are difficult to clean when mold growth is present. It is best to remove the material and replace it. If you have asthma or other health conditions, do not attempt to remove the mold yourself. Hire a mold removal specialist to accomplish this task safely.

Once mold is gone from your home, you must repair the source of moisture to prevent it from returning. Minor plumbing leaks are often easy to fix yourself, but major leaks in plumbing pipes should be repaired by a professional plumber for best results. Continued problems with mold growth could be caused by high humidity inside your home. Indoor humidity should remain at 30 to 60 percent to prevent mold growth. Running a dehumidifier can help lower indoor humidity and keep your home healthy.

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