Mold is a problem in Houston. And unfortunately, many of its residents are not aware of the harm it can bring to the family.
The problem with mold is that it can manifest inside your home, the place where you should feel most secure. If you’re lucky, you could part of the group of people who have mild reactions to mold exposure.
However, some individuals exhibit severe reactions. Infants and the elderly are more likely to be affected.
It’s common for people to manifest allergic reactions to mold. An estimated 10% of Americans are allergic to mold. And half of them are susceptible to actual illness.
The worst part is that these people are probably unaware of what they’re allergic to much less what mold exposure symptoms to look out for.
To fight the problem, it’s best to arm yourself with knowledge. If you’re a Houston resident, you should have an idea of the types of molds that can grow inside your home.
Today, you’ll learn about the five most common types of molds in Houston, their characteristics, origins, and effects on the body. More importantly, you’ll learn how to get rid of them.
Below are the most common mold types in Houston homes.
1. Stachybotrys Chartarum
- Also referred to as Stachybotrys Atra
- Known for its greenish-black color
- Grows on materials that have high cellulose and low nitrogen content
You can find this type of mold can on fiberboards, paper, dust, and lint. Its growth is encouraged by moisture. If you have suffered from water damage or flooding, your home becomes the perfect environment for Stachybotrys Chartarum to prosper.
It can also be caused by excessive humidity and condensation.
Once the fungus becomes airborne, victims could suffer from coughing, runny nose, wheezing, or irritated nose and eyes.
Those who are allergic to mold or have asthma could are likely to show more severe reactions.
If exposed to a large amount of this mold, you could develop fever or shortness of breath.
- Grows indoors and outdoors
- Thrives in wet or damp areas of the home
- Could appear as brown, black, or green spots
Cladosporium is a type of mold that can look inside and outside your home. It doesn’t affect all humans but can cause an allergic reaction or trigger asthma to a select few.
Just like Stachybotrys Chartarum, they like to grow in areas where there’s excessive moisture.
Expect to find them on air registers, wallpaper, cabinets, floors, carpets, and even fabrics. Outside, you’ll see them on dead trees, in the soil, or by the window frame.
If you’re allergic to Cladosporium, you will suffer from watery eyes; coughing; sneezing; dry skin; itchy eyes, nose, and throat; or postnasal drip.
In severe cases, you’ll experience tightness in your chest, which will cause difficulty in breathing.
- Most active during the Autumn and Winter months
- Found in places like air conditioning systems, hay, or compost
- The primary cause of a medical condition called Aspergillosis
Our immune system can handle aspergillus. So, most people could breathe the fungus in and not see adverse effects on the body.
But for those with a weakened immune system or battling lung disease, aspergillus can be problematic. It can lead to a condition called Aspergillosis.
There are different types of Aspergillosis. Their symptoms can range from coughing and fever to weight loss, chest pain, and coughing of blood.
In cases when the infection spreads to other parts of the body, the victim can experience different symptoms. In this case, at-risk individuals must take antifungal medication.
- Most active in the Spring and Fall
- Commonly found outdoors (but can enter homes)
- Seen as brown and black mold spots on leaves
Alternaria likes dry, windy conditions. This is also an airborne fungus. And when they enter a house, it will look for a moist environment where it will turn into mycelia. Only then will you be able actually to see the mold.
If dead plants, grasses, or soil surround your home, then it’s possible to have Alternaria growing in your backyard.
But once inside, expect to find them in the common spaces: carpets, air conditioning units, on your wallpaper, and window frames.
Again, those with a weak immune system are the most likely candidates to suffer from this mold’s harmful effects. Symptoms include sneezing, dizziness, fatigue, coughing, and sore throat.
- Are usually blue-green (though they can also be white, yellow, or pink in some cases)
- Got a powder-like texture
- Has a strong, musty odor
You can find Penicillium in soil, decaying plants, and rotting fruits. But should it find its way into your home, it will live on the wallpaper, carpet, paint, and moist areas.
It can also thrive in leather goods.
This mold can grow on food, as well. And if you consume food that has penicillium on it, it poses a health hazard. You must get rid of food you think has been contaminated.
If inhaled, you could suffer from sinusitis, coughing, and shortness of breath.
What to Do With Your Mold Problem
If you suspect that you have a mold problem, you should get help immediately. Otherwise, things could get much worse in no time flat.
Your next step should be to get a mold inspection to assess the conditions for mold growth and have testing done to assess the types of mold that are present.
But a word of warning:
Never get a free mold inspection.
There are plenty of drawbacks to free mold inspections. It will only do you more harm than good. You may not have spent money, but you will have wasted your time.
Instead, get the opinion of a bonafide expert — even if you have to pay for the inspection.