Like other allergens such as dust, pollen, dust mites, fur, and smoke, mold spores should not be in the air. If you are inhaling air that has too many of these spores, you could suffer different allergic symptoms.
So yes, mold spores are dangerous. In high quantities, mold spores can cause sinusitis a runny nose, teary eyes, rashes on the skin, persistent coughs, breathing issues, and more. When you start to experience symptoms similar to a pollen allergy, and it is not pollen season, you have too many mold spores floating in your indoor air.
But first things first …
What are mold spores?
These are the reproductive cells of the different types of mold. They are minuscule, so you cannot see them floating in the air. You can see dust, fur, and smoke particles, but you cannot see the mold spores.
Because of their small size, they spread easily from one room to another. That is how mold can spread from the source, for instance, the basement, kitchen, bathroom, or closet, to other rooms in the house.
In the same way that dust mites thrive in high humidity, so do the mold spores! Therefore, you need to keep an eye on the humidity levels inside your house. Keep that basement dehumidifier with hose running every week, if necessary.
Mold spores do not die, even when you have dry air in the house. Rather, they just land on surfaces, and stay dormant for many months. When the conditions are right in the future, they will start forming new colonies in your home.
Thus, when you suspect that you have this allergen, use an air purifier to remove the mold spores. If you have mold colonies, call a fumigation company so that it can destroy the mold using heat.
You can also apply vinegar on mold to kill it, but if it is matured, it will already have released spores into the air.
What happens if you breathe in mold spores?
Different people can experience different things when they inhale mold spores. It all depends on how healthy, or unhealthy, one is.
What happens if you are healthy
If you are healthy, well, there is really not much to worry about. Your body will identify this fungus as an enemy, and your immune system will kick in to destroy the mold spores.
However, if you are healthy, and you are continually exposed to them, you could start to show mold toxicity signs.
You will also experience a runny nose, coughing fits, and breathing problems. However, these symptoms should pass as soon as your immune system is done dealing with the invader – the spores.
When the mold spores come into contact with your skin, it could react to them. The skin becomes itchy, full of rashes, and shows other signs of allergic response.
What happens if you are unhealthy
In people with a weak immune system, mold exposure illness symptoms can be drastic, especially in children, seniors, and people with respiratory illnesses.
If you are asthmatic, inhaling these spores is going to provoke asthmatic attacks. Since your immune system is already weakened, your body takes longer to fight the spores. Thus, you could experience prolonged coughing and breathless feats.
When you inhale the spores, and you have weak immunity, your airways become inflamed. This is how you experience breathlessness. Even healthy people experience coughing and breathlessness, but not to the same degree as unhealthy people.
Inhaling mold spores can cause aspergillosis
While many strains of the Aspergillus mold genus are harmless, some are harmful to your health. While they are not as bad as the dangerous black mold, they are still a serious health concern for people, especially those with weak immune systems.
Again, the severity of aspergillosis symptoms depends on how healthy, or unhealthy you are. For instance, if you can experience serious lung infection, or you can get mild respiratory problems.
Aspergillus is the most common indoor and outdoor mold. Thus, if its spores find their way into the humidifier, you can experience humidifier lung sickness symptoms.
Thus, even as you remove mold from your indoor spaces, you should not forget the humidifier. Being in a constant supply of water all the time, black mold can grow in the humidifier.
Because mold matures fast if the conditions are right, as you can see in the post on mold growth chart, in as few as 48 hours, the mold in the humidifier will start producing spores.
The spores will then find their way into your indoor air through the mist that the humidifier blows into the room.
If you inhale this air, you will be breathing in the spores, and they will lodge in your lungs to give you infections.
You will know that you have aspergillosis if you notice symptoms such as coughing blood, fever, or acute asthma attacks.
Just how harmful is mold exposure?
So far, we have already established that mold exposure is harmful to your health. For this reason, always lookout for mold in your home, and get rid of it as soon as possible.
Mold exposure is dangerous to toddlers, and people who have compromised immunity. It is notorious for causing aspergilloma. This condition comes when you inhale mold spores, and they stay inside the lungs, attacking its tissue.
It is best to avoid exposure to mold altogether, rather than find out when it is too late. Also, some people are more sensitive to allergens like mold. Such people will experience symptoms like itchiness, runny nose, and teary eyes.
Also, if such a person has asthma or another respiratory illness, they will experience these symptoms of mold spores exposure more severely. Even when there is minimal mold growing in the freezer, it can affect them badly.
How do you permanently get rid of mold spores?
A place like Florida has high humidity throughout the year. Therefore, most people living there have to contend with high humidity. Of course, high humidity causes the growth of mold, which releases spores into the air.
The best thing is to prevent the mold from invading your home in the first place. However, since this allergen can be too elusive, you can still stop mold spores from spreading.
Follow the steps below:
1. Stop the mold from growing in your home
This is the best thing you can do to prevent mold spores from invading your air. First, you need to know the conditions under which mold grows. And then you have to prevent it from growing.
Mold grows at 60 percent humidity or higher. This is why I always advise my readers to keep their indoor humidity level between 30 and 50 percent.
There is not much that you can do about high humidity outside. However, you can control the humidity level indoors.
I have a standby dehumidifier, which has a built-in humidistat. Since I keep it plugged in all the time, it starts automatically when the humidity level surpasses 50%. It works even when I am on vacation with my family.
One thing I have found out – a dehumidifier stops the spread of mold spores. By keeping the humidity low, it prevents the growth of mold.
2. Use air purifiers with HEPA filters
An air purifier gets rid of musty smell caused by mold in your house. But it can also do much more than that by getting rid of mold spores that float in the air.
In fact, air purifiers with HEPA filters are so good, such that they capture mold spores. You can use one to get rid of these spores permanently.
If you have any doubts, look at it this way… the smallest mold spore is about 1 micron in size. Now, a HEPA filter can capture particles as small as 0.3 microns!
Remember to clean and replace the air purifier filters in the recommended timespan. If you do not, they will not remove the spores from the air.
3. Improve airflow in your home
To improve airflow in your house, start with the following things:
- Improve the ventilation
- Make sure your AC is working
- Open the windows
- Use exhaust fans to remove damp air
Ventilation is usually overlooked, yet it plays a very important role in keeping the indoor air in your home fresh.
Ventilation in a room without windows pushes the stuffy, spore-laden air outside, and allows fresh air to flow in. You also need to open the windows so that more fresh air can flow inside.
One thing you should remember … outdoor humidity affects indoor humidity. Therefore, allowing air from outside to come in might keep your dehumidifier working longer and harder.
Wrapping it up
Whether you are the healthiest person on the planet, or not, you really do not want this invasive allergen in your indoor living spaces.
The more your immune system has to work to ward off attacks, the more recovery time you need. But the spores will not give your body time to rebuild its immunity. As long as you keep inhaling them, they will keep affecting your health.
Therefore, the only option available is to get rid of the spores, and cleanse your indoor air completely. This is especially important if you have a family member who has asthma, bronchitis, or any other respiratory illness.
The good thing is that it is possible to arrest the problem, and prevent the spores from spreading around, using the tips we’ve shared here.