Many of us have heard warnings about black mold being dangerous. The concern is real and any exposure to this material should be avoided as much as possible. The growing mold appears in a range of colors from dark green to black and can be one of a number of different species of fungus; the most dangerous being Stachybotrys chartarum, or S. chartarum. This mold produces trichothecene mycotoxins. Black mold is toxic, can survive for extended periods of time, and is difficult to kill.
Mold tends to grow in warm, damp environments. If the humidity dries out after a mold colony has taken hold, then the mold will die. In this state, it appears to be a light gray color. Unfortunately, S. chartarum spores and the dead fungus all contain the same dangerous mycotoxins as the living form. Mold likes to grow on cellulose from trees. This same material is present in many common household products, including wood beams and dry wall. If continuous exposure to humid conditions exist in a home, then black mold is likely to grow. Once the mold is established, it can be difficult to remove.
Black mold exposure can cause a series of related symptoms, including coughing, wheezing, nasal congestion, red or itchy eyes, sore throat, and nosebleeds. Contact with mycotoxins is especially dangerous for people with respiratory conditions such as asthma. It can worsen these conditions and cause difficulty breathing, persistent coughing, and fatigue. Those having a compromised immune system and children are at a higher risk of serious side effects from exposure to black mold.
Prolonged exposure can cause more severe health effects. Chronic exposure to black mold can cause symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and bleeding in the lungs and nose. In rare cases, exposure can lead to severe symptoms beyond respiratory conditions, which include anxiety, memory loss, and difficulty concentrating.
Someone suspecting exposure to mold can get diagnosed using a blood test to detect antibodies produced from reacting to the mold. The usual treatment to resolve symptoms includes over-the-counter antihistamines and decongestants. Steroids may be prescribed to address inflammation and rashes.
Treatment will involve preventing future mold exposure as much as possible. In addition, sensitivity to mold can be improved through immunotherapy. Taking allergy shots over time can increase a person’s tolerance to mold and make them less susceptible to severe reactions upon future exposure.
It is important to minimize the adverse effects of exposure to mold by removing it as soon as possible. The process will depend on where the mold is found and addressing the conditions that allowed it to grow. Commercial products can kill mold and help prevent it from returning. A simple solution of bleach and water is also helpful in destroying mold. To prevent mold, keep areas dry and check for water leaks or damage. Use exhaust fans in damp areas and keep rooms warm and well ventilated during cold weather.
If you have been exposed to black mold or other toxic materials, you may be entitled to compensation to cover medical expenses and more. Contact one of our experienced Georgetown toxic mold lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. for a free consultation by calling 302-656-5445 or complete an online form. Located in Wilmington and Georgetown, Delaware, we serve clients throughout Dover, New Castle County, and Sussex County.