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What is Mold?

Mold is classified as a fungi that can grow both indoors and outdoors. It thrives in an environment that contains moisture and organic materials like oxygen, water, wood and nitrogen. Naturally, all of our common household things contain these materials, when your plants shed leaves, they release nitrogen, while your living plants release oxygen, and when you take a shower, you create moisture. All of these things are the perfect recipe for mold build up. Mold can thrive in almost any environment.

 

If left unattended, mold can be a very persistent pest that grows rapidly. Mold spreads through the release of spores into the air. Once a spore lands, it begins to build another colony of mold. This forms a chain reaction where multiple colonies are simultaneously releasing spores, landing, and forming new colonies. While airborne, these spores can trigger allergic reactions and asthma attacks. Mold appears in many different forms, it can present itself as fuzzy, gritty or slimy, and manifests itself in many different colors including black, orange, yellow, green, grey and white. Sometimes it can be hard to differentiate which molds are harmful from those that are not harmful. Here at ATKO Construction, we are experts at identifying the cause of an outbreak. ATKO technicians are trained to spot and remove mold infestations thoroughly.



Is Mold Harmful?

Many people are allergic to mold, we are surrounded by air and once that air is contaminated with mold spores it can irritate the skin, and breathing passages if inhaled. In some cases, mold spores can cause allergic reactions including but not limited to a steady runny nose, sneezing, itchy eyes, skin rashes, eczema breakouts and shortness of breath. 

 

Mold spores can provoke serious health ailments, especially in children. Studies show that children under the age of 7, with developing minds and immune systems who were exposed to mold, had a higher risk of developing asthma. Since the immune system of a baby is just beginning to be developed, prolonged mold exposure has been known to lead to an increased risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). 

 

 

5 Most Common Household Molds

Alternaria is known for being a pathogen among its host. It appears as a brown spot that slowly eats away at it’s target. This fungi can be found on produce, houseplants, furniture, clothing, usually beginning in the walls and traveling to other areas of the home. Alternaria develops virtually anywhere moisture can be found, and is usually a sign of water damage in your home. Side effects of Alternaria mold depend heavily on the condition of the mold and as well as the amount of exposure someone has had to Alternaria mold. Symptoms of mold illness acquired from Alternaria can be difficult to spot since their side effects mirror those of the common cold. More extreme cases of mold illness can lead to difficulty breathing including shortness of breath and wheezing. This mold can also cause hives and serious rashes for people who have sensitive skin.

Fortunately there are plenty of ways to prevent this fungus from infesting your home. Immediate solutions involve properly ventilating your space so that accumulated water has a chance to evaporate properly. A dehumidifier can prove itself to be a huge help, reducing the humidity in moist areas, such as your basement. However this does not prevent already established Alternaria mold from spreading. In this case, repairing air and water leaks, as well as mold remediation of the infested rooms are necessary.

Stachybotrys or black mold, is another common household mold that’s often found in bathrooms. It prefers to grow on fiberboard, gypsum board, and pretty much any material containing paper like properties. Similarly to how you might catch an illness from ingesting raw meat, inhaling black mold spores can cause an illness called Mycotoxicosis. Mycotoxicosis affects people and pets, causing symptoms like chronic fatigue, skin rashes, and nose bleeds. In worse cases Mycotoxicosis can jump start ADHD, dementia, depression, parkinsons, or cancer. 

The Aspergillus mold is usually fuzzy in texture and transitions in color beginning as white fuzzy specks, then turning green, and finally developing into brown black or yellow as it grows. Aspergillus mold is a species with over 185 variations all differing in color, texture, and level of harm.

Some species of Aspergillus, when inhaled, will take root in the body and begin to grow in organs, causing an infection called Aspergillosis. Symptoms of Aspergillosis include: fevers and chills, hemoptysis, shortness of breath, chest pains, joint paints, headaches, eye irritation, and skin lesions. After conducting a mold test, if it’s a less threatening version of Aspergillus, and in a small controlled area, you can probably fix your mold issue with a splash of rubbing alcohol, a tough sponge, and normal house maintenance. If you find that you’re housing a more dangerous version of Aspergillus you should call a mold professional immediately.

Cladosporium is a common household mold that appears in small bundled colonies of spores. It is usually a combination of black, yellow, and a dark green in color and is often dismissed as a collection of dust. Cladosporium is most commonly found in basements, beneath sinks, in attics, and near heating and cooling appliances. Although it’s not very pleasing to look at, this mold surprisingly does not cause disease in humans. However, people who have sensitive skin, or are already predisposed to issues like asthma, can experience skin and throat irritation, eczema flare ups, and asthmetic symptoms. If the mold is in a small controlled space, it can usually be removed with vinegar, clorox, or an antifungal solution.

Acremonium is a very common household mold typically found growing behind paint or wallpaper. This mold can appear as pink, grey, orange or white and has a smooth, powdery texture. If gone untreated, Acremonium spores can spark the growth of alternate mold species’ within your home. The presence of this mold is not something that should be taken lightly. Prolonged exposure to this type of mold can lead to organ, immune, and bone marrow disease. Acremonium is a known carcinogen, it’s structure interacts with human DNA in a way that’s likely to promote the formation of cancer and impair brain function.

Mold Spores Begin to Grow 48-72 Hours After Water.
ATKO Technicians are Available for Emergency Response 24/7 

How to Prevent and Eliminate Mold Infestations

The best way to prevent mold infestations is maintaining a dry and well ventilated household for you and your family. Make sure that your pipes, sinks, toilets and any other installations capable of leaking are checked for leaks and moisture regularly. This of course helps you prevent mold, but isn’t very helpful if you already have mold. Mold comes in millions of forms, and it can be difficult to tell them apart. If you have mold in your home you should discontinue using the mold infested room and contact a mold remediation company immediately. At ATKO construction we are specialists in water and mold damage. Our expertise will help restore your property back to its original state quickly and thoroughly.

Once you know what kind of mold you have, you can proceed with mold remediation. This is a process where a trained mold specialist thoroughly combs through your home removing mold and restoring your home. Mold can be tricky to remove on your own, especially if you or a member of your household has health problems. This relentless fungi hides in floorboards, behind wallpaper, and under furniture. Attempting to remove mold in a nonprofessional manner can disturb the mold causing it to release fresh spores. For this reason we do not advise that you remove mold by yourself. Mold should only be handled by a trained mold specialist with proper apparel and tools. At ATKO, we use a negative air pressure chamber to isolate the affected area without causing further damage to your home. ATKO specialists are thorough, diligent, tidy, and most importantly, we’re fast. Mold multiplies quickly, making infestations a nightmare. It’s presence isn’t good for you, your children, pets, or the structure of your home.

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