Dana Anhalt spent her childhood under medication, and things got worse over time. At 37, Dana couldn’t walk or use her hands. It was such a huge problem for her as Dana is an artist.
Every part of Dana’s body was affected. Her joints were aching, and Dana had so many symptoms that she even stopped counting them.
What was wrong with Dana? Her diagnoses included Common Variable Immunodeficiency (CVID), Lyme disease and Mast Cell Activation Syndrome. However, doctors found out that the main problem was located in her home. Black mold.
Dana’s body was unable to recognize the black mold and the chemicals as foreign substances. This triggered an inflammatory response and pain.
The danger of black mold
Experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explain that black mold can be dark green, gray or black. It’s official name is Stachybotrys chartarum (or Stachybotrys atra or Stachybotrys alternans), and it grows on surfaces with high cellulose and low nitrogen content (wood, paper, dust and lint).
Moisture triggers the growth of black mold. Water damage may be caused by excessive humidity, leaks, condensation or floods. The provides good environment for mold.
The black mold may be a slimy matter with mildew smell. Keep in mind that not all molds with black color are actually black mold.
The prevalence of black mold
Black mold isn’t as common as other types of mold, and experts can’t really tell how common it is. A study conducted in the US found that black mold grows in six percent of 1,717 buildings. Here are some more numbers. According to this percentage, black mold grows in 1 in every 16.7 buildings. These buildings may be homes, schools or even hospitals.
The toxicity of black mold
Some molds produce mycotoxins, but the mold itself isn’t poisonous. Dana’s problem was a rare case.
Mold has an important role in decomposing matter, and it grows everywhere. However, if your home or office is exposed to excessive water damage, you may be exposed to unhealthy levels of mold.
Low levels of mold may not harm healthy people. This doesn’t apply to patients diagnosed with autoimmune diseases, infants and pretty much everyone who deals with immune issues.
Black mold is usually unnoticed
Black mold may have a musty smell and it’s usually visible. Most people don’t react to mold, but some deal with allergic reactions and symptoms like rash, flu-like signs, and asthma.
Dana had terrible symptoms that got worse due to her genetics. Most sufferers deal with fever-like allergies. People with respiratory and immunological diseases end up struggling with lung infections.
Scientists have already confirmed the link between mold exposure.
Here are some other symptoms of black mold exposure:
- Respiratory symptoms, such as cough, wheeze, asthma-like symptoms
- Allergy-like symptoms, such as sneezing, itchy/runny nose, congestion, dry skin or rash
- Other symptoms related to immune issues
Do allergy tests or skin prick test and get your home and office evaluated for mold. You can also do a blood test to determine the number of mold antibodies in your body.
Prevent black mold
There are some things you can do to prevent any serious damage and minimize mold in your home:
- Watch out for high humidity levels (below 50, but 35 percent is ideal); You can get a dehumidifier to determine the percentage
- Ventilate your home using exhaust fan
- Remove standing water from your home and make sure your carpets and furniture are always dry
- Take care of water leaks
- Use filters in the central air conditioning and change them often; These filters trap mold spores and help those dealing with asthma and allergies
Removing all mold is impossible, but you can keep it under control.
Pay attention to your risk
Dana had to leave her home and her belongings. You may not have the same symptoms as Dana, but prevention is the best cure, right?