Springtime allergies, often called hay fever, are associated with pollens in the air. While true for pollen sensitivities, approximately 25 million Americans sniffle and sneeze with mold allergy symptoms. For allergy relief, they seek over the counter medications or prescriptions from their physicians, but treatment does not work. They are unaware of the need to get rid of the mold in their environment.
When a person breathes in mold spores, the immune system creates antibodies to fight off the invaders and dispose of them. This reaction triggers histamine causing hay fever and wheezing. Visible or not, both mold and mold spores live inside and outside the home. Spores are mold seeds released into the air when humidity and temperature rises, or mold is disturbed. Some individuals do not know they are breathing in mold spores until they get sick. While most reactions are minor allergic symptoms, exposure to mold can also cause serious health problems like chronic bronchitis, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple chemical sensitivity, and asthma.
How to Get Rid of Mold You Can’t See
Mold grows where there is warmth, moisture, oxygen, and something to feed on such as oils, dirt, dust, or skin cells. Since spores ride on the back of airborne dust particles, they cannot be totally eliminated. They can only be controlled by eliminating as much dust and moisture as possible.
Mold spores thrive at 70 to 90 degrees, when humidity is above 50%, but cannot grow and multiply when no moisture or food is available. To get rid of mold spores, spring clean areas where moisture and dust are found. Check:
Bathroom and Basement Mold Removal
The bathroom is a common place to find visible mold. It grows on tile grout, shower curtains, walls, and ceiling tiles. Small problems can be cleaned without professional help. To kill mold, the Asthma & Allergy Foundation recommends using a solution of 50% chlorine bleach and 50% water. There are professional strength mold killer sprays that can also be used. Be sure to wear gloves and a dust mask. Scrub the area thoroughly, until mold is gone. Completely dry the area. If concerned with the health risks of using bleach, substitute powdered borax.
Many people have dirty, moldy basements. The foundation cracks allowing water to seep inside from rain or snows. Pipes leak. Things get wet, but when dry, it smells musty. Mold spores do not stay in the basement. When airborne, they spread throughout the house. So repair any foundation cracks as quickly as possible. Fix leaky pipes, and store everything in moisture-proof containers so they stay dust free.
Home Mold Removal When Problem is Large
For a large problem, like water damage or hidden mold, hiring a professional contractor is recommended. Hidden mold can be found behind:
Mold and Mildew Protection, Moisture and Dust Control
It takes diligence and awareness to get rid of mold. Small projects can be handled by scrubbing away the mold, and keeping the area dry. Good backup protection is a quality HEPA filter that removes mold spores from the air.
For help with humidity, a dehumidifier can be purchased and used when the humidity rises above 50%. Larger mold problems can be dealt with professionally to avoid overexposure to mold spores. There are various products and resources on the market today to help with mold cleanup, but for real allergy relief, the most important resource is prevention.