Many patients have concerns about mold as a cause for their symptoms, such as cough, as well as chest and nasal congestion. In Central Pennsylvania, at this time of year, our homes have been closed up and have less ventilation. We are exposed in a more concentrated way to the dusts, allergens and molds present in our homes. I thought I would pass on some facts about molds for your general knowledge.
The term “mold” refers to a large number of fungi, only some of which are known to produce disease. There are about 100 varieties of mold that have been found to be hazardous to human health, but only a small fraction are found in common indoor environments. The color of a mold is not indicative of its disease-causing potential. Molds can be yellow, green, black and colorless. Mold growth occurs most often when there has been water damage.
It is important to note that there are no specific federal limits on mold concentrations in the home environment. Home inspections and sampling are not economically worthwhile unless the patient has a disease, which could be related to a mold, and if tests show the patient is sensitive to the mold. Diseases that can result from mold sensitivity include asthma, hypersensitivity pneumonia, allergic rhinitis (nasal inflammation) and in rare cases, certain types of bronchial and lung infections.
Home sampling can be complicated and expensive. There are simple ways to remove and remediate the presence of mold in the home. Check the internet.