One of the most dangerous fungi that can take root in your home is called black mold. Known by the scientific name Stachybotrys chartarum, black mold can take up residence in your home’s materials after they are exposed to moisture. Black mold spores primarily take root in materials like sub-flooring, carpeting, and drywall. When inside these materials, the fungus spores feed on the organic materials they find inside.
Even breathing in these spores can result in a wide range of symptoms for humans and pets. If you find black mold in your home, it’s time for some aggressive home improvement. Here’s what you need to know about black mold.
You need only breathe in the spores of black mold to begin experiencing negative symptoms. These symptoms can range from mild to genuinely dangerous, depending on the number of spores you’re inhaling. The most common symptoms people feel are respiratory in nature. These can include coughing and sneezing, itchy eyes, rashes, fatigue, and headaches. In these milder cases, the symptoms can be mistaken for seasonal allergies, or the common cold or flu.
In more severe cases, black mold can cause serious health issues. If someone has repeated, prolonged exposure to black mold, they could develop symptoms like bleeding of the nose and lungs, vomiting, and other signs of respiratory distress. If you discover black mold in your house, you need to immediately take steps to get rid of it.
The first thing you need to do is determine if what you’re seeing is really black mold. Usually, in more minor cases, it can be hard to tell where the mold is, exactly. There are DIY mold testing kits that you can use to find out what the spore count in your home is. Once you find the mold, you have a few options.
If the infestation is minor, you could clean it with something as simple as common, household bleach. In more serious cases, you might need to use commercial products designed to eliminate mold, like fungicide.
In particularly extreme cases, you might need to contact professionals to enact mold remediation. Professionals can excise infested sections of sub-flooring or drywall, and have access to robust forms of fungicide that can root out even widespread black mold infestations.
Once you’ve gotten to the bottom of the problem, you can try to ward off future invasions by using a dehumidifier in particularly damp parts of your home. Prevention is better than treatment, after all!