Information about mould and mould disease
Fungi present in the house can manifest itself through variety of mould related symptoms. They can be broadly categorised as occupants related or building related symptoms. Mould may not always be visible, in particular if water damage has occurred within wall partitions or sometimes in the entirely different part of the building.
Exposure to mould has been linked to a large number of symptoms included lung damage, tissue damage or toxic mould poisoning. If mould spores are being inhaled for a long periods of time, such as in hidden mould cases, its adverse effect on the body many be serious. Exposure to different mould may results in a range of symptoms due to the effects of various produced toxins. Mould effects and damage they cause is very hard to diagnose due to vide range of symptoms and subtle effect they may have on the body.
Especially sensitive individuals or people exposed to mould for long periods of time can experience increased frequency of sneezing, itching skin, redness and skin irritation, watery eyes, itching eyes or headaches.
If exposure to moulds and mould spores is of high level or the moulds are especially toxic prolong exposure can result in more serious health symptoms including but not limited to: constant headaches, fatigue, respiratory difficulties, loss of appetite, persistent skin rashes, infections, diarrhoea and neurological disorders.
Infections of immune-compromised patients with moulds can have devastating consequences especially if left untreated. These infections are fortunately rare in the developed world. Hospitals and care facilities go into great lengths to prevent exposure of these patients to moulds and strict guidelines are followed in hospital environments. Nevertheless occasional infections occur as the serious symptoms they cause include: blindness, brain damage, memory loss "Long term", bleeding lungs, cancer and death.
Certain groups of people are at particular risk from exposure to moulds such as expectant mothers, very young children, elderly, people undergoing chemotherapy or people recovered from cancer, diabetics, asthmatics, HIV patients, individuals with damage to kidneys, liver or lungs and individuals diagnosed as immune-compromised (immune-suppressed).
Under normal situations houses should not suffer from mould problems. However building often suffers from failures of various types such as:
Any of these problems can, if left untreated, lead to serious mould contamination and damage to the occupants health and damage to building. Some sigh of mould attack are fairly obvious but some can be very subtle or entirely hidden. Occupant may discover that their homes contained by mould only through adverse health symptoms they start to suffer. Some of the sighs of mould contamination are listed below.
The presence of mould can be confirmed by smelling typical mould related odours described as musty, earthy or damp. These odours are released by mould as volatile chemicals. Although these odours are not dangerous by themselves they are indicator of hidden mould problems within the structure of the building.
Moulds usually start to grown in certain places in the house such as around windows, corners of external walls, behind large pieces of furniture and in closed cupboards. The presence of mould in these places shows that the relative humidity in the house is high enough to support the mould contamination. The actual problem with the building may lay in an entirely different part of the building.
White residue of brickwork
Usually white residue on the brickwork is a sigh that water is travelling into the indoor areas through the brickworks. As the water travels through the brick it dissolves mineral which then crystalline on the surfaces of the walls.
Damage to paints or wallpaper
One of the first signs of water damage to the building are slight changes to the rooms wall decorative coatings. You may observe paint or wall paper starting to warp, Small bubble appearing or paint peeling. Carefully observe the wall surfaces and inspect any change you observe.
Water stains are usually one of the more obvious and self explanatory sighs of water damage to the building. They appears usually brown and appear on places where the water penetrates the material( wall, plasterboards) water stains may not however show the place of the original water ingress point because water can travel some substantial distances within the building before showing any signs.
If your property has suffered from flooding or a serious services leak in the past the residual water in the building materials can cause mould to grow in the indoor areas. Property owners may suspect damage to the property which is not there.
Condensation, typically on windows but sometimes on the walls is a sure sign that the water balance in the house is out of order. Condensation will almost always lead to subsequent mould contaminations. Contamination starts on the windows seals and is followed by mould spots on adjacent walls. If your property is suffering from condensation problems the issue should be investigated and resolved before the onset of serious mould contamination and related health symptoms.