Let me define what is mold first, I think that is the best approach. Mold is a type of fungi that thrives on living matter, both plants and animals. Mold needs humidity to grow and its reproduction is possible through spores. Mold grows both indoors and outdoors. The spores of mold travel through air and when they land on a damp surface they start growing and multiplying.
Mold often looks fuzzy, smudge like or discoloration. The most common molds are green, black and white. There are many other colors too and that depends on the age or the stage of their growth
Structure of Mold
Molds consist of long, branching filaments of cells called hyphae. Molds are part of the natural environment and play an important role by breaking down and digesting organic material, such as dead leaves. They are classified neither plants nor animals. They only belong to the kingdom, fungi.
How does mold differ from yeasts?
Molds are classified with yeast and mushrooms. The major difference between yeast and mold is that mold is multicellular filaments of the fungi whereas yeast is a unicellular type of fungi. Yeasts are microscopic fungi that reproduce by budding or asexual reproduction. But under stress conditions they can produce spores. Molds on the contrary grow by apical extension of hyphae.
Reproduction of Molds through Spores
Molds reproduce through their spores. These spores are very tiny; microscopic. Their small size makes them easy to spread through water and air
Why mold grows indoors during winter?
During winter, there is enough moisture and dampness in the environment. Therefore, molds generally grow in basements, and in the areas with less ventilation, in closets or even on furniture. Molds produce musty smell and damage to walls and floors. In addition to hideous looks, molds are health risk. During extreme winter if the temperature is below zero, mold goes inactive. When the temperature rises again mold starts growing and scattering. Mold spores love cellulose to grow. The truth is we can not stop spores entering our homes. But we can keep our environment clean and healthy
Here are some damp areas of our homes, where mold most likely grows
- Damp kitchen walls due to condensation
- Showers curtains and mats
- Leaky roofs and walls
- Broken pipes
- Damp laundry
- Kitchen cabinets
- Wooden floors
- And storage areas
How does mold enter our living areas?
Mold is everywhere and it’s impossible to evade it entirely. Nevertheless, the good news is that the mold in low density is not harmful. By low density is that kind of mold, still not visible to the naked eye. Once it gets visible, we have to remove it. The spores of mold can enter through doors, windows or even ventilation systems. They attach themselves to our dresses, pets or vehicles and stay invisible
How far mold is potentially harmful?
Mold can trigger sneezing, cough, wheeze, respiratory infections and nasal congestion. A person with asthma can feel his condition worsened after coming into contact with it. Also immunocompromised people may be at risk of fungal infections. For very old or very young people, mold exposure is potentially fairly harmful. The health problems of prolonged mold exposure include as under.
- Severe asthma (mold does not cause asthma, just makes it severe)
- Weakened immune system
- Respiratory infections
- Skin rashes
Mold can harm our respiratory system
Mold spores are poisonous and inflammatory. Mold harms the respiratory system by causing inflammation in the mucous membranes. Our bodies react by sending antibodies to the inflamed areas, increasing the pressure and inflammation.
Does mold grow in old homes only?
No, mold does not grow only in old homes. The source of mold spores is not age dependent of the place. A house of any age can develop mold. The damp and moldy environment may cause some health issues. Some people are sensitive to molds, especially those already having some respiratory conditions. Prevention is always better than cure.
Damp and closed environments help mold to grow
In homes mold usually develops after water damage and then the surface is left damp. It is best to fix leaking pipes and dry wet areas. We must regularly check the dampness, make it dry and clean it. These days we can use air purifiers to remove mold spores from the air.
There are 11 most common types of molds. Only few are threat to our health.
- Stachybotrys chartarum
- Serpula Lacrymans
What is aspergillosis and what it has to do with molds?
It is an infection or allergic reaction caused by molds. Aspergillus fumigatus is the type of mold that is most likely to cause aspergillosis in certain people when they inhale mold spores.
Who are the victims of aspergillus mold ?
Aspergillus mold is not harmful to the people who have normal immune system. That means majority among us will not fall ill due to its exposure. only people with weak immune system or people with respiratory problems maybe at higher risk for developing infection. Especially, persons who are going under chemotherapy or those who had organ transplant have weakened immune system. It is estimated that about 10 % of people with asthma or cystic fibrosis experience an allergic reaction to aspergillus
How can we reduce the formation of mold at our places?
The easiest and direct solution is we must not provide moisture to mold ‘s growth. We should keep rooms dry and ventilated. Not all mold is visible but it has specific smell. Mold damages the surfaces. The moment you notice or smell it, take action to remove it. You must wear gloves and protective clothing, mask and keep the place ventilated when you are removing mold. Use detergent and warm water to wash the moldy places. After the surface dries, use bleach. Repeat this process three times. Vinegar is also good to clean mold from surfaces
Mold and mildew, what is the difference?
Mildew is a certain kind of mold that usually grows flat on a surface. While molds are all species of microscopic fungi that grow in the form of multicellular filaments, called hyphae. Mold grows and spreads into porous material and causes substantial damage. Molds exhibit darker colors such as black and green. Molds are often fuzzy in concentration; mildew is often white, gray or brown. Mildew is less toxic than mold. Mildew has dry smooth and papery look, while mold can be even slimy. Again, vinegar is found rather effective surface cleaner, both against mold and mildew.
I hope you enjoyed reading this post. Molds are very common and natural but we have to keep them away from our homes. While it is nearly impossible to avoid contact with molds. Anyone with compromised immunity should try to stay away from places where they are most likely to encounter mold. Such places can be construction sites, lawns, compost piles and storage buildings for grains. To keep our places clean and to stay healthy, we need to identify types of molds and prevent their growth