Mold is a sneaky fungus that grows indoors and outdoors. Even though they are part of the natural environment, inhaling mold spores can pose serious health risks. Small amounts of mold might not be harmful. However, large levels can affect humans by causing symptoms that resemble the common cold. Inhaling mold spores also trigger allergy and asthma symptoms.
While mold is a known danger, most people are not sure how long or how much it takes for one to get sick from mold exposure. Unfortunately, this isn’t a one-size-fits-all type of situation.
How Long Does It Take for Mold to Hurt You?
The time it takes for mold to cause health issues depends. Some people react to one-time exposure immediately, others delay, while others don’t develop any symptoms. Individual reactions depend on the following factors;
As mentioned, people react to mold exposure differently. Individual sensitivity to mold determines how fast you will develop the exposure symptoms. If you are allergic to mold, your immune system will immediately react to mold exposure. The immune system may react by triggering a sneeze or nasal congestion. The reaction may occur immediately or after some time.
On the other hand, if you aren’t allergic to mold, your body won’t react to a one-time exposure. However, it may occur after repeated exposure. Again, this differs from one person to another.
- Amount of Mold Exposure
As mentioned, exposure to substantial amounts of mold can cause health issues. You will most likely develop health symptoms sooner if there are large mold colonies in your home. Even then, this is dependent on your body. For some, especially those sensitive to mold, exposure to a small amount is enough to trigger symptoms.
- Duration of Mold Exposure
The duration of mold exposure also greatly matters. Simply put, the longer you are exposed to mold growth, the more mold spores you inhale, which increases exposure. On the other hand, exposure that lasts a few minutes may not trigger serious symptoms. Similarly, note that the level of reaction again depends on individual sensitivity.
Proximity to mold is the other determinant. This is because proximity directly affects the number of mold spores inhaled. For instance, you will most likely develop symptoms faster if you handle mold directly. Activities such as cleaning or carrying items with mold can lead to direct contact. You should avoid touching mold directly if you are sensitive or allergic to mold.
Symptoms of Mold Exposure
Symptoms of short-term mold exposure include;
- Nasal irritation, congestion, or sinus
- Red, itchy, or watery eyes
- Trouble breathing
- Sore throat
- Asthmatic attacks for those with asthma
Long-term exposure to mold spores may trigger the following symptoms;
- Chronic sinusitis
- Risk for upper and lower respiratory system symptoms
- Development of mold sensitivity
- Asthma in children
While people react differently, children, pregnant women, old people, and those with chronic respiratory issues are more likely to get sick from any form of mold exposure.
Removing Mold from Your Home
The best way to avoid mold exposure is to ensure that there is no mold in your home. Apart from working with a mold remediation expert, the following tips can help;
- Inspect all places where mold lurks, such as in the basement, under sinks, and bathroom walls.
- Look for water leaks, water seepage, and visible mold growth
- Dry moist, or damp surfaces
- Promptly fix leaky roofs, pipes, and other leaks
- Keep your bathroom, laundry room, and kitchen well ventilated
Mold can cause serious health issues in some people. You should see a doctor if any of the symptoms mentioned above persist. Homeowners should always be on the lookout for symptoms of mold exposure, such as black or white spots, musty odor, and grout discoloration.