Types of Mold – The Good, The Bad, The Toxic

Types of Mold – The Good, The Bad, The Toxic

Types Of Mold – The Good, The Bad, The Toxic

When it comes to mold, many people wonder what types are good and what types are bad. Mold Inspectors of Florida performs inspections of homes and test for this very answer. Many patrons ask for the detailed lab results, mostly concerned about toxic mold. But did you know that mold can be good for you as well?

The world of fungi comprises thousands of species of yeasts and molds. With so much still to learn about their potential, what we do know is not all of these species are toxic. Our goal today is to educate you as a home or building owner to know the types of molds, and danger signs to look for. And finally, we will advise on when to bring in a professional and licensed mold inspector, such as MIOFL.

Good Mold

There are thousands of types of molds, yet when you hear the word mold, most people get scared. However, let’s not forget that there are some molds that are good for us.

Medications

Penicillin is a medication that treats a broad spectrum of illnesses. It originates from the mold Penicillium, which grows naturally on bread and foods. Back in 1928, scientist, Alexander Flemming discovered Penicillin in his laboratory. Flemming found mold from his bread contaminated Petri dishes. The mold began to kill the various bacteria in the Petri dishes he was studying. Flemming’s first name for Penicillin was “mold juice.” Today, Penicillin is a common prescription for most illnesses. The most commonly used is Amoxicillin or “pink medicine.” Amoxicillin is continually used as a safe first antibiotic for most children today.

Besides antibiotics, some molds fall under the “good mold” category for foods as well. Many of your favorite foods rely on fungi to become the product you enjoy in your diet.

Cheese

Cheese production includes the use of a mold. However, the level of mold exposure with this food depends on the type of mold you eat. The highest concentration of edible mold is within Blue cheese, Gorgonzola, and Roquefort. The lowest concentration of edible cheese is within Mozarella, Provolone, and Ricotta.

Mushrooms

Mushrooms themselves are fungi. Most mushrooms are edible, such as Portabello, Agaricus, and Chanterelles. In fact, many cultures consider types of mushrooms, such as Truffles, a delicacy.

Tomato Products

Unknown to many, canned and bottled tomato products use moldy tomatoes. These products include sauces, ketchup, and pastes.

Fermented Foods and Drinks

The fermentation process, in many cases, involves fungi or yeasts and molds. Wines and beers rely on yeasts to create their product. The darker the beer, the higher the yeast or mold content. Same is true for wines. Red wines contain higher mold concentrations than white wines. If you are an allergy sufferer, it’s best to consumer light beers and wines. The higher the mold concentration in your food or beverage, the worse your sinus reaction may be. For beer, choose a Lager over a Stout and for wine choose a Chardonnay over a Merlot.

Bad Mold

Now it’s time to acknowledge the “elephant in the blog”- mold can be dangerous! While we do enjoy some foods that require the use of fungi, other species are a danger to our home and health. Let’s begin with the less dangerous, mildew, and work our way to the highest toxicity.

Mildew

Mildew occurs in many instances and is the least dangerous of all these categories. However, because it can lead to a more dangerous mold problem, we have classified it as a “bad” mold. Mildew is a fungus that contains spores and can cause health risks to any exposed. While most mildew around your home is less dangerous, such as those in the bathtub or on damp clothing. But when exposed to this type of fungi, coughing, headaches, and sore throat may occur. If there is mildew on clothing and worn by individual skin irritation may also occur.

Various Colored Bad Mold

Mold comes in many colors and species, ranging from orange and white to the infamous black mold. Some black molds though, are not considered toxic, just a health risk like any other mold. For molds that fall under this category, health risks include the following:

  • headaches
  • sore throats
  • coughing
  • sneezing
  • shortness of breath
  • cognitive function decrease
  • skin irritations
  • dizziness
  • fatigue
  • and more…

Any mold that lives on a sustainable food source in a home can become a danger. Mildew may grow on damp fabrics, a food source, the likelihood of the mildew causing serious harm is rare. Molds that grow on drywall, floors, subflooring, or HVAC units, can become devastating. These molds will use the material they grow on for food and breed at a faster rate. The spores will also become airborne and travel to new areas of the home. When this occurs, the home can become overridden with mold growth. Mold-induced illnesses can occur in humans and pets. Pet food left in a bowl can also become contaminated by airborne mold spores.

Toxic Black Mold

Stachybotrys Chartarum, also known as the toxic black mold, is the last thing a homeowner wants to see. This mold causes serious health risks, including those mentioned in the previous category. In addition to those health risks, toxic black mold also induces serious symptoms. The length of exposure and the amount of mold present will determine the symptoms that arise. Serious symptoms induced by black mold are the following:

  • Memory Loss
  • Chronic Fatigue
  • Chronic Respiratory Distress
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Confusion
  • Trouble Concentrating
  • Nausea and Vomiting

When To Seek Professional Help

Mold is not a substance that you want to take lightly. Mildew, however, you can easily eradicate at home.

Mildew Natural Remedies

If you choose not to spray a chemical mildew cleaner, there are three natural mold and mildew killers. Two home staple items are natural mold killers: vinegar, and hydrogen peroxide.

Vinegar

Distilled White Vinegar is a natural mold killer for 82% of home mold and mildew species. If you leave your clothes in the washer and a pungent smell develops, that is mildew. Simply pour 1/4 cup of vinegar into the washer basin and run a rinse cycle. Follow this cycle with your regular laundry detergent. This should eliminate any mildew that grew on your clothing.

Alternatively, use a spray bottle should you have any surface mildew growing. Place the vinegar in a spray bottle and spray the affected area. Let it sit for an hour. Remove by cleaning with a wet cloth. The vinegar smell should dissipate over time.

Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen Peroxide is a natural antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral. These properties are what make this product a wonderful addition to home first aid kits.

For natural mildew remedies, hydrogen peroxide application uses a spray bottle as well. It is important to note that it is not recommended for use on laundry, only surface mildew. Spray the hydrogen peroxide onto the affected surface. Let sit for 10-15 minutes, and follow up with scrubbing of the area. Wipe clean with a wet cloth.

Mold

For home and building mold growths, we strongly recommend not tackling the removal. When you suspect mold due to a small contaminated area or symptoms occurring, the mold may be worse than you see. It is always best to bring in a professional to inspect for mold. Chances are when you see one area of mold; it is only the tip of the contamination. Mold grows within the wall structures and foundation of the home. It can also affect the ventilation systems and be unseen without proper equipment.

Mold Inspectors of Florida has the capability to inspect deep building structures. MIOFL offers testing with infrared thermography, air sampling, surface swabs, hygrometers, and protimeters. Our samples undergo lab analysis with a 72-hour turn around time. Our turn around expedites to 24 hours for an additional fee.

When you need to search for or remove mold in the home, a professional is the safest route. Without the proper protective equipment, and inspection equipment, DIY options can be dangerous. DIY options cause unnecessary exposure to health risks and risk of spreading spores.

Contact our office today to set up a mold inspection of your home or office building. Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for the latest mold news in Southwest Florida!

Blastomyces Dermatitidis: What to look for!

Blastomyces Dermatitidis: What to look for!

Blastomyces Dermatitidis: What Is It and Are You And Your Pup Safe?

 

What is Blastomyces Dermatitidis and how can you and dog contract this you ask? For such a strange word, this issue is more common than you think!

The Fort Myers area is full of residents, snowbirds, travelers, and man’s best friend, dogs! In today’s world, we want to be more educated about illnesses than ever. One significant fungal-based disease is Blastomyces Dermatitidis. And while our general focus as a company is about inspecting your home for mold, we want to help educate you as well.

For some mold infections, such as Blastomyces Dermatitidis, there is no commercial test. With symptoms that mimic the seasonal flu diagnosis can be challenging to obtain. This fungal infection affects humans and dogs alike. And today, we will equip you with the knowledge to understand and cope should this illness arise for you.

 

Blastomyces Dermatitidis, What Is It?

 

As aforementioned, this illness is a fungal infection that affects humans and dogs. The fungi originate in the moist soil and leaves near river banks and bodies of water. The reason for mentioning snowbirds and travelers is because of the endemic areas.

These areas include:

  • Ohio and Mississippi River Valleys
  • Great Lakes
  • Saint Lawrence River
  • Canada

The fungi transmit to an individual when a person, or dog, inhales the conidia (or mold spores). Following the inhalation, the spores travel to the lung tissue. Within the lung tissue, the spores germinate into budding yeast, causing respiratory distress. Unfortunately, the fungi will not stop at the lung tissue; it will spread to other systems in the body as well. While some individuals, of both human and dog species, may fight off this infection, others may not. The ability to attack these fungi relies on the affected individual’s immune system.

Blastomyces Dermatitidis lives within the soil and leaves along the water. The breakouts of this mycotic infection only occurs when something disrupts the soil. Camping, hiking, and construction are top disruptions leading to an outbreak.

With construction in the forest areas of our country at a high, the risk of this disease has increased. Campsites also have a higher risk of exposing guests to these fungi, and yet there is no warning given. Many pet owners bring their pets along on hikes and camping trips. Unknowingly, these owners are putting themselves and their pups at risk.

 

Dogs vs. Humans, How Are They Affected?

 

When it comes to Blastomyces Dermatitidis, dogs are more at risk than humans. Both species treatments include antifungals with a good prognosis. However, in dogs, the treatments may become more radical if it becomes systemic.

When a dog begins to suffer from this infection, granulomatous pneumonia begins. In laymen’s terms, this means the canine body is working hard to fight off the infection with immune cells. Unfortunately, when this immune response occurs, the fungi have begun to spread. The systemic dissemination occurs within the eyes, prostate, testes, skin, and bones. It is at this point that canine treatment begins to become more radical than that in humans.

Veterinarians have needed to remove eyeballs or castrate to seize the growing infection. Without treatment, the systemic spread can cause block capillaries (blood vessels). The disease can also cause ulcerations to form within the affected body systems. This radical treatment is rarely needed. And the prognosis for humans and dogs alike is favorable in many instances. Should an individual with a weak immune system, or a child, become infected, the prognosis may be grim.

 

Diagnosing Blastomyces Dermatitidis

 

The incubation period of Blastomyces Dermatitidis ranges from 3 weeks to 3 months.

Diagnosis for canines initially conducted with clinical symptoms. Symptoms include fever, weight loss, appetite loss, coughing, lameness. These symptoms will occur within the timeframe of the incubation period. However, asymptomatic cases are possible, as well. For canines, diagnosis can also occur with cytology or histopathology of the area.

The symptom list in humans is the same as that in canines and remains a means to diagnosis as well. However, humans alternatively can receive a diagnosis through a blood or urine analysis.

 

Treatment And Likelihood Of Contraction

 

Treatment for Blastomyces Dermatitidis is the same for both species: a prescribed antifungal. This type of medication will attack the fungi within the body, similar to that as an antibiotic.  Treatment tends to run long, six months to a year, to eliminate the entire fungi from the body.  It will be assuring to pet owners to know this mycotic infection is not zoonotic. Meaning, this infection will not be contagious between species. If your dog picks up this disease, it is ten times less likely you will contract it as well. Although should you also be walking in the wooded areas mentioned above, you do have a higher risk.

Changing the route in which you walk your dog or hike is also recommended if one of you test positive. Blastomyces Dematitidis is not detectable for tracking the origin. The best solution is to change your routes now that you know the fungi were living on your old course.

 

Conclusion

 

There is no way of tracking the precise origin of this fungi, due to the lengthy incubation period. We do recommend monitoring the areas in which you bring your pet for optimum health and safety. If you frequently travel to the high-risk areas listed above, consider a change in path.

When it comes to mold and mycotic illnesses, health risks seem to be a never-ending list. If you or your pet are experiencing health symptoms, consider a mold inspection. The mold can quickly travel indoors through the wind, clothes, or pet hair. When mold spores enter the home, they can spread rapidly, especially in a Florida home. The climate is optimal for mold growth, moisture, and warmth. Should you or your pet continuously around mold, your health is sure to pay the price. And soon after, your home will begin to show signs of mold damage as well.

Drywall bubbles, cracks, discoloration, and swelling are all signs of mold growth. When mold grows within our Southwest Florida homes, the spread is rapid and dangerous.

At Mold Inspectors Of Florida, we perform detailed mold inspections. Our professional services include air sampling, moisture meters, and infrared thermography, and more. Surface swabs and air sampling tests go under laboratory testing. Reports are ready by 72 hours, or 24 hours for an additional expedited fee.

For a comprehensive mold inspection that gives you peace of mind, call today! Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for the latest mold news in Southwest Florida!