That musty indoor smell could be mold
Unfortunately harmful molds like Aspergillus can hide in your home
October 14, 2019
There are literally thousands of types of molds that come in a variety of colors. Mold can be difficult to spot as it can be the same color as the material it grows on. Mold grows on literally anything because the food source for mold can be dust. Mold needs moisture to grow so when searching for mold look for moisture/wet sources such as plumbing, roof and foundation leaks. Keep in mind high humidity can also be the source of moisture. Seasonally damp crawlspaces and attics create incubation zones ideal for mold and spore growth. Bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans are notorious for causing big problems in attics due to condensation and frost building up during cold outdoor temperatures.
Any organic material can become food for mold if moisture is available. Interesting, mold can go dormant and dry up similar to moss on your roof but quickly reactivates as soon as moisture becomes available. For this reason, many homes have seasonal problems with mold. Basement carpets with the fiber-back jute is always high on the suspect list when looking for the source of that musty smell. Another important factor is decomposing/moist wood which is excellent food for mold, this is why poorly designed homes can be vulnerable to mold brought about by seasonal moisture. This is not limited to basements and attics but can be found wherever moisture is present including interior and exterior walls.
Mature molds load indoor air with spores increasing exposure issues inside buildings.
Aspergillus is a very common type of mold but some types can prey on individuals with a weakened immune system.
Infants and the elderly can have severe reactions to some types of Aspergillus for this reason.
Aspergillosis is an infection caused by a type of mold. The illnesses resulting from aspergillosis usually affect the respiratory system, but their signs and severity vary greatly.
The mold that triggers the illnesses, aspergillus, is everywhere — indoors and outdoors. This may be why many individuals get sick during extended periods of wet weather. Most strains of this mold are harmless to healthy adults, but a few types can cause serious illnesses when people with weakened immune systems, underlying lung disease or asthma due to inhaling their spores.
In some people, the spores trigger an allergic reaction. Other people develop mild to serious lung infections. Kids often develop issues with mucus as their bodies work to expel the on slot of spores. The most serious form of aspergillosis — invasive aspergillosis — occurs when the infection spreads to blood vessels and beyond.
Depending on the type of aspergillosis, treatment may involve observation, antifungal medications or, in rare cases, surgery.
Certain chronic lung (pulmonary) conditions, such as emphysema, tuberculosis or advanced sarcoidosis can cause air spaces (cavities) to form in the lungs. When people with lung cavities are also infected with aspergillus, fungus fibers may find their way into the cavities and grow into tangled masses (fungus balls) known as aspergillomas. Aspergillomas may produce no symptoms or cause only a mild cough at first. Over time and without treatment, however, aspergillomas can worsen the underlying chronic lung condition and possibly cause:
- A cough that often brings up blood (hemoptysis)
- Shortness of breath
- Unintentional weight loss
What to do
– See your doctor
– Find/ remove the source of mold/moisture
– Get professional help for airborne spore testing/ sourcing the problem/removal