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There’s a widespread belief that black mold can be fatal and cause severe health problems because it releases toxic substances into the air. With its ominous color, it’s easy to associate it black mold severe medical conditions and other grim situations. Many wonder, can black mold kill you?
Here’s the short answer: black mold isn’t likely to kill or make otherwise healthy individuals sick. This is because not everyone is at risk of developing mold-related concerns. Others may experience inconvenient symptoms, but some may not even show a single sign of exposure.
However, this doesn’t mean that you should ignore black mold concerns in your home or commercial property. All molds can present various issues when left unchecked and allowed to multiply. It can be helpful to dig a little further into researching black mold and the possible health problems it brings to keep yourself and your loved ones safe.
What Is Black Mold?
Black mold is a type of mold called Stachybotrys that typically presents itself as black spots and splotches. Attracted to moisture, it grows on damp materials with high cellulose content, such as wood, drywall, and gypsum board. It can also produce airborne spores containing toxic chemicals, which is why many believe it is dangerous to human health.
Is Black Mold Dangerous?
Stachybotrys gained its reputation for being dangerous and even lethal in the early ‘90s. Eight infants from Ohio living in homes with severe water damage and microbial contamination became ill between January 1993 and December 1994.
All developed a life-threatening condition called idiopathic pulmonary hemorrhage, and one died. This case led many to believe that black mold could kill, but scientists were unable to connect black mold exposure to the infants’ illness and death.
Still, mold can cause symptoms in the following at-risk individuals, especially with prolonged exposure:
- Infants and children
- Pregnant people
- Older adults
- People with allergies or chronic respiratory conditions
- People with weakened immune systems.
It’s also worth noting that, contrary to myths about “black mold poison,” Stachybotrys isn’t any more dangerous than other types. All molds can produce toxins and pose health hazards to individuals exposed to them.
Symptoms of Black Mold Exposure
As mentioned earlier, not everyone will develop mold-related problems after exposure. Moreover, individuals who do experience them will experience different symptoms and severity. Here are some of the common issues that can arise from mold exposure:
Individuals with allergies may be more sensitive to mold and may experience the following:
- Blocked or runny nose
- Dry cough
- Sore throat
- Watery or red eyes
- Skin rashes
In rare, severe cases, mold allergies can lead to hypersensitivity pneumonitis. This is an immune system disorder affecting the lungs and causing symptoms like the following:
- Coughing that lasts for weeks or months
- Shortness of breath
- Progressive weight loss
Those with healthy immune systems may not necessarily have to worry about getting mold infections. However, individuals with HIV, transplant patients, and those undergoing chemotherapy are at risk because of their weakened immune systems.
Mold infections can cause fever, night sweats, cough, shortness of breath, sinus symptoms, and dark scabs on the skin. While these infections are rare, they are often life-threatening and must be treated early.
Complications From Prolonged Exposure
While black mold cannot kill or make most healthy people ill, prolonged exposure to high levels of contamination in a home can be unhealthy for anyone. Over time, prolonged exposure can cause health issues such as:
- Increased risks of respiratory problems
- Chronic sinusitis
- Development of mold allergy
- Legionnaire’s disease
- Organ damage
Protect Yourself and Your Loved Ones From the Dangers of Mold Exposure
Stachybotrys may not be as deadly as myths make it out to be, but it can make people sick just like any other mold. No matter the type of mold you have in your home, it’s best to treat them all the same. Consult your doctor promptly if you believe you’re experiencing symptoms of mold exposure. Most importantly, hire mold inspection services to catch contaminations before they become life-threatening.
Take the first step today to keep yourself and your loved ones safe. Restoration 1 of Chicago North Shore offers professional mold inspection and remediation services to make your home safe and healthy again – just the way it should be. Contact us today to get started!