What is Black Mold?



What is black mold? It’s a type of fungus, officially known as Stachybotrys chartarum. Black mold exposure can lead to many health problems and in fact, many consider this type of mold to be toxic. Black mold is typically black in appearance, as you might have guessed. Sometimes it appears white around the edges. There are scientific tests that can be done to determine what type of mold you are dealing with, as there are many types of mold that may look similar to black mold but have different or fewer health risks.

Health Problems Tied to Black Mold Exposure

Numerous health problems have been tied to exposure to black mold. However, not all experts believe black mold causes all of these problems, and it can be difficult to determine exactly what has caused certain health problems, so it’s not a simple issue. Health problems that have been tied to exposure to black mold include:

  • Respiratory problems like wheezing, asthma attacks, difficulty breathing and coughing.
  • Infections, including sinusitis, bronchitis and pneumonia.
  • Allergy symptoms, including sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes and sore throat.
  • Skin symptoms, including dermatitis and hives.
  • Mental symptoms, including depression, difficulty concentrating and short-term memory problems.
  • Fatigue.

If you have symptoms you think may be related to black mold exposure, you should see a physician. Some primary care physicians may not be very familiar with what is black mold and you may need to see a specialist, but start with your primary care doctor. Let your doctor know you’ve been exposed to black mold and suspect that might be causing or contributing to your health problems.

Reducing Black Mold Exposure

While you may need medical treatment for your symptoms of exposure to black mold, treatment will not be effective if you continue to suffer exposure to mold. Black mold can be found in many different places inside a home, primarily in locations where there is excessive moisture. Bathrooms, basements and attics are commonly affected. Mold can also grow under carpets, inside walls and inside heating and air conditioning ducts.

In order to effectively treat health problems caused by exposure to black mold, every trace of mold must be removed from the home. If you remove most of what is black mold but miss a little bit, that little bit can grow and spread, and while your health symptoms may initially begin to improve, they will soon get worse again. Some people prefer to handle mold removal on their own, while others prefer to hire a professional for the job. If you’re experiencing health problems related to mold exposure, we recommend hiring a professional so you are not further exposed to the mold during the cleanup process.

You’ll also need to make sure that the conditions that led to the development of mold in the first place are corrected. For instance, a leaky roof must be fixed or mold will begin to grow in the attic again.

Treating Symptoms of Black Mold Exposure

The proper treatment for symptoms of exposure to black mold varies depending on which symptoms you experience, the severity of your symptoms and other factors affecting your health. For instance, infections like sinusitis, bronchitis and pneumonia are typically treated with antibiotics, usually oral antibiotics prescribed to be taken at home. However, people with respiratory or immune system disorders may require hospitalization and high-powered intravenous antibiotics. Treatment of infections may also be complicated by allergies to commonly-used antibiotics. Some symptoms will clear up without treatment once you are no longer exposed to the mold, but others will require medical treatment.

Why We Suggest Calling a Professional to Discuss Mold Removal

A qualified professional will:

  • Offer a free consultation in which he or she will inspect your home and let you know the extent of the problem.
  • Be familiar with what is black mold and know how to find all of the mold in your home, even that in hard-to-find places.
  • Advise you about how to remove the mold yourself if you decide to handle it on your own.

Follow this link to find a mold removal professional near you.



More than what is black mold on our black mold sickness page

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