Mould is everywhere; it is inside every building and everywhere outside. Generally it is in small amounts so our immune systems are able to keep us well despite the exposure. There are more than a million different species of mould. Outside spore`s natural habitats include soil, trees, wild mushrooms, straw, dead plants, and other plant life. Mould finds its way indoors from; open windows and doors, our HVAC system, and tracked in on our shoes, clothes and pets. There should be less mould indoors than outdoors since we clean our indoor environments.
Mould is a one or many celled living organism that relies on an external food source. Mould spores are the reproductive ‘seeds’ of mould. A mould spore size is 2 to 20 microns and microns are one millionth of a meter. So if you see a mouldy surface you are looking at millions of spores.
Some mould spores can survive more than 20 years, just waiting around for a suitable environment to start growing and produce more spores. The key ingredient for mould growth is water. Once exposed to water, such as a flood or prolonged high humidity, mould spores will begin to grow within 72 hours if the materials affected are not dried. Preferred foods include wallpaper paste, drywall, paper products, fabrics and wood. Mould releases enzymes which break down and liquefy these materials so that the cellulose is released and the mould can absorb the nutrients across its membranes. It will compromise drywall, wooden studs and attic sheathing materials over time.
Inhalation is the most common route to get ill from exposure to mould. Toxins in mould can suppress the immune system, create skin rashes, impact the nervous system with headaches, dizziness, fatigue, muscle and joint pain, nausea, depression and memory loss, diarrhea and can damage the outer lining of blood vessels.
If people start to sneeze and cough after a water event, it is a likely sign of mould growth. If you see mould growth, call a certified mould removal specialist. They will assess the severity of the situation and remove the mould without contaminating other areas in your house.