Mold Spores In Air And Health Issues

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Mold spores are tiny structures produced by molds for the purpose of reproduction, i.e., they are “seeds” but unlike the plant seeds mold spores do not contain a preformed empryo.

Health Effects Associated With Mold Spores

Mold spores

Mold spores

Mold spores are common in household and workplace dust. Also, due to their light weight, mold spores are often floating in the air both outdoors and indoors. Inhaling mold spores may cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. Allergic responses include hay fever-type symptoms, such as sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and skin rash (dermatitis). Allergic reactions to mold spores are common. They can be immediate or delayed. Mold spores can also cause asthma attacks in people with asthma who are allergic to mold.

We breathe in mold spores and fragments every day, indoors and outdoors. Usually these exposures do not present a health risk. However, health problems may result when people are exposed to large amounts of mold, particularly indoors.

In about 20 percent of people, the immune system overreacts and causes the allergic response resulting in symptoms such as runny nose, scratchy throat and sneezing. Most of us know this allergic illness as “hay fever” or “allergic rhinitis.”

If you have an allergy that never ends when seasons change, you may be allergic to mold spores. Allergic symptoms from outdoor mold spores are most common in summer.

How do I get rid of mold spores

It is impossible to get rid of all mold spores indoors; some spores will be found floating through the air and in house dust. However we can reduce the amount of spores in our homes by controlling mold growth. The mold spores will not grow if moisture is not present. Therefore, indoor mold growth can and should be prevented or controlled by controlling moisture indoors. If there is no mold growth indoors then the only source of spores would be outdoors. Spores originating from outdoors may not be in amounts that would present a health problem. If there is mold growth in your home, you must clean up the mold and fix the water problem. If you clean up the mold, but don’t fix the water problem, then, most likely, the mold problem will come back.

Common Allergy Causing Mold Spores

Although there are many types of molds, only a few dozen are known to cause allergic reactions. Alternaria, Cladosporium, Aspergillus, Penicillium, Helminthosporium, Epicoccum, Fusarium, Mucor, Rhizopus and Aureobasidium are the major culprits. Some common mold spores can be identified easily in a laboratory when viewed under a microscope.

Mold spores Release

The spores can be actively released or passively released depending on the type of mold. The release of spores is also influenced by environmental conditions. Some spores are released in dry, windy weather. Others are released with the fog or dew when humidity is high.

Air Sampling For Mold Spores

Indoor air sampling for mold is important for several reasons. Mold spores are not visible to the naked eye and the only way to determine whether the air is contaminated and the types of mold present is through laboratory analysis of the air samples. Having air samples analyzed can also help provide evidence of the scope and severity of a mold problem, as well as aid in assessing human exposure to mold. After mold removal, new samples are typically taken to help ensure that the amount of airborne mold spores has been successfully reduced.

Air samples can be used to gather data about mold present in the interior of a house. Samples are taken using a pump that forces air through a collection device which catches mold spores. The sample is then sent off to a laboratory to be analyzed.

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Dr Jackson Kung'u
Dr. Jackson Kung’u is a Microbiologist who has specialized in the field of mycology (the study of moulds and yeasts). He is a member of the Mycological Society of America. He graduated from the University of Kent at Canterbury, UK, with a Masters degree in Fungal Technology and a PhD in Microbiology. He has published several research papers in international scientific journals. Jackson has analyzed thousands of mould samples from across Canada. He also regularly teaches a course on how to recognize mould, perform effective sampling and interpret laboratory results. Jackson provides how-to advice on mould and bacteria issues. Get more information about indoor mould and bacteria at
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