For many people, exposure to mold can cause medical symptoms such as nasal congestion, wheezing, irritation of the eyes and skin, and more severe allergic reactions. Indoor exposure to mold is often associated with the development of asthma and other respiratory illness and allergies. In individuals with pre-existing respiratory conditions, mold exposure can lead to worsened symptoms and the risk of mold infections in the lungs.
Mold can be found in virtually every environment. Outdoors, molds are often found in damp, shady areas or in places where vegetation is decomposing. Indoors, they can be found in areas with high humidity levels, such as showers, basements or other areas with low ventilation.
Individuals can decrease their exposure to mold by avoiding areas likely to promote mold growth, such as wooded areas and compost piles. Indoors, individuals can reduce mold growth by keeping humidity levels low. Installing fans or air conditioning units can improve ventilation and reduce humidity, particularly in cooking areas, bathrooms and basements. Homeowners should avoid installing carpet in humid areas, such as bathrooms or basements, as this can promote mold growth.
If mold in an affected individuals' home, workplace or school is making them sick, they should seek medical attention, notify the property owner and contact their local health department to learn more about guidelines and regulations regarding mold.