Black mold is not a single species, but actually denotes several different types of fungus. All of them have a dark green to black appearance, hence the name “Black Mold.” The most common species of fungi referred to as black mold is Stachybotrys chartarum. It grows, along with the other various species, in warm, wet places in your home such as bathrooms, kitchens, and basements. They thrive on wood, dirt, and even paper.

How does exposure to these molds affect us?

When black mold begins to reproduce into colonies, it releases mycotoxins, which act as irritants and can stimulate allergic reactions. It is these, rather than the mold spores themselves that cause most of the health problems. They affect your eyes like other allergens would, causing them to become red, irritated, and itchy.

Since mold spores and mycotoxins are released into the air, you do not have to physically touch them to be affected by them. Walking near them may be enough to cause a small reaction on your skin, creating itching sensations as your skin seeks to have those mycotoxins removed.

Respiratory System
Your nose, throat, and lungs may be most at risk from the symptoms of black mold. You may experience mild to severe coughing, wheezing, as well as stuffy nose symptoms.

Danger to those with Allergies
Black molds are particularly problematic to those who suffer from allergies, especially mold allergies. They may experience headaches, coughing bouts during the night, frequent sinus infections, chest colds, and fevers. They may have difficulty breathing and feel exhausted all of the time fighting off the constant attack of mycotoxins. Exposure over time can lead to hair loss, anxiety, memory loss, numbness, stomach pain, light sensitivity, weight gain, and muscle cramps.

Anyone suffering from autoimmune disorders, asthma, COPD, or cystic fibrosis may experience even more severe symptoms of black mold exposure.

What do you do if you think you are suffering from black mold symptoms?
Check with your doctor. They can perform allergy tests to see if you are allergic to mold. They can also do a blood test to see if you have been exposed and suffer from black mold poisoning or other biotoxins. These are simple tests that require only a small amount of blood taken for lab use. They typically treat mold allergens with nasal sprays and rinses, antihistamines, oral medications to reduce mucus production, and occasionally allergy shots. The purpose of most of these medications is to reduce the symptoms you experience when around the mold. The allergy shots are small doses of the mold allergens used to teach your body to fight it off better.

Ultimately, if you are experiencing the symptoms of black mold in your home, you need to contact professional help to clean the mold from your living area. It is nearly impossible to remove all mold from areas that contain any amount of moisture, but they can help reduce it to levels that are much safer and more tolerable for you and your family.