Ritchie Shoemaker, MD, author of Surviving Mold: Life in the Era of Dangerous Buildings, defines Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome as:
“an acute and chronic, systemic inflammatory response acquired following exposure to the interior environment of a water-damaged building with resident toxigenic organisms, including, but not limited to fungi, bacteria, actinomycetes, and Mycobacterium as well as inflammagens…”
Mold, Shoemaker says, is everywhere, and chances are, you’ve been exposed to mold at one time or another. It can be on your shower curtain, under your sink, on your roof, and even, as one study found, in your Christmas Tree – indoor air quality was found to drop six-fold over the 14 days a Christmas tree typically decorates a room.
So what should you know about mold? Here are the five most common types of harmful indoor mold:
- Alternaria: Commonly found in your nose, mouth, and upper respiratory tract; can cause allergic responses.
- Aspergillus: Usually found in warm, extremely damp climates, and a common occupant of house dust; produces mycotoxins; can cause lung infections.
- Cladosporium: This very common outdoor fungus can find its way indoors to grow on textiles, wood, and other damp, porous materials; triggers hay fever and asthma symptoms.
- Penicillium: Very common species found on wallpaper, decaying fabrics, carpet, and fiberglass duct insulation; known for causing allergies and asthma; some species produce mycotoxins, one being the common antibiotic penicillin.
- Stachybotrys: Extremely toxic “black mold” that produces mycotoxins that can cause serious breathing difficulties and bleeding of the lungs, among other health problems. Thankfully, less common in homes than the other four, but not rare; found on wood or paper (cellulose products), but NOT on concrete, linoleum or tile.
And here are 11 symptoms of mold-related illness:
- Brain Fog, Memory Problems, Trouble Focusing, Headaches
- Fatigue and Weakness
- Unexplained Muscle Cramping, Aches, and Pains or the Joints, Persistent Nerve Pain
- Numbness and Tingling
- Eye Problems like Red Eyes or Light Sensitivity
- Asthma and Sinus Problems like Cough or Shortness of Breath
- Tremors and Vertigo
- Digestive Issues like Change in Appetite, Diarrhea, Nausea, Abdominal Pain
- Metallic Taste in the Mouth
- Temperature Regulation or Night Sweats
- Excessive Thirst and Increased Urination
While it’s true mold is everywhere, all mold needs moist conditions to grow. Tracing mold back to its source then, always means finding where water is entering your home. So where should you look? The first place to start is with your roof. Most water leaks, in some form or another, always begin with your roof. After all, it’s the first layer of protection, and if water seeps through your roof, it can go anywhere in your house.
Stopping mold then, starts with stopping leaks. And this often requires the help of a licensed professional roofing contractor who can inspect your roof for leaks, address any areas of water intrusion and plan solutions to stop mold where it starts.
This article is brought to you by ASAP Roofing, a national roofing company that specializes in hail damage, weatherization, and roofing restoration. ASAP has offices in Dallas, Texas, and Denver, Colorado.