If you’re a homeowner, then there’s nothing more stressful or scary than to think that you might have mold growing in your home.
The only thing that makes mold growing in your home worse is the possibility that it could be black mold.
Just the thought of this element existing in your home might send shivers up and down your spine.
While mold is unsightly and emits an unpleasant odor, it can also have serious impacts on your health. Black mold is considered to be the most dangerous but other molds can also contribute to health issues.
You’ve probably heard about the horrible effects that mold can have, and it causes a lot of people to ask, “Can mold kill you?”
We’ll answer that question in-depth here. First, we’ll start with the short answer so you know what you’ll learn. Then, we’ll move onto the detailed answer as well as some ways to prevent mold exposure in your home.
Can Mold Kill You? (Short Answer)
Yes, mold can kill you. However, it’s not the mold itself that causes death, but the mycotoxins that mold releases. This element is what makes black mold dangerous, as it has high levels of this deadly chemical. But, even if mold doesn’t kill you, it can still wreak havoc on your health.
One of the best ways to keep mold out of the air you breathe is by using an air purifier. Check out our best air purifier for mold guide to find out more.
A More Detailed Answer
Now, before you totally lose your mind and start frantically searching your home for any indicators of mold growth or consider putting your house up for sale, it’s important to understand how mold can kill you.
Mold and the Environment
The truth is that mold can be found everywhere, including in your home. Its preferred environment is warm, humid environments, so places like Florida and other southern U.S. states have a lot of this fungus.
Mold has an important function in nature, and its job is to break down organic materials so that they become part of the life cycle. For example, mold will break down rotting logs so that the nutrients can enrich the soil and contribute to the growth of new plants.
Of course, just because it’s natural, that doesn’t mean you want it in your home. However, the chances are pretty high that you already have it somewhere in your house, but you may not see it or smell it—yet.
Mold spores are everywhere, and they travel on air currents and breezes. Thus, if you open your windows or doors, you may be letting the spores in. When you walk outside, mold spores can get caught on your clothes or shoes, and you can bring them into your house this way.
How Mold Kills You
Mold is incredibly prevalent and occurs naturally. Most of the time, you may not even realize that you’re being exposed to mold spores, and it may have no impact on you. For some, they may have a mild allergy to mold, and when it’s present, it could have an impact on their respiratory system. This could make the person more susceptible to sinus infections or lung issues.
But, can mold kill you?
As mentioned in the Short Answer section, it’s not the mold you need to be worried about, it’s the mycotoxins. Like the mold itself, mycotoxins are a natural part of the fungus, but they can cause a lot of health issues, and could even lead to death. The mycotoxins that are released by black mold are what make this mold so incredibly scary—and deadly.
How Black Mold Mycotoxins Impact You
The mycotoxins from black mold impact you in a very particular way. They attach to your brain’s neurons and reduce your mental capacity. They can cause mood swings and tremors, in addition to other neurological issues.
Black mold mycotoxins also have an impact on your immune system. When you inhale them, they lower your ability to fight off infections. As your immune system becomes more compromised, germs and bacteria have a larger impact on you. Thus, if you were to contract a cold, your body wouldn’t be able to fight the virus, and this could lead to a more serious infection and potentially death.
The longer you’re exposed to the mycotoxins from black mold, the bigger the impact it has on you. In time, as it destroys your immune system and damages your brain, it could also shut down your organs. Eventually, this will lead to death.
Preventing Mold in Your Home
The thought of mycotoxins from mold being able to kill you is a scary one. What makes it worse is the fact that mold is an abundant, natural element. While you may not be able to get rid of mold completely, there are things you can do to reduce the chances of it growing in your home.
Take Care of Leaks and Watch Humidity Levels
Mold grows best in moist, warm environments. Thus, to prevent it from growing in your home, you need to ensure that these conditions don’t exist. Fixing leaky pipes or adding a dehumidifier to your basement can help in that endeavor. Running your exhaust fans while showering and cooking can also reduce the amount of moisture and humidity levels in your home.
Add an Air Purifier
Mold grows when spores find a place to land and establish themselves. Since they can float on the air, adding an air purifier to your home is beneficial. Finding one that has a HEPA filter and a UV light will ensure that mold spores get trapped or destroyed.
To find out more, check out our best air purifier for mold guide to find reviews on the top models available.
Keep Your House Clean
Mold spores can also be brought into your home on your clothes or shoes and get trapped in upholstery or carpet fibers. Cleaning your home on a regular basis is the best way to remove these items from your space.
Common Questions About Mold
How Do You Know if Mold is Making You Sick?
You know if mold is making you sick when you experience any of the following symptoms: headache, sore throat, runny nose, coughing, sneezing, watery eyes, and fatigue. If you have asthma, a rise in asthma attacks can occur. If you have an impaired immune system, serious infections can start happening.
How Much Mold Exposure is Dangerous?
Prolonged mold exposure is when mold becomes dangerous. Like with any airborne contaminant, the longer you’re around it, the more your body is affected by the pollutant. If you start experiencing strong allergic reactions to mold spores (coughing, sneezing, nausea, or vomiting) then you’re reaching dangerous levels of exposure.
Is it Dangerous to Breathe in Mold?
It’s dangerous to breathe in mold only when you’re exposed to high quantities. Or, if you’re having strong allergic reactions to it. You breathe mold in every day since it’s all around us, but it’s only when you’re breathing in toxic mold spores in a confined space that it becomes most dangerous.
What Can Mold Do to Your Body?
Mold exposure can do a lot of things to your body, including nasal stuffiness, throat irritation, coughing or wheezing, eye irritation, skin irritation, nausea, vomiting, respiratory infections, fatigue, and more. It’s best to protect your body against mold by keeping mold spores counts down inside your home.
What Type of Cancer Does Mold Cause?
Mold doesn’t cause cancer per se, but it has been linked to pulmonary fibrosis (PF), which is scarring in your lungs. And the longer you have PF, the more likely you are to get lung cancer. Therefore, mold doesn’t actually cause cancer but it can lead to the development of it.
Summary – Can Mold Kill You?
The answer is yes, the mycotoxins from mold can kill you.
Here’s a recap of what this article taught you:
- Mold is an incredibly common, abundant natural element that grows best in warm, humid environments.
- Mycotoxins in mold, especially black mold, can have a negative impact on your health and could potentially kill you.
- It’s impossible to completely get rid of mold, but getting rid of moist, humid environments, adding an air purifier, and keeping your home clean could reduce mold growth in your home.
Now you know the answer to the question, “Can mold kill you?”