Molds are fungi that can be found both indoors and outdoors. Mold poisoning can have hazardous effects on your health, which is why a test can be performed to detect the presence of mold spores, as well as extent of mold infestation, so that you can take appropriate remedial steps. This article provides information on the various ways to test for an infestation.
Mold infestation inside the house is a common problem in rainy areas. Besides, houses which get flooded or waterlogged due to drainage problems, are also at high risk of getting mold infestations. The toxic black mold variety called Stachybotrys chartarum or S. atra is hazardous to human health. The infestation starts as moldy growth under carpets, behind wallpapers, and inside the insulation, and it quickly spreads to the rest of the house. If the growth is not controlled in time, it could adversely affect the interiors. Besides, your own health may get impaired to a great extent. In order to prevent the growth, measures need to be taken to reverse the effects. There are some tests which may help in early detection of the growth.
Mold presence is often detected by its characteristic musty smell in the dark and moist places of the house. It thrives on organic material and grows rapidly. This fungi is often not visible to the naked eye. However, you can rely on the smell as a test for its presence. Alternatively, you can also rely on below tests for the detection:
If you suspect a possibility of the growth of this fungi inside your house, you can test the surface. The possible surfaces where it is likely to grow are under the carpet, behind drywall, wallpaper, inside the insulation, on kitchen cabinets near the sink, or other areas that are damp and dark such as basement. Surface testing kits are also available in the market. All you have to do is scratch the surface with a Q-tip, and then dip it in a chemical solution (included in the kit). The solution changes its color, if the mold is present. This is a good way to test invisible mold, before it grows enough to be spotted with naked eye.
You can surely depend upon your olfactory senses to detect the presence of the fungi in the air. However, often the quantity is not sufficient to give out a typical smell. In that case, you can test the air to check if any fungi spores are present. You can choose one of the air testing kits that are available in the market. These kits are available in various price ranges. So, in case you plan to test the whole house, you might want to invest in a more economical product.
Toxic mold syndrome is a serious health condition characterized by variety of symptoms such as nose bleeding, sore throat, runny nose, abdominal pain, fever, personality disorder, numbness, dizziness, etc. The symptoms of the poisoning are not specific to this condition alone, hence there is often a delay in diagnosing it. Generally, people experience sickness but they are never able to trace the cause to this fungi. Besides, physicians may also not relate these symptoms. However, black mold affects the nerve encapsulation called myelin, which may prove detrimental to a person’s health.
A blood test can detect the possibility of the exposure to this fungi. Presence of antibodies such as IgE and IgG, can ascertain the possibility of the exposure. However, they are not enough to indicate the level of poisoning. In such cases, you may have to test for the levels of biotoxins present in your body. More biotoxins indicate greater extent of mold exposure. Since the blood tests are not common, not all laboratories perform it. Besides, the insurance does not provide a coverage for the same. A proper treatment can be suggested to overcome the problem.
If a mold poisoning test comes out negative but you still suspect infestation, you might want to call a professional to diagnose the problem. This should help you eradicate the fungi before it manifests into a greater problem.