6 Most Common Mold Impact on Human Health

We all know mold is bad. Well, except the one found in blue cheese. But we’re not talking about that. Indoor mold, the one that grows in damp and poorly ventilated areas within our home, can cause negative health effects among humans and animals. This is why mold removal is so important. Take note that mold affects people differently so you may or may not experience any of the various health effects. But it still pays to be aware of the possibilities, right? We’ve listed the most common health effects of mold below.


Mold Allergy Symptoms

As we’ve already mentioned, mold affects people in different ways. Some people are sensitive to molds. If you are allergic to mold, exposure to mold can cause you to experience any of the following signs and symptoms:

  • sneezing
  • runny or stuffy nose
  • itchy eyes, nose, and throat
  • coughing or wheezing
  • postnasal drip
  • watery eyes
  • dry, scaly skin

mold allergies and asthma

Some severe allergic reactions include flu-like symptoms, skin rash, and even severe respiratory disorders. In fact, some studies suggest that exposure to mold during childhood can increase the severity of allergy symptoms and may lead to the development of asthma.



Speaking of asthma, a study in 2004 conducted by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) found that indoor exposure to mold can lead to asthma symptoms in people with asthma. It also showed that susceptible individuals have a higher chance of developing asthma when exposed to indoor mold. In addition, certain molds can cause individuals with asthma to suffer a severe attack which includes coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness.

Take note that being allergic to one type of mold does not mean you are allergic to all. Also, not everyone will develop asthma when exposed to mold. However, if your family has a history of allergies or your work exposes you to mold (i.e. farming, logging carpentry, baking, dairy work, furniture repair), the risk is much higher for you. The same goes for individuals living in a house with high indoor humidity (more than 50%) or with poor ventilation.



Mold does not only cause respiratory problems in humans. Certain types of mold can cause illnesses. Aspergillosis is a mold that mostly infects individuals with compromised immune systems. The infection occurs when an immunocompromised individual inhales airborne Aspergillus spores. Another type of mold that can cause an infection in the Blastomyces dermatitidis. Inhalation of these mold spores can cause a lung infection. This type of infection is most commonly found in the eastern half of the United States.

Another type of mold that can cause a virulent infection is the Histoplasmosis capsulatum. This type of mold is actually found in bird and bat droppings that are located in humid areas. If the soil where the droppings are located become disturbed, the mold becomes airborne. Once inhaled, the spores grow as a yeast in the body. While this infection is not typically serious, especially in healthy individuals, those with compromised immune systems may develop serious or even fatal infections. Because Histoplasmosis capsulatum is an outdoor mold, individuals who work in soil such as farmers and landscapers are more likely to develop this infection. Also, within the US, Histoplasmosis capsulatum is most commonly found in the Ohio and Mississippi River valleys.


Does Mold Cause Nasal Congestion?

Yes, it can if you have a mold allergy. As we’ve already mentioned, the symptoms of a mold allergy include nasal stuffiness as well as sneezing, a runny nose, and itchy, watery eyes. If you find yourself experiencing hay fever-like symptoms long after the first frost or all year-round, it may be caused by a mold allergy.


Does Mold Cause Tuberculosis?

While there have been many advancements in the field of medicine, tuberculosis remains a serious public health concern in many countries. And no, mold does not cause tuberculosis. At least, not directly. Inhaling mold spores will not cause you to develop tuberculosis. What it can do is weaken your immune system and leave you vulnerable to infections. Once you have a weakened immune system, you are more likely to get tuberculosis compared to someone with a healthy immune system. Prolonged exposure to mold increases the rates of infection.


“Toxic Mold Syndrome”


Toxic mold syndrome” is often associated with black mold exposure. However, that’s not entirely true. Different kinds of molds can have negative effects on your health, one of them is the dreaded black mold. Certain types of molds, called toxigenic mold, produce mycotoxins. Mycotoxins are non-volatile toxic chemical compounds that the mold spores release when they reproduce. Take note that not all mold species can emit mycotoxins. Those that do (like the black mold), however, can be very dangerous to living cells. Long-term exposure, even at very low levels, is believed to cause serious health issues in humans including immunosuppression, impaired concentration, memory loss, cancer, damaged blood cells, damaged kidneys, and hemorrhagic strokes. Other symptoms (though not as serious or dire) include nausea, vomiting, fatigue, headaches, bladder discomforts, and itching of the eyes, mouth, and nose.


How to Remove Indoor Mold?

Mold is everywhere, literally. While you can limit your exposure to outdoor mold quite easily (just avoid going to those places), you can’t exactly go inside your home. Fortunately, you can control the growth of mold in several ways. You need to make sure that you get lots of fresh air. Not only will it lower the humidity level within your home, but it will also ensure that wet surfaces such as walls, curtains, windows, etc. become dry. If you can’t open windows due to cold weather, make sure that you use your air vents and a dehumidifier to improve airflow and remove moisture.

Another way to reduce the growth of mold is to clean your home regularly. If you do have mold in your home, call in the experts. Mold removal is a serious matter. While you can use cleaning products or mold cleaner and get to scrubbing all on your own, it’s better to be safe than sorry.