Moldy Homes: More Than Just Fungus Among Us?

Did you know that mold lurking in your home can also house dangerous bacteria? This information is particularly disconcerting considering how easily moisture can accumulate in many households, potentially causing respiratory conditions, infections, or asthma.

For years, research has hinted at the connection between household mold and bacteria, but it wasn’t until recently that scientists have pinpointed the specific strains that could be putting your household at risk. Let’s dive deeper into the issue and explore how you can safeguard your home and your family.

Two Potentially Dangerous Bacteria Strains

A recent study from the University of Cincinnati has finally shed light on the bacterial strains Stenotrophomonas and Mycobacterium, which both have an uncomfortably cozy relationship with household mold. These bacteria typically colonize in water-damaged buildings and homes, which is why it’s equivalent to inviting them inside if your home is plagued by indoor mold.

The researchers discovered these bacteria strains using groundbreaking methods, as many of the bacteria were non-culturable and impossible to identify. As part of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s ongoing research investment, this study brings us one step closer to understanding the role indoor bacteria plays in our health.

Stenotrophomonas is considered a drug-resistant pathogen—a bacterium with the capability to cause serious infections, particularly in those with compromised immunity. This finding highlights the need to identify and quantify bacterial species in our homes to determine their impact on our health.

Detecting and Eliminating Mold in Your Home

Now that you know the potential health risks associated with household mold, it’s time to learn how to detect and eliminate mold from your living area.

Inspect Your Home

Mold thrives in damp, humid environments where moisture can easily accumulate. Inspect areas in your house that are especially susceptible to mold growth, such as basements, bathrooms, kitchens, or areas where there has been previous water damage. While some mold growth may be visible, other areas (such as wallpaper and drywall) may require peeling or cutting to reveal any mold colonies.

Professional Testing

If you suspect mold growth in your home, a professional mold testing company can collect air samples and surface samples of suspected areas to detect the presence of mold. They might use infrared technology to locate hidden moisture sources, further helping to eliminate mold growth.

Preventing Mold Growth

To prevent mold growth in your home, you can take simple measures like repairing water leaks, ensuring proper ventilation in high-moisture areas, and using exhaust fans in kitchens and bathrooms. Using a dehumidifier in your home can also help by reducing humidity levels, therefore reducing the likelihood of mold growth.

When to Seek Professional Help

Despite your best efforts, sometimes mold problems might escalate beyond your control. In such cases, hiring a professional mold remediation company is the best course of action to avoid health risks. Here are a few warning signs that you may need professional help:

  • Visible mold growth larger than 10 square feet
  • Persistent, musty odor or heightened allergy symptoms
  • Water damage or flooding in your home
  • Discovering black mold

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provides additional guidelines and helpful resources for addressing mold problems in your home.

Safeguarding Your Home and Your Family

The presence of mold in your home is far more than just an unsightly problem—it could house potentially dangerous bacteria that put your loved ones at risk. By properly monitoring and addressing moisture issues, you can keep mold and bacteria at bay, ensuring a healthier and happier household.