Can Mold Make You Sick?
Molds are fungi that are invisible to the naked eye. They can form colonies at various places in a building if they are in the presence of:
- excess water or moisture;
- a sufficient amount of nutrients such as cardboard or gypsum board.
When they are present on small surfaces and are cleaned quickly, molds are generally not a particular problem. On the other hand, when they develop significantly, the molds disperse into the ambient air particles that can breathe and that can lead to health problems.
The symptoms that may be associated with mold exposure are variable. Everyone may react differently depending on their degree of exposure and their overall health. The main symptoms are:
- irritation of the eyes, nose and throat;
- nasal discharge, sinus congestion, symptoms similar to those of colds;
- increased frequency and severity of asthma attacks;
- chronic fatigue, headaches.
It is important to note that the symptoms experienced may also be caused by other types of indoor air contaminants such as:
- tobacco smoke;
- volatile organic compounds, mainly formaldehyde, from household products (eg paints and varnishes) and building materials (eg chipboard or plywood);
- allergens from, for example, saliva and pet hair;
- airborne particles from, for example, woodburning or cooking appliances.
People at risk
Some people are more likely to develop health problems as a result of exposure to mold. Those are :
- people with allergies;
- people with asthma or chronic respiratory diseases;
- infants and young children;
- old people;
- people with compromised immune systems due to, for example, chemotherapy or recent organ transplantation.
Protection and prevention
You can take certain precautions to avoid exposing yourself to mold and developing related health problems:
It is important to prevent the development of mold in the house and recognize them when they are present . To do this :
- regularly inspect the various rooms in your house and repair any water damage or infiltration. Clean and dry as quickly as possible, within 24 to 48 hours .
- ventilate your house properly , especially during activities that produce a lot of moisture such as bathing, showering and cooking.
For more tips, see Finding and Removing Mold in Your Home.
Evaluate the information on the page or report a problem
Did you encounter a problem during your navigation? Send us your comments and help us improve the Quebec.ca website. Avoid entering personal information in this field.