Mold in your home can cause respiratory problems, such as coughing. Bathrooms, basements, and other damp areas of the home are ideal growing environments for a variety of molds. Unfortunately, long-term exposure to mold can affect respiratory health, even leading to persistent coughing or serious infections.
Mold spores can negatively affect respiratory health. The side effects of exposure can range from mild allergic reactions, such as a runny nose or rash, to respiratory troubles, such as coughing or asthma attacks. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, "Molds can be found almost anywhere; they can grow on virtually any substance, providing moisture is present. There are molds that can grow on wood, paper, carpet, and foods." Even dead mold spores may still set off coughing and breathing difficulties for those with allergies or asthma.
Asthma and Mold
The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America explains that exposure to mold can actually cause asthma to set into the lungs. "Mold spores can deposit on the lining of the nose and cause hay fever symptoms. They also can reach the lungs, to cause asthma or another serious illness called allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis."
Mold exposure can also irritate an existing asthma condition. When an asthma sufferer is exposed to mold, asthmatic symptoms may quickly worsen. Asthma symptoms or attacks typically become worse when the individual is near the site of the mold growth.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, “Allergic responses include hay fever-type symptoms, such as sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and skin rash. They can be immediate or delayed. In addition, mold exposure can irritate the eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lungs of both mold-allergic and non-allergic people.”
Types of Mold
According to the EPA, there are nearly one hundred types of molds which have the potential to cause illness. Coughing is a side effect of many of these illnesses. Even low levels of allergenic mold can cause asthma symptoms. This type of mold can be safely cleaned from your home. However, mycotoxic and pathogenic molds contain toxins and pose a serious health risk–especially to those who already have breathing difficulties. If toxic molds are found within your home, contact a mold professional to eradicate the dangerous spores.
In small amounts, mold is harmless to humans. However, high mold levels can cause severe coughing and long-term breathing difficulties. People with respiratory conditions, such as asthma and allergies, are at risk. If you develop intense coughing as a reaction to mold exposure, seek medical attention as soon as possible.