reviewed 12/7/2018

Mold: True or False?

Molds are fungi that thrive in warm, damp and humid conditions. Indoors, mold from water leakage or condensation can lead to health problems, as well as property damage. Take this quiz to see if you can spot the myths about mold.

True or false:

It's usually not necessary to test for mold in your home.

True.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not recommend routine sampling of molds in the home. Testing for mold is expensive and unreliable, and there are no established industry standards for acceptable levels of mold. What's more, identifying a species of mold is unlikely to make a difference in what you should do about it—it's best to remove all the mold you can.

True or false:

Chronic fatigue is the most common health problem caused by mold.

False.

Most symptoms of exposure to mold are allergy-related. The most common are runny or stuffy nose, eye irritation, wheezing, and skin irritation. However, some people may have serious reactions, such as fever or shortness of breath. People with chronic lung diseases may develop infections in their lungs. Mold also has been shown to aggravate asthma.

True or false:

Mold removal should be left to professionals.

False.

There's little risk in removing mold yourself. Mold can be removed from hard surfaces with soap and water, commercial cleaners, or a mixture of 1 cup bleach in 1 gallon of water. You should, however, use nonporous protective gloves and eye protection. Porous or absorbent materials that have become moldy, such as carpeting or ceiling tiles, may have to be replaced.

True or false:

The best way to avoid mold in your home is to prevent excess moisture.

True.

Mold needs moisture to grow.

To prevent it:

  • Dry water-damaged areas within 24 to 48 hours.
  • Fix leaky plumbing or other sources of moisture.
  • Avoid carpeting in bathrooms and basements.
  • Use an air conditioner or dehumidifier in humid months.

True or false:

If you think mold is making you sick, you should see an allergy specialist.

False.

Visit your regular doctor first. He or she will determine the best course of action. You may be referred to an allergist, an infectious disease specialist or lung specialist.

Are you allergic to mold? Preventing and removing it can help. Take this quiz to see how savvy you are.

Learn more about mold

Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

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