Mold: An Unwanted Guest After Summer Storms
It’s a beautiful summer day in Florida, with the sun shining brightly in a blue, cloudless sky—the perfect day for a picnic. You pack up a tasty lunch, shake out the checkered blanket, and head over to your favorite local park. But as soon as you pull through the gates, the sky turns grey and it suddenly starts to pour!
Has this happened to you yet this summer? Chances are, you’ll probably have a picnic or beach day take a sudden, soggy turn. But while they might force you to run to safety for a few minutes, these storms tend to pass pretty quickly, allowing you to get right back to your afternoon excursion.
Sometimes, though, the storm might pass quickly but leave behind the potential for an unwanted, lingering guest: mold.
Natural or Dangerous?
Mold is a type of fungi that thrives in wet or damp environments. For example, mold might grow on the floor of a shower, a pile of old newspapers in a garage, or wet carpet. It’s more prevalent in areas where it frequently rains, particularly after damage from large storms, like Hurricane Irma last year. It also frequently occurs in homes that are abandoned or poorly maintained.
Mold comes in many colors and shapes. It can be very noticeable, with a dark color or pungent smell, or might be hardly noticeable at all. When it grows in a damp area, it releases spores into the air. This allows it to spread to other areas, even ones that weren’t initially damp enough to grow mold.
Mold is a natural part of the environment, and is found in almost much any environment. In nature, it’s usually nothing to be afraid of. However, when it begins to grow inside a person’s home, office, or other often frequented area, it can quickly become dangerous.
The Symptoms of Mold Exposure
Some people are allergic to mold spores, which means that their immune system overreacts to the presence of mold in their environment. When someone has an allergic reaction, they might experience typical allergy symptoms like coughing, wheezing, or watery eyes, and people with asthma or a severe allergy could also lead to a shortness of breath or chest tightness. In some situations, it could trigger symptoms that require emergency medical treatment.
Certain types of mold can also cause health problems for people who aren’t sensitive to mold spores. One dangerous type is commonly called black mold. Along with causing allergy symptoms, prolonged exposure to black mold can also lead to serious health concerns, including memory loss, frequent headaches, or pulmonary hemorrhage.
While mold is a natural occurrence, its damage is minimized through proper cleaning and maintenance. This is why it may be possible to hold someone else liable for harm that occurs from. For example, if a landlord does not tend to the hole in a renter’s roof after a storm, leading to mold growth, the landlord might be liable for any health conditions that occur as a result, as their negligence led to the exposure. This is especially true if the problem persisted after a renter reported their concerns about mold.
If you notice mold in an apartment, hotel, or other area, report it to a landlord or management employee as soon as possible. In your own home, there are also some steps you can take to prevent mold exposure:
- Dry any wet areas, like carpet, immediately
- Reduce moisture in your home by using fans or dehumidifiers, or by keeping the windows open during nice weather
- Fix any leaks as soon as possible
- Clean fabrics around your home, like bath mats and towels, frequently
- Don’t leave wet clothes or other fabrics in the washing machine or lying around the house
When summer hits you with a surprise storm, don’t let the wetness linger around your house!
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