If you suspect you may have a mold problem in your house, read on for testing information and an explanation of common mold-related symptoms. Since black mold is the most toxic of household molds, we’ll focus on this dangerous species.

Black Mold Testing

If you suspect that you have black mold in your home, it’s best for you and your entire household to have it tested right away. Some types of mold look like toxic black mold (Stachybotrys atra or Stachybotrys chartarum) but are not as dangerous, and it’s important to know what you’re dealing with.

There are two options for testing. You can call a professional testing service, which will send out a technician to take samples. These samples will then be taken back to a lab, tested and you will be notified of the results. Many of these facilities also have black mold removal services, or can refer you to a reliable local removal service.

Your other option is to purchase a DIY black mold testing kit. These kits are very reliable, but they do involve the taking of samples. If you’re already feeling sick and believe it to be a result of black mold, getting this close might be a bad idea. Once samples are taken, you can develop them yourself (instructions and equipment are included) or send them off to a lab to get species-specific results. The last option is the only way to know for certain if the mold in your home is actually a dangerous variety.

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Black Mold Symptoms

Having black mold in your home can cause a variety of unpleasant symptoms. In fact, many families discover that they have black mold only after going to the doctor multiple times for a “mystery” ailment. The following are a few of the many symptoms which can be caused by black mold.

Exposure and Initial Poisoning

The symptoms of black mold exposure and the initial, or early, stages of black mold poisoning are primarily respiratory. You may experience irritation of mucous membranes in the nose, eyes and throat, itchy or watery eyes, sneezing, coughing, a persistent sore throat, headaches that can’t be explained and keep returning, and chronic fatigue with no explanation. These symptoms can all be indicative of flu or cold as well. How long they last is generally an indicator of whether or not they are caused by black mold.

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Chronic Exposure and Poisoning

As exposure to black mold becomes chronic, symptoms get worse. You may experience vomiting or nausea as the body reacts to the poisoning. Chronic nosebleeds and coughing up blood, due to chronic irritation of the nose and throat, may also occur. Headaches, fatigue and other respiratory symptoms will continue.

If you suspect that you or any member of your household is suffering due to black mold, early testing and treatment is key. The longer the exposure continues, the worse symptoms will get. Nobody “gets used to” black mold exposure – the only cure is removal and treatment of the mold itself.