In this rainy season, have you checked your house for mold?

Quite often we talk about mold when we see a growth of minute fungi forming on vegetable or animal matter, commonly as a fluffy coating, and associated with decay or dampness. Sometimes you open the fridge and find mold spread over bread and cheese. Mold can be found on books and files as well.

Molds can be found in other places in the house. Painted walls and certain types of wallpapers can become overgrown by certain fungi, particularly in humid places such as showers.

You have just invested your life’s savings in a dream home. You have inspected the house thoroughly looking for possible problems. But you forget to check for mold.

It is said that virtually all buildings contain molds, but some are moldier than others. Molds love the interior of the buildings where they can adapt to dry conditions but molds cannot survive without some moisture. You wonder where the moisture comes from. The source could be a leaky basement, a dripping pipe or a roof in need of repair.

Usually it is hard to know if your house is moldy until somebody in the house complains of persistent allergies, headache, nausea or respiratory symptoms. A moldy building can be a serious health hazard.

This brings us to the subject of fungus. Mold is a kind of fungus. Fungi are all around us. Not all fungi are harmful. The American Heritage Science Dictionary defines fungi as any of a wide variety of organisms that reproduce by spores, including the mushrooms, molds, yeasts, and mildews. Spores can remain dormant for years.

Fungi can live in a wide variety of environments, fungal spores can survive extreme temperatures and fungi exist in over 100,000 species, nearly all of which live on land They can be extremely destructive, feeding on almost any kind of material and causing food spoilage and many plant diseases.

The fungus grows best in moist, damp, dark places with poor ventilation and on skin that is irritated, weakened or continuously moist. Most of the fungi are very helpful in the natural environment and only a few cause diseases in humans, plants and animals.

Candida is yeast like fungus which may cause athlete’s foot, vaginitis, thrush, or other infections. It can thrive in moist skin fold areas under the breasts, overhanging abdominal adipose tissues, groins, between fingers and toes, in the armpits and in the anus. Some of the fungi are dermatophytes which cause parasitic infections of the skin, hair, nails and adjacent mucous membranes.

Systemic fungal infections occur when spores are touched or inhaled by patients with chronic illnesses with poor immunity. Patients with systemic infection may have no symptoms or may have flu-like symptoms – coughing, fever, chest pain, chills, weight loss and difficulty with breathing.

Certain fungi, such as mushrooms, can produce poisonous toxins that may prove fatal if ingested.

Skin infection with fungus can be treated with antifungal skin ointment. Systemic fungal infection requires oral antifungal pills. Fungal infection can be prevented by keeping our body and the environment clean and healthy.

And make sure your leaky roof or foundation is fixed.

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