Aspergillus Mold – All You Need to Know

What is aspergillus mold?

aspergillus mold

Aspergillus mold is a very species mold that can be found both indoors and outdoors and can be found worldwide. Many people do not react to it, but for some, aspergillus mold, like any indoor mold, can be hazardous. 

You should always call a mold removal professional to help clean your home of any mold, including aspergillus. If mold is covering an area of more than ten square feet, is in your HVAC system, or if you have health problems, you most certainly should call professionals. 

There are many species of aspergillus mold. 

Some of the more common are:

  • Aspergillus Niger is often confused with black mold as it does have a blackish color. It is widespread and is often found growing on fruit and can also be found in homes behind wet drywall. 
  • Aspergillus Fumigatus is freely found in the environment on soil, plant matter, and sometimes household dust. This fungus can produce airborne spores called conidia, which are harmless to many people.
  • Aspergillus Flavus is a pathogenic fungus best known for growing on cereal grains, legumes, and tree nuts. Extensive exposure to large amounts of aspergillus spores can cause allergic reactions and more. 

How does aspergillus mold affect human health?

Usually, exposure to aspergillus mold causes minor symptoms in healthy adults. Some people may be more sensitive to fungi and mold species, and the health risks can be severe for some. The infection caused by aspergillus mold is called Aspergillosis.

What is Aspergillosis?

Aspergillosis is the infection caused by exposure to aspergillus mold. While many are unaffected by breathing Aspergillus spores, those with weakened immune systems or lung disease are more prone to health complications. 

There are various types of Aspergillosis, and they can cause different symptoms:

  • Allergic bronchopulmonary Aspergillosis symptoms are very much like asthma symptoms:
    • Wheezing, a cough, fever, and shortness of breath.
  • Allergic Aspergillus sinusitis includes a runny nose, headache, stuffiness, and a reduced sense of smell.
  • Aspergilloma (or “fungus ball”) causes coughing, shortness of breath, and coughing up blood.
  • Chronic pulmonary Aspergillosis can cause weight loss, cough, fatigue, and shortness of breath.
  • Invasive Aspergillosis occurs most in people with underlying conditions, so it can be hard to tie to Aspergillosis. Symptoms include:
    •  Fever, chest pain, cough and coughing up blood, and other symptoms that can spread from the lung to other areas.

IMPORTANT: If you have these symptoms or suspect you may have Aspergillosis, contact your medical provider immediately.

You may not react to mold exposure or have a much simpler mold allergy, which causes sneezing, itching, and runny nose. Outdoor molds will cause these symptoms in the summer and fall if seasonal climates, while indoor mold produces allergic reactions year-round.

Most health problems caused by mold exposure are respiratory-related. In some cases, infections can spread to internal organs. Those individuals most at risk are elderly, infants, and young children, and people with a weakened immune system or respiratory challenge. The Mayo Clinic lists several severe health problems from exposure to aspergillus, including bleeding in the lungs, infection in facial bones, sepsis, shortness of breath, fever, and chills. 

It is essential to say that more research is required to definitively state that the above symptoms and health issues are directly tied to aspergillus mold.

aspergillus mold testing

Where does aspergillus mold occur?

Aspergillus mold is commonly found in the environment in soil and decaying vegetation such as leaves or branches. It can also be found in household dust, food, and water. The spores can be carried indoors on shoes or clothing and can grow on carpeting, or it can enter our home through open doors, windows, or heating and air vents. Mold can grow in cool or warm areas but requires a lot of moisture. It commonly grows on paper products, ceiling tiles or drywall, carpets, and wood.

There are approximately 180 species of aspergillus mold, with less than 40 of them known to cause infections in humans. Aspergillus mold can be found in heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, and sometimes other spots. Mold is common in homes that have experienced flooding or other water damage. Some building materials make excellent hosts for mold, mainly those that are porous.

You should never ignore any kind of mold growth in your home. If you see a mold infestation or notice a musty or moldy smell in your home, ask quicky to prevent health hazards and damage to your home and property.

Testing for Aspergillus Mold

It is unnecessary to identify the species of mold growing in your home, and the CDC does not recommend routine sampling for mold. Mold test kits are available for home use but can be complicated and depend upon the tester for reliability. If you see or smell mold, we recommend you call a specialist as soon as possible.

DIY Mold Removal

If you have a limited amount of mold in your home, covering an area of fewer than three feet by three feet, and all the occupants are in good health, the mold is not in your heat, air conditioning or vents, you may be able to clean this up yourself. Take all precautions, including wearing latex gloves, eye protection, and a mask, and full covering for your body.

Consult the EPA for additional direction and warnings. For any other situation, you should most definitely consult mold remediation professional. This is the only way to be sure it has been contained and removed. 

Damage Buddy TipIf you are not sure whether you need the services of a mold remediation specialist. Give them a call. They often will offer free consultations that will help you make your decision and to understand the costs involved.

Professional Mold Remediation and Clean Up

Aspergillus mold remediation and removal involves much more than just removing the mold from the infected area. A mold removal specialist, or water damage specialist will be knowledgeable and have the equipment to safely remove the danger from your home and restore it to normal.

A mold remediation specialist will start with a full home inspection, assess the damage, contain the mold, filter the air, remove the mold and all materials that were infested, clean up the contents of your home and our possessions, and then restore your home.

What is the mold remediation process?

Mold remediation starts with assessing the severity of the problem. Any mold infestation that affects an area larger than 4 feet by 8 feet is considered a hazard.

Depending on the circumstances, they test your home before treating it. Testing reveals any mycotoxins the mold. High levels of exposure to mycotoxins can be very toxic.

Mold specialists have the right equipment, such as air scrubbers with HEPA filtration systems, air movers, dryers, and dehumidifiers.

Wearing protective gear, they will protect your belongings and take steps to prevent cross-contamination.

They will disinfect or remove materials that have been affected, dry and disinfect the area, and clean the area. The treatment ends with a final exam and testing to clear your home.

What is the mold restoration process?

The restoration could be minor such as drywall repairs, painting or replacing the carpet, or as significant as rebuilding certain areas of your home.

When dealing with mold, consulting a qualified expert makes sense and is a safe way to proceed. You can also consider a free consultation with a specialist as many offer this service. Check with your insurance company to see if these services are covered.

How to hire a remediation contractor.

Look for a mold remediation contractor who is mold remediation certified. Be sure they are insured and licensed and that their entire team is trained. Always request local references, and be sure to check them. Check their online reputation. And check with local building authorities. Authorities.

How can I prevent aspergillus mold in my home?

  • Conduct regular inspections for any signs of standing water, water stains, rust, or condensation.
  • Check your appliances for any leaks or condensation.
  • Maintain a low humidity level in your home. Use a dehumidifier during warm months.
  • Ventilate your bathroom when showering and laundry room when using the washer.
  • Repair and leaks in your roof, around windows or doors and pipes.
  • Limit the use of carpet in areas that tend to be damp such as bathrooms and basements.

Sources and More Info:

CDC – Basic Facts About Mold – https://www.cdc.gov/mold/faqs.htm#test

Clinical Reviews in Allergy & Immunology, “Mold and Human Health: a Reality Check

Environmental Protection Agency, “Mold Cleanup in Your Home