In addition to severe eczema skin rashes, Mia had also started showing numerous other health problems including: chronic sinus issues, hair loss, extreme lethargy, difficulty concentrating, joint pain, frequent bloody noses, headaches, and sensitivity to light. Some of these symptoms, we later learned, were examples of Stage 2 exposure to toxic mold. Stage 3 exposure included organ failure and possibly death. I shudder to think of what could have happened had my husband Dale not figured out the cause of Mia’s health issues.
We had our entire house remediated by a top mold cleanup company (we had done extensive research to find one that had a strong track record and that used proven methods of effective mold control) in early 2016. It involved moving out of our house for a week and having them remove and replace all of our insulation (including in the attic), removing everything from the basement (especially any paper products which are a food source for mold), dry ice blasting of walls and subflooring, clean up with an ammonia based cleaner to kill the mold (bleach cannot kill mold), having a HEPA filter running 24/7, and replacing sections of drywall.
It was an expensive cleanup and restoration costing around $14,000 but was worth every penny we spent as Mia’s health began to improve immediately and within two weeks or so, her eczema and other health issues were gone. This money came from out of our own pockets since the cause was not a flood issue or water damage issue that might be able to be covered by home owner’s insurance.
The mold in our basement was caused by not running a dehumidifier in the basement. We live near a lake with a high water table and in the summers when the temperatures got hot, condensation collected on the basement walls and created good conditions for mold to grow. We were not aware of this simple precaution.
We now run a dehumidifier that is set to run when the humidity level gets too high and we also run a fan continuously to keep air circulating in the basement. The ideal humidity level is 30-50%. Anything above 60% humidity puts your home at risk for mold growth. Interestingly, in our research we also learned that many schools can be sources of mold as they are closed up in the summers with no air conditioning running. In one of Mia’s classrooms last year, we got the permission of the school to bring in a dehumidifier and air purifier because Mia started to get mold symptoms again and complained that the room was hot, humid, and smelled musty.