Most of us wore our masks during COVID-19 and are continuing to do so to protect ourselves against potentially harmful airborne particles that may contain contaminants or infectious agents. However, did you know that some respirators, including N95 masks, protect against mold?
In fact, the CDC recommends that if you suspect there is mold growth in your home, use personal protection and protect your mouth and nose by wearing an N95 mask. Preventing inhalation of small mold particles can reduce the health risk associated with toxic mold.
Molds are very common in homes, growing in moist environments like roofs, windows, pipes, or on paper products, cardboard, ceiling tiles, and wood products, or in paints, dust, wallpaper, insulation, drywall, carpet, fabric, and upholstery. It can be anywhere!
Mold vs. You
So, what actually happens to us if we're exposed to mold, and what are the different kinds of ways you're exposed to it?
Mold exposure typically occurs through inhalation, ingestion, or skin contact with mold spores or “mycotoxins”. During this exposure, you may experience a variety of symptoms and health effects, such as trouble breathing or if the mold prevents a severe threat to your health, could lead to lung disease.
The severity of the issue depends on factors such as the type of mold, the duration and intensity of exposure, and individual sensitivity. If you suspect you've come in contact with mold, it's recommended to immediately move to a location where you can breathe in fresh air. Here are some of the potentially harmful reactions that may if the mold spores were inhaled:
Mold spores can irritate the respiratory system, leading to symptoms like coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and throat irritation. This may affect individuals with asthma or allergies with exacerbated symptoms.
Nasal and Sinus Issues
Mold exposure through inhalation can cause nasal congestion, sneezing, runny or itchy nose, and sinus inflammation, and even go as far as to cause sinus infections in some individuals. These issues can share similarities with flu like symptoms.
Mold can trigger allergic reactions in susceptible individuals, leading to symptoms such as sneezing, nasal congestion, coughing, itching, and skin rashes.
Prolonged exposure to certain types of molds, particularly those associated with water-damaged environments such as black mold, can increase the risk of respiratory infections and other respiratory illnesses.
Individuals with asthma may experience worsening of their symptoms, including increased frequency and severity of asthma attacks, when exposed to mold.
These are all the respiratory issues that may occur, through which mask wearing and investing in respiratory protection may be extremely helpful. Otherwise, mold spores in the air can also irritate the eyes, causing redness, watery eyes, itchiness, and sensitivity to light. Direct contact with mold or its spores can also result in skin rashes, itching, or hives, and people with pre-existing skin conditions may experience even worsening symptoms.
Disclaimer: It's vital to note that some people may be more sensitive to mold than others, and repeated or significant exposure to mold can potentially lead to more severe health effects. If you suspect mold exposure and experience persistent or concerning symptoms, it is advisable to invest in personal protection and consult a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.
N95 Masks for Protection
We know that N95 masks are primarily designed to protect against airborne particles, including solid and liquid particles that may contain contaminants or infectious agents. However, N95 masks are highly effective at filtering out small particles, which does ultimately include mold spores. Even though they were not specifically designed to prevent small mold particles from being inhaled, they are commonly used as an occupational safety measure when attempting to remove mold.
The filtration process of an N95 mask involves two main mechanisms: mechanical filtration and electrostatic attraction. As air passes through the mask, larger particles, including mold spores, are obstructed by the physical barriers of the fibers, preventing them from entering the wearer's respiratory system. Smaller particles, which may bypass the mechanical barriers, are captured through electrostatic attraction. The charged fibers attract and hold onto these particles, effectively filtering them out.
However, you should definitely keep in mind that N95 masks have specific guidelines for their proper use and fit, because a tight seal between the mask and the wearer's face is crucial to ensure maximum filtration efficiency.
Also, while N95 masks can offer some protection against mold spores in the air, it's also essential to address the underlying cause of mold growth and take appropriate measures to mitigate mold exposure, such as improving ventilation, reducing moisture, and seeking professional help in mold removal if necessary.
WellBefore and You
Looking for N95 masks as personal protection against mold exposure? Look no further than WellBefore! We have N95 masks of all sizes, colors, and with adjustable head straps over the head! Stay safe and check out our collection on WellBefore today.