Sunday, November 27, 2016

Head Case

As in, head cold case. That's me. With a serious head cold blooming in this body (and bursting from the sinuses) and also the fact that I have been in a high-mold environment for almost four weeks now and spent a lot more time in this environment in the past week than I had in the previous three weeks and the heating unit was turned on for the firt time since last year, I did a little mold allergy research and I am not liking the similarities between common cold/flu symptomes and mold toxicity. I definitely have seven of the symptoms on the list and can easily claim at least twelve without stretching parameters too far. Not good news.

So I reviewed sites that suggest what can cause high mold environments and what can be done about it (I believe I did this before when I moved into Curly's storage room place... unfortunately, the visible and olfactory mold is much more visceral and present here... photos prior to my Tilex treatment of the bathroom may folow?) and this is a summary of one of the reviews.

Eliminate sources of dampness in basements, such as pipe leaks or groundwater seepage. No basement, damp concrete floor in bathroom closet
Use a dehumidifier in any area of your home that smells musty or damp. Keep your humidity levels below 50 percent. Remember to clean the collection bucket and condensation coils regularly. Not available. No measure of humidity, but high. Florida without A/C.
Use an air conditioner, and consider installing central air conditioning with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter attachment. The HEPA filter can trap mold spores from outdoor air before they're circulated inside your home. No air conditioner for more than three years.
Change filters on your furnace and air conditioners regularly. Have forced air heating ducts inspected and, if necessary, cleaned. Heating filter/ducts may be mold infested.
Be sure all bathrooms are properly ventilated, and run the ventilation fan during a shower or bath and immediately after to dry the air. If you don't have a ventilation fan, open a window or door while you're showering or bathing. No ventilation in bathrooms. Mold is most obvious there.
Don't carpet bathrooms and basements. Carpets are at least 20 years old in bedrooms.
Promote groundwater drainage away from your house by removing leaves and vegetation from around the foundation and cleaning out rain gutters frequently. Old growth vegetation surrounds the house on all sides.
Keep organic plant containers clean and dry, such as those made of straw, wicker or hemp. Without A/C for 3+ years, moisture is everywhere.
Toss or recycle old books and newspapers. If left in damp places, such as basements, they can quickly become moldy. The house is a library of old books, papers, and cardboard. Walls are lined with very old maps.

Yeah, so it is not a positive outlook (why else would we be in meaningless complaints, after all). There are a lot of mold guides on the web. Some give me the feeling they were writen by hypocondriac shut-ins afraid of breathing. You can do a lot of things to mitigate mold risk, it all depends on how much you want to do.

Other than the mold, I really like it here. The home owner roommate is a really good person and friend and also very intelligent and kind and generous and offers an amazingly high level of positivity for a human. The area is central to most of my activities and safe and quiet. I am doing some serious cleaning (and insect treatment) where I can and the reaction is appreciation, which is good, but the mold growth is likely deep in the walls and beyond non-professional remedy. It might be beyond professional remedy. I am concerned for my friend's health as he says he has a chronic cough and has heavy bouts of sneezing which are signs of mold allergy.

I will continue cleaning, treating high mold areas, and bonding and as the comfort level increases bring up concerns.

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