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Old 01-22-2011, 10:02 AM
 
Location: Saint Petersburg, FL
1,881 posts, read 3,382,937 times
Reputation: 16541

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We recently had to move because there was a leak in the roof that the owner of the house refused to fix properly (for 7 months). As a result of that leak, we found black mold growing on the walls of the bedroom, and on some of our furniture.

Also as a result of the mold, I have developed breathing problems. After we moved, my chest cleared up a bit and my sinuses got much better, but over the last week I've had a very hard time breathing. I often have to get up at night just to concentrate on getting air. I'm very disappointed because I was hoping getting out of that environment would be enough.

We cleaned the furniture that had mold with a bleach solution and a heavy duty steam cleaner. Is that enough? Or might it still be in there? I'm also wondering about our mattress, because there was mold on the wall of our bedroom. I don't *think* I see any, but should I throw it out in case there is mold inside of it? Or if I can't find any externally, does that mean it's probably OK? What about pillows? Should they be tossed?

I'm really looking forward to breathing well again. Any help would be very much appreciated!
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Old 01-22-2011, 01:28 PM
 
Location: Georgia, USA
33,514 posts, read 35,492,647 times
Reputation: 40053
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maggi07 View Post
We recently had to move because there was a leak in the roof that the owner of the house refused to fix properly (for 7 months). As a result of that leak, we found black mold growing on the walls of the bedroom, and on some of our furniture.

Also as a result of the mold, I have developed breathing problems. After we moved, my chest cleared up a bit and my sinuses got much better, but over the last week I've had a very hard time breathing. I often have to get up at night just to concentrate on getting air. I'm very disappointed because I was hoping getting out of that environment would be enough.

We cleaned the furniture that had mold with a bleach solution and a heavy duty steam cleaner. Is that enough? Or might it still be in there? I'm also wondering about our mattress, because there was mold on the wall of our bedroom. I don't *think* I see any, but should I throw it out in case there is mold inside of it? Or if I can't find any externally, does that mean it's probably OK? What about pillows? Should they be tossed?

I'm really looking forward to breathing well again. Any help would be very much appreciated!
Much of the "mold" that we see in this situation is common household mildew and does not cause medical problems. Cleaning it the way you described usually takes care of it.

If you have removed yourself from the suspect environment and you are still having symptoms, the mold may not have been the cause of the problem. Have you talked with your doctor about your symptoms? Shortness of breath that develops while you are lying down is sometimes a symptom of a heart problem.

Replacing the pillows would be fairly inexpensive. If you would normally not be replacing the mattress and foundation for a while, you might want to put them in hypoallergenic covers and see what happens. If you have another bedroom with furnishings that did not have mold on them, you might try sleeping there for a few nights, too.

It is impossible to create a mold free environment, but HEPA filters for the HVAC can help, if you are not already using them.
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Old 01-22-2011, 02:07 PM
 
Location: Saint Petersburg, FL
1,881 posts, read 3,382,937 times
Reputation: 16541
A neighbor who is a building inspector looked at it and said it is indeed mold, and when I was a kid, I tested positive for a pretty significant mold allergy, so I'm just trying to be as safe as possible with this.

My shortness of breath is off and on a good amount of the time. It does tend to be worse at night... that's when I wheeze the most. The rest of the time it feels like constriction more than anything else.

Hypoallergenic covers is a good idea for the mattress. I really would prefer not to replace it yet, it's just about a year old.

I tossed the pillows today. I'll just replace those, not a huge deal.

I have not spoken to my doctor because I can't afford to have an asthma diagnosis. I have no insurance and that dx would make sure I paid a very high premium when I do get it again. I have an inhaler, that I try to use as little as possible, but it helps when nothing else is working.
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Old 01-22-2011, 03:17 PM
 
Location: Georgia, USA
33,514 posts, read 35,492,647 times
Reputation: 40053
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maggi07 View Post
A neighbor who is a building inspector looked at it and said it is indeed mold, and when I was a kid, I tested positive for a pretty significant mold allergy, so I'm just trying to be as safe as possible with this.

My shortness of breath is off and on a good amount of the time. It does tend to be worse at night... that's when I wheeze the most. The rest of the time it feels like constriction more than anything else.

Hypoallergenic covers is a good idea for the mattress. I really would prefer not to replace it yet, it's just about a year old.

I tossed the pillows today. I'll just replace those, not a huge deal.

I have not spoken to my doctor because I can't afford to have an asthma diagnosis. I have no insurance and that dx would make sure I paid a very high premium when I do get it again. I have an inhaler, that I try to use as little as possible, but it helps when nothing else is working.
With that history, I would suggest that you remove as much fabric from your bedroom as possible --- anything that can catch and hold allergens. It may not be just mold that is the culprit. You may be allergic to dust mites, too.This means no drapes (blinds or shades only that can easily be wiped down), preferably hard surface floors (may be a problem if you rent and have carpet), and bedding that can easily be washed often in hot water and hot dryer (duvet covers rather than comforters, for example). If you like a lot of frills and ruffles, sorry, they need to go! Damp mop the floors often. No upholstered furniture. Ban pets from the bedroom. May even want to get a portable HEPA air purifier for the bedroom. Make the new pillows something hypoallergenic and use hypoallergenic covers on them. If you are stuck with carpet, vacuum often using a HEPA filter machine. Of course, someone else has to do the vacuuming!
If it is an older home with wallpaper, perhaps several layers, consider removing it. The paste may contribute to the dust. Use a water based paint. Go completely minimalist in the bedroom --- not a lot of dust-catching knickknacks. The concept is to be aggressive controlling dust.

I do not know what is going to happen with the new health care legislation, but I hope they keep the part that eliminates restrictions on pre-existing conditions. If you have a prescription inhaler, you probably already have an asthma diagnosis somewhere in your medical records. If so, it might be best to bite the bullet and make sure you are on the best treatment for the wheezing.

Edited to add: I just noticed you are in FL. You might want to do what you can to control humidity. If you rent, that can be a problem. If you own your home, consult your HVAC company. Do ventilate bathrooms during and after showers. Train the family to use ventilation fans.
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Old 01-22-2011, 04:19 PM
 
Location: Saint Petersburg, FL
1,881 posts, read 3,382,937 times
Reputation: 16541
Quote:
Originally Posted by suzy_q2010 View Post
With that history, I would suggest that you remove as much fabric from your bedroom as possible --- anything that can catch and hold allergens. It may not be just mold that is the culprit. You may be allergic to dust mites, too.This means no drapes (blinds or shades only that can easily be wiped down), preferably hard surface floors (may be a problem if you rent and have carpet), and bedding that can easily be washed often in hot water and hot dryer (duvet covers rather than comforters, for example). If you like a lot of frills and ruffles, sorry, they need to go! Damp mop the floors often. No upholstered furniture. Ban pets from the bedroom. May even want to get a portable HEPA air purifier for the bedroom. Make the new pillows something hypoallergenic and use hypoallergenic covers on them. If you are stuck with carpet, vacuum often using a HEPA filter machine. Of course, someone else has to do the vacuuming!
If it is an older home with wallpaper, perhaps several layers, consider removing it. The paste may contribute to the dust. Use a water based paint. Go completely minimalist in the bedroom --- not a lot of dust-catching knickknacks. The concept is to be aggressive controlling dust.

I do not know what is going to happen with the new health care legislation, but I hope they keep the part that eliminates restrictions on pre-existing conditions. If you have a prescription inhaler, you probably already have an asthma diagnosis somewhere in your medical records. If so, it might be best to bite the bullet and make sure you are on the best treatment for the wheezing.

Edited to add: I just noticed you are in FL. You might want to do what you can to control humidity. If you rent, that can be a problem. If you own your home, consult your HVAC company. Do ventilate bathrooms during and after showers. Train the family to use ventilation fans.
We do rent, which I do not enjoy, but we own a house we haven't been able to sell, so we're stuck for now. Luckily, there are hardwood floors in the bedroom. I don't have many knick knacky things in there, but I wonder about books. I have a lot of those.

We put blinds up already that will be easy to keep clean, and the only place there is wallpaper is in the kitchen. Of course, I spend lots of time in there, so it might be worth paying attention to.

I've been looking at dehumidifiers today. The issue I'm wondering about is that it's always harder for me to breathe when the air is dry. That's part of what I love about Florida summers. The humidity!

I also purchased a hypoallergenic encasement for the mattress and for the new pillows today, so hopefully those will be effective.

The inhalers I have due to two recent bouts of pneumonia, so I hope there's nothing about asthma in my records. I also hope the new health care legislation will remove the ability to refuse coverage or offer more expensive coverage for those with pre-existing conditions, but I'm afraid to bet on it at this point.

Thank you for taking the time to respond!
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Old 01-22-2011, 04:55 PM
 
Location: Georgia, USA
33,514 posts, read 35,492,647 times
Reputation: 40053
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maggi07 View Post
We do rent, which I do not enjoy, but we own a house we haven't been able to sell, so we're stuck for now. Luckily, there are hardwood floors in the bedroom. I don't have many knick knacky things in there, but I wonder about books. I have a lot of those.

We put blinds up already that will be easy to keep clean, and the only place there is wallpaper is in the kitchen. Of course, I spend lots of time in there, so it might be worth paying attention to.

I've been looking at dehumidifiers today. The issue I'm wondering about is that it's always harder for me to breathe when the air is dry. That's part of what I love about Florida summers. The humidity!

I also purchased a hypoallergenic encasement for the mattress and for the new pillows today, so hopefully those will be effective.

The inhalers I have due to two recent bouts of pneumonia, so I hope there's nothing about asthma in my records. I also hope the new health care legislation will remove the ability to refuse coverage or offer more expensive coverage for those with pre-existing conditions, but I'm afraid to bet on it at this point.

Thank you for taking the time to respond!
You are welcome!

See here about humidity:

Best Indoors Humidity Range for Humans, Books, and Electronic Devices

I suspect you would be comfortable with a relative humidity around 45 - 50% and still not encourage mold and mildew to grow. Do you have central air and heat in the house? Some units have humidity control built in.

The books probably need to sleep somewhere besides the bedroom!
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Old 01-22-2011, 09:05 PM
 
Location: Saint Petersburg, FL
1,881 posts, read 3,382,937 times
Reputation: 16541
I will ask the owners if they have humidity control on the central unit. The system looks very new, so I suspect they may. If not, I'll have to check out a room dehumidifier for the bedroom at least.

I moved my books out and I've got the hypoallergenic coverings on the bed. Crossing fingers for a good night's sleep!
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Old 01-22-2011, 09:15 PM
 
Location: Georgia, USA
33,514 posts, read 35,492,647 times
Reputation: 40053
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maggi07 View Post
I will ask the owners if they have humidity control on the central unit. The system looks very new, so I suspect they may. If not, I'll have to check out a room dehumidifier for the bedroom at least.

I moved my books out and I've got the hypoallergenic coverings on the bed. Crossing fingers for a good night's sleep!
Good night! Suzy Q
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Old 02-07-2011, 08:39 AM
 
1 posts, read 1,665 times
Reputation: 10
I'm sorry to hear about your previous home. If you have any doubt about your indoor air quality, I would highly recommend having an environmental evaluation completed. Moderator cut: no ads allowed, no manual signatures

Last edited by SouthernBelleInUtah; 02-07-2011 at 11:22 AM..
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