Mold isn’t innately bad. Without mold, you wouldn’t have penicillin or cheese. More than 100,000 types of mold exist globally — and 1,000-plus in the U.S. alone. Many of them are harmless and even helpful parts of the ecosystem. However, when certain molds creep indoors, you can have major issues. And if they sneak into your office space, the place where you spend 40 hours of your life each week, the effects may be brutal.
Spot the Signs
You and your coworkers will likely start to experience some physical symptoms if there’s a mold problem in your office. You might leave work with a headache, dizziness or extreme fatigue. You could struggle with a dry cough or other signs of nasal allergies, endure nausea or have trouble focusing on your work.
When you start to notice signs of mold, it should at least convince you to look into the possibility of its existence — especially if mold has been a problem in your office in the past.
Know the Dangers
In addition to these temporary symptoms associated with exposure to mold, repeated encounters with the fungus could have long-lasting health effects. The mold may trigger dormant allergies or cultivate new ones that you never struggled with before. In extreme cases, those exposed could develop hypersensitivity pneumonitis, an inflammatory lung disease that could create permanent damage. You could also suddenly experience asthma that you never struggled with before.
Find the Root Issue
Mold can arise from different maintenance problems with your office's structure. It could be that leaking windows, pipes or doors plague your workplace, allowing moisture to infiltrate the walls and create mold. Flooding, plumbing problems, wet building materials or any instances of extra humidity could trigger the same consequences. If the building design is poor or the landscape outside doesn’t carry away water, this could cause issues, too.
If you do find mold in your office, there are a few ways you can handle it. Depending on the severity of the mold, you may be inclined to call in a professional for help. But if it’s a small amount of mold, use natural treatment methods to tackle it yourself.
Try coating the mold with vinegar, letting it soak for a few hours and then scrubbing it away. You can do the same with tea tree oil diluted with water. Grapefruit seed extract works a bit faster, as do water-based mixes of hydrogen peroxide or baking soda.
Extinguish the Mold
With so many all-natural ways to take care of mold in your office, don’t worry if you encounter the fungus creeping into the space. Before you start to experience symptoms, simply oust the mold using vinegar, essential oils or one of the other ingredients above that you have on hand. Your workplace and its inhabitants will be back to happy and healthy in no time.
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