You’ve seen the number in your weather forecast and on your weather app. The mold count.
Perhaps if you suffer from allergies, you’ve even used this number to plan your days, and whether you are inside or out for the day.
Maybe you’ve even bookmarked the mold count on the Weather Channel.
But do you know what, exactly, it means?
What is “mold count”?
The air around us is not simply oxygen. Instead it is a mix of gases, rich in oxygen, that can be tolerated by living things. Of course, it contains other gases which are, in a heavy concentration, fatal to humans but necessary for other life.
For instance, trees need CO2 in order to convert sunlight to energy. But in heavy concentrations CO2 kills human beings. Likewise, trees emit oxygen which, for them, is a waste product. Trees and other plants wilt and die when exposed to pure oxygen.
In addition to other gases, there are many different kinds of tiny particles floating in the air as well.
Perhaps on a sunny day you have seen tiny floating specks in the air. These include dust, large pollen spores, and multiple other kinds of particles.
Some of these particles suspended in the air are invisible to the eye.
The mold count is, roughly, a count of how many of those particles are in the air, and how many of those particles are fungi.
He seems like a fungi
Fungi are nature’s decomposers. This is why you find major fungi in wet, dark places like forest floors, and in the corner of your basement shower.
Fungi include mold, puffer balls, and mushrooms, but are an amazingly wide variety of plants.
These plants reproduce using spores, tiny seed-like structures that can emerge in groups so massive they look like clouds instead of tiny individual particles.
In sunny or rainy weather, these spores are able to stay suspended in the air.
Some spores prefer wet weather for floating around, and others prefer dry days. Some prefer outdoors, and some prefer indoors.
They can come from natural sites like woodland floors, or from manmade sites like leaks from water heaters and places where condensation builds up in a house.
Mold contributes to allergies, asthma
Molds are especially high in the fall, because the leaves and decaying vegetation can have high mold levels.
Mold contributes heavily to breathing problems for people with allergies and asthma.
This is why a mold count, the count of spores per cubic meter of air, is important for those people to know. This can help determine whether they will have a pleasant day outside, or if a walk in the woods might create a medical emergency.
Mold counts are reported using the scale below, taken from the Southwest Ohio Air Quality Agency.
If you have concerns about mold in your house, you should contact a company that does restoration after flooding to abate the current mold problem.
Then work with a contractor to solve the water problem that caused it.