The Dangers of Microbial Growth in Long Term Care

August 5, 2021

This is a guest article by Kari Fisher, regional relationship manager at Summit Cleaning and Restoration, an OHCA business partner.

In long term care and other health care settings, microbial contaminated surfaces can indirectly transmit infection. Learn about the bacteria and germs that grow on surfaces and how to keep facilities and communities healthy and clean.

What is black mold?

The proper term for black mold is stachybotrys, which is a species of mold that cultivates when there is a high moisture content for a very long time. The most common misconception about black mold is that the name leads people to believe that it is actually black in color when mold really comes in different colors. Color does NOT differentiate mold type. Staff should be concerned any time there is a discoloration.

What is the health risk involved with mold?

Each person has a different sensitivity level and each person’s body reacts differently. What doesn’t bother one person may bother someone else.

Some health symptoms people experience from exposure to mold include:

  • persistent coughing,
  • frequent headaches,
  • frequent chest colds,
  • respiratory issues,
  • allergic reactions, and
  • inflammation of the sinuses

On what materials does mold grow?

Generally, mold grows only on organic materials like wood, paper, or non-plastic materials. However, with the right environment, mold it can be present on non-organic materials such as glass and viny. Dry wall is the most common material on which mold grows.

How is mold prevented?

First and foremost, take care of any moisture problems. During winter and leading into spring is a common time for mold to cultivate as fewer people visit facilities due to weather or various COVID-19 restrictions, creating low movement levels. High moisture builds up in facilities with zero air movement, which creates perfect environment for mold to start growing. Mold, generally, grows in warm, damp environments with low air flow.

When should a professional be consulted?

Always get a professional to inspect possible mold because they can the entirety of the problem. Get mold checked out by a professional to prevent a much larger problem. Proper mold removal is important to guarantee the return of mold and mildew in the future.