respiratory infections due to mold

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Remembering a Hero: Nicholas Ridiculous
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#Mold Poisoning… It’s Deadly

Remembering a Hero: Nicholas Ridiculous

Alpha. Aggressive. Clown. Gentle Giant.

Nicholas was all of those and more.

Simmering between seventeen and twenty pounds for most of his life,  Nick never failed to cause a reaction when he met someone new, be it at home or at a new vet. Vet techs would brace to “deal” with the miniature panther, and then melt when they realized how utterly charming he was. That he knew they were there to help him feel better soon became evident.

When I first met Nick, he stunk to high heaven. It wasn’t outer body odor. It was inner. I can only imagine what he had been eating to survive. I used shampoos and powders and other means to make him less toxic to my nose, but the only remedy was good food and clean water. It took several months, but I remember the day we were at the vet and I mentioned his odor problem. The vet sniffed him and said, “Well, he smells pretty good to me.” Like he’d understood what she’d said, he’d jerked his face to me and looked into my eyes with what I can only describe as delight.

 Nick and Cookie, our Tuxedo kitty, shared an Odd Couple relationship. The same age, they were already living homeless on our property in Kentucky when we bought the house on five acres. Neurotic and nervous, Cookie soon befriended Moose and Logan, the outdoor tabbies we brought with us from Florida. Eager to please his new friends, Cookie took it upon himself to run Nick, who they did not like, out of town.

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#Mold Poisoning… It’s Deadly

In 2012 I lost my beloved cats, Nicholas and Cookie, to severe mold in the air handlers of my home.

Nicholas farewell

Nicholas could not breathe through his nose, only his mouth. His face had swollen due to the severe amount of pus inside his head. He was euthanized on February 20, 2012.

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Cookie on November 6, 2012, on his way to the vet to be euthanized.

This is what Nicholas and Cookie looked like twelve months before mold entered our home and took their lives:

Nick and Cookie

In 2012 we had a duct cleaning company scour our air handlers and ducts, and they released live bacteria that was to eat the mold. It didn’t occur to me to have it rechecked until, in the summer of 2015, when Dori and Peaches both came down with “colds from hell.”  I too was suffering from the effect of mold. Turns out I’m highly allergic to it. In 2012 I was continually foggy-brained, and aching in every joint. I wanted to sleep all the time.

Mold in air duct

Mold in my ceiling air ducts…in fact, mold was in every single duct in the house.

The foggy-brained part is what kept me from recognizing my symptoms again in 2015. It took Dori giving an eerily familiar cough that reminded me of Cookie that had me running the girls to the vet, and calling in the same company as in 2012 to check my air handlers.Mold in air handler

The mold was back, and this time it was Terminator Mold. But instead of cleaning like they did in 2012, this time the crew was a bit more investigative as to WHY we had mold…and they discovered the duct tape around the mains had softened and pulled apart, allowing attic debris into the blowers (I always wondered why I had so damn much dust). They also found the seams were allowing cold air to seep out, creating dampness.

Mold thrives on Darkness, Warmth, Oxygen, and Moisture.

It appears we had won the Mold Lottery.

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Mold on the walls of the air handler.

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Mold on the insulation wrapping the mains.

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Filters are changed every month. We thought they were dirty. We didn’t realize the dirt was mold.

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To destroy the mold, the company we called vacuumed every duct . It took hours — all day in fact — and was horrifically noisy. But it had to be done.

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Every duct was also cleaned with a bleach solvent.

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Then the mains had to be resealed using duct butter that hardened like plastic.

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Despite the hot attic temperature, the duct butter will not melt and allow moisture into the ducts.

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We have two air handlers. In each a UV light was installed. Mold cannot grow under UV lighted conditions.

Thankfully, this time there is a Happy Ending. Peaches and Dori were saved.

Peaches and Dori

Don’t think mold can’t happen to you. Mold is more rampant than I ever believed possible. Our home was 7 years old when we had mold in 2012. I read that mold is more prevalent in newer homes due to construction rush. Duct tape isn’t good enough to seal your air handlers. Make sure its duct butter, and before you buy, have your home inspected.

The life you save could be your own.

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 For more information, start with Mold Blogger.

So…tell me. Have you ever had mold in your home? Have you ever had your home inspected? Please leave a comment below.

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