Signs that you've been exposed to toxic mold and what you should do next

A leaky roof, musty odors, dampness - these are signs you should not ignore in your home or workplace as they could be the site of a dangerous breeding ground for toxic mold. This toxic mold can seriously affect your health, causing everything from flu and allergy like symptoms to rashes, fatigue, and vertigo. 
The problem is, many people don't even realize they are suffering from toxic mold exposure, and may attribute the symptoms to other conditions or even allergies and even the common cold or flu. According to Dr. Jill, it's estimated that indoor air pollutants, including mold and mycotoxins may be contributing to more than 50% of patient illnesses.  It's extremely important to understand where and why mold forms, and the symptoms of exposure in order to protect yourself.
Where mold forms
Mold can grow almost anywhere - from wood and leather to fabrics and sheetrock and even insulation. All that mold needs to grow is moisture and oxygen, therefore the most common place to find mold is in wet or damp areas of your home or workplace like:
all information provided by Mercola
- Bathrooms and kitchens, especially under sinks—particularly leaky onesBehind or under appliances that hide slow plumbing leaks (refrigerators, dishwashers, washing machines, etc.)
- Roof leaks
- Around windows where condensation collects
- High humidity areas of your home, such as basements
Usually the first sign of mold is a "musty" odor. Another sign to look out for is bowed or buckled floorboards, discolored carpet, a new water stain on your wall, or black or white specks—all signs you could be developing a mold problem according to Mercola.
Types of mold
Usually mold forms in the home after an area has been exposed to water damage - but basically anywhere with moisture has the potential to sprout mold. Here are the most common types of mold that are found indoors according to Mercola:
Alternaria: Commonly found in your nose, mouth, and upper respiratory tract; this type of mold can cause a response that seems like allergies.
Aspergillus: Usually found in warm, extremely damp climates, and a common occupant of house dust; this type of mold produces produces mycotoxins and can cause lung infections.
Cladosporium: This very common outdoor fungus can find its way indoors to grow on textiles, wood and other damp, porous materials. This mold triggers hay fever and asthma symptoms.
Penicillium: Very common species found on wallpaper, decaying fabrics, carpet, and fiberglass duct insulation. This type of mold is known for causing allergies and asthma. Some species produce mycotoxins - one being the common antibiotic penicillin.
Stachybotrys: This extremely toxic mold, also know as "black mold", produces mycotoxins that can cause serious breathing difficulties and bleeding of the lungs, among other health problems. This type of mold is less common in homes - but it's not rare. You can find it on wood or paper - but not on concrete linoleum or tile.
According to Doctor Jill, there are a bunch of symptoms to look out for that may indicate you're suffering from toxic mold exposure in your home.
- Fatigue and weakness
- Headache, light sensitivity
- Poor memory, difficult word finding
- Difficulty concentration
- Morning stiffness, joint pain
- Unusual skin sensations, tingling and numbness
- Shortness of breath, sinus congestion or chronic cough
- Appetite swings, body temperature regulation,
- Increased urinary frequency or increased thirst
- Red eyes, blurred vision, sweats, mood swings, sharp pains
- Abdominal pain, diarrhea, bloating
- Tearing, disorientation, metallic taste in mouth
- Static shocks
- Vertigo, feeling lightheaded
If you're still unsure, there's also a checklist of questions to go through that might indicate whether or not toxic mold is a problem in your home:
Do musty odors bother you?
Have you worked or lived in a building where the air vents or ceiling tiles were discolored?Have you noticed water damage or discoloration elsewhere?
Has your home been flooded?
Have you had leaks in the roof?
Do you experience unusual shortness of breath?
Do you experience recurring sinus infections?
Do you experience recurring respiratory infections and coughing?
Do you have frequent flu-like symptoms?
Do your symptoms worsen on rainy days?
Do you have frequent headaches?
Are you fatigued and have a skin rashes?
If you believe you could be suffering from toxic mold it is important you see a doctor right away.
First off, remove yourself from the area of the home that has the toxic mold because it's not safe to be there. You can either:
Get a high-quality air purifier to control mold toxins. This will help strip the air of moisture and rid the area of moly toxins.
Clean up the surface mold if it is manageable. Manageable means the surface is not too large, and you don't experience severe symptoms. There are some different tips and cleaning solutions you can use to clean up this mold.
Seriously consider getting a professional to clean up the mold.  If your mold problem is large, you have severe symptoms, or if you have black mold, you need to get a professional to clean it up because this mold is extremely toxic and can make you very sick. This is not a cheap option, but it is the safest. 
See a doctor. If you believe you are suffering from toxic mold see a doctor right away. There are tests they can administer, and different treatment options based on your symptoms. By no means should you self diagnose, or treat yourself in this situation.
Resources Mercola and Jill Carnahan does not give medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.