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Toxins in your home could be making you sick

Toxins in your home could be making you sick

We spend most of our time indoors, so breathing healthy air where we live, work and play are very important.

One Pensacola Beach homeowner said six months after moving into her home, the nightmare began.

Several months after moving into her home on Pensacola Beach last year, Tammy Misner said she began to develop an allergy and cold-like symptoms.

"I knew something was going on, but we just kept hoping that it would clear up,” said Tammy.

But it didn’t, she said her allergies only got worse.

Tammy went to several doctors trying to figure out what was wrong with her and she used over-the-counter medication to kill the pain.

"I finally went to see an ENT and they thought it was fungus behind my sinuses so I had to have surgery. When he got in there, there was no fungus, but my sinuses were impacted," Tammy added.

After her surgery, doctors told Tammy to check her home for any signs of health hazards.

The source of the problem – above her head and in her air ducts.

"The whole attic was infested,” she recalled.

She hired an air duct company to clean it up. Three days later, she said black mold could be seen growing in the walls. She said the first company only finished half the work to get rid of it all.

“We thought we had hired the right people. We tried calling them back but they did not come back, so we found someone else to do it and we spent about $20,000 to get that all taken care of," Tammy explained.

Tammy and her husband Allan hired Absolute Clean HVAC, who found the entire house - the air ducts, floors, and drywall - was infested with mold.

Dr. Paul Glisson, Chief Medical Officer for Baptist Hospital, said there are more than 17,000 different kinds of mold out there and more than 100,000 types of mold spores.

"People can develop asthma, rhinitis, persistent cough - that can get bronchiolitis type symptoms from that," Glisson explained.

Today, Jason Hale is doing the same inspection he did at Tammy’s home at this house in Gulf Breeze.

"We're in Florida, you're going to have mold in most any place. You want to keep it at healthy levels though,” Hale said.

During the inspection, he checked every room, closet, attic and crawl space to see if there are any elevated levels of moisture.

"Mold can grow overnight, it can overtake a house in no time at all, it really can," Hale added.

The second part of the inspection is to take a measurement of the moisture on the inside and outside of the home to determine if mold is coming in.

"This is just years of not servicing, this is old 1960s ductwork. We found some mold up there that will need to be tested and we will need to remediate and clear it once we're done," Hale added.

Whatever the case, Dr. Paul Glisson said it is important to check your home’s air duct for mold at least once every year.

"All of them are capable of producing mycotoxins, which becomes the part that can be more toxic to humans," he said

Hale said to be sure to do your homework on the price and time spent on the job, too.

"It can get expensive quickly, the key is catching it, don't ignore it," he said.

As for Tammy, she’s thankful and her home is free of mold.

“Now I'm feeling a lot better, especially in the house, it feels nice to be able to breathe again,” Tammy said.

"Always remember, your house has a heartbeat," said Hale.

The family said keeping your air ducts clean is a job for a professional, but make sure you hire the right one because you don’t want to lose money fixing a problem that could put your health in danger.

Another tip, when leaving your home for a long period of time don’t turn off the AC.

Air duct professionals say 78 degrees is a good level to control the humidity in a home.

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