Allergies, Odors, Surface Mold
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Frequently Asked Questions
Below are some frequently asked questions by customers just like you. Still can’t find the answers to your questions? Our URFresh Consultants will be glad to assist you. Feel free to call us at (515) 423-7259.
Can household dust mites cause allergic reactions with my family?
The answer is yes, but it is not the dust mites themselves but their feces that we have the reaction to. A gram of house dust (approximately half of a teaspoon) may contain as many as 1,000 dust mites. That same amount of dust could hold over 250,000 of their fecal pellets.
Once airborne, dried dust mite droppings are so small that they are easily inhaled causing allergic reactions in many people. These reactions can range from sneezing, coughing, itchy
House dust mites are related to spiders. They are eight legged creatures invisible to the human eye. They survive by eating our dead skin cells. A dust mite will produce 20 fecal pellets per day, which is 200 times its own body weight, during its short lifetime!
The greatest number of dust mites in the home is usually found in your bedroom, specifically in your bedding and pillow. The skin and moisture you shed each night provide ideal conditions for their growth. Literally millions of mites can be sleeping with you each night. In fact up to 10% of a two-year-old pillow’s weight can be made up of house dust mites and their droppings!
What is the ‘Sick Building Syndrome’ I’ve read about in Business Week?
This is a general term referring to interiors contaminated by indeterminate biological toxins, molds or chemicals in homes or buildings.
The Business Week article points out that identifying the actual cause of the ‘sickness’ can be difficult . Molds are a good example of the problems encountered when attempting to identify the source or sources of pollutants. They are present everywhere, both indoors and outdoors. Their effects on people are quite random, some experience extreme symptoms from bleeding ears to memory loss while others have none.
People who suffer from asthma, hay fever or other allergies are at a particularly high risk. A few indicators to look for:
Eye, Nose or Throat Irritation
Dry or Itchy Skin
Dizziness and Nausea
Difficulty in Concentrating
Sensitivity to Odors
It should be noted that most affected people experience relief after leaving the contaminated home or building. If your family is experiencing one or more of these symptoms you should suspect your home.
What is mold?
The term mold applies to the microscopic members of the Fungi kingdom. It has a fuzzy, cobweb like growth produced on organic matter. Mold has no ability to ‘fix’ carbon using chlorophyll so it must have some type of organic material as a food source. It can spread rapidly, forming the mycelium (fungal body), which is made up of a fine network of filaments (hyphae). The mycelium produces other clusters of root like hyphae, called rhizoids, which penetrate the organic material, secreting enzymes and absorbing water and the digested sugars and starches. Other clusters of hyphae called sporangiophores then reach upward, forming sporangia (knoblike spore cases), which bear the particular color of the mold species. Upon ripening, the sporangia break open and the windborne spores land elsewhere to reproduce asexually. If they find themselves in a less than ideal situation (not sufficient food, water, etc) they are likely to switch to a nonsexual method of reproduction (one not involving swapping or combining of genetic material) for the duration. This can make them hard to identify, since species are classified by their sexual characteristics (e.g., kind of spore cell wall, spore-producing cells, and sacs that store cells). World wide, there are more than 100,000 species of mold, with at least 1,000 species common to the United States.
Where does mold come from?
Mold spores are in the air and on the ground all around us. They are constantly falling on all surfaces in your home or office looking for a source of food and water. According to the EPA, mold can be found almost everywhere and it can grow on virtually any organic substance.
Is mold toxic in some cases?
Most types of mold commonly encountered are not hazardous to healthy individuals. However, there are some that have achieved recent notoriety that are strongly toxic such as Stachybotrys. Stachybotrys is not too common but can be very harmful when encountered in quantity. Others, like Aspergillus, can be dangerous as well. Aspergillosis is a lung disease suffered generally by immune compromised people. In this disease the Aspergillus mold actually grows in a person’s lungs and can cause death. In general, too much exposure to even common molds may cause or worsen conditions such as asthma, hay fever or other allergies.
Is mold becoming more common?
No. Mold is not becoming more common; there are even Biblical references to tearing down moldy houses and carting the bricks to a ‘dump’. While mold itself is not becoming more common, our knowledge of it and the problems it can cause is becoming more widely disseminated. In the last few years there have been many widely publicized cases concerning sicknesses caused by mold and the multi million dollar settlements awarded to those who suffered the consequences of mold toxicity. As well there have been many, many stories concerning people who have burned their houses down because that was a cheaper solution than remediation of the mold caused damage. (Removal of moldy materials is treated similar to toxic waste material which means any remediation is extremely expensive.) It is because of all this publicity that there is an appearance that mold has become more prevalent when in fact it has only become more recognized for its undesirable qualities.
What should I do if mold is present in my home or office?
First, Don’t Panic.
As stated earlier most molds are non-toxic. However if you or anybody in your family is experiencing symptoms such as itchy eyes, running nose, coughing, sneezing or headaches and these symptoms have lasted more than 2 weeks, then you should definitely do some further investigation. Even if there are no outright symptoms you should take steps to get rid of the mold as soon as possible. For small infestations you can use bleach and water to kill the growth. For larger infestations you should get a service such as the FreshStart process wherein the whole house is treated to eliminate the effects of surface mold throughout. The next step is to find the mold’s source of water. Mold will not grow without water. To prevent its return you must find its current source of water and eliminate it.
How does the FreshStart process work?
The Hydroxyl Radical.
The FreshStart by Prompt Care process uses high concentrations of hydroxyls (OH) . The process involves a proprietary procedure that has as its main components the relationship between oxygen and hydrogen (Hydroxyls) in specific and measured concentration and durations. The FreshStart by Prompt Care process involves using our knowledge of these relationships to apply a prescribed concentration for a prescribed period of time in a strictly controlled area to achieve the elimination of the effects of most odors, bacteria, viruses and surface molds. When the application is completed, the equipment is removed and fans are employed to replace the treated air with fresh outside air through just opened doors and windows. The hydroxyls concentrations are thereby evacuated and concentrations in the treated area are returned to a level that is no higher than the outdoor ambient level. The interior air quality is now “healthier”.
Is the FreshStart process new?
Prompt Care recieved a USPTO Patent for the process on August 5, 2008.
Is the FreshStart Process toxic?
The concentrations of hydrogen and oxygen (Hydroxyls) molecules used during the lockout phase of the FreshStart process can cause lung irritation so exposure during treatment must be avoided. This is the reason that our process requires all pets and people remain outside the area being treated. However, in less than an hour following a treatment, the concentration levels in the area treated will be down to that of the outside air and no harmful residuals will be left behind.
Can you take care of mold?
The FreshStart by Prompt Care process will eliminate the effects of the surface mold it comes into contact with. However mold that is inside of walls or in other areas not accessible to circulating air cannot be treated. In cases where the mold is growing in these areas you must contact a contractor experienced in mold remediation. We will be glad to work with these contractors during their remediation work to ensure your premises are safe for both you and their workers.
What do you charge?
To treat the effects of allergens, pathogens, bacteria, pet dander, dust mites and surface mold in an average 1,500 sq. ft. house the normal charge is about $495.
Are you bonded?
Are your technicians certified?
All our Technicians must pass a rigorous 40 hour course covering all facets of our business as well as get a minimum of 1 month of on-the-job training with a certified Technician.
Is the FreshStart process guaranteed?
We guarantee to significantly reduce the count of viable bacteria per square centimeter in any treated area.
Will it damage anything in my house?
A FreshStart by Prompt Care treatment will not leave behind a film or residue of any kind, only a clean, fresh interior environment.
Will it leave behind a residue?
A FreshStart treatment will not leave behind a film or residue of any kind, only a clean, fresh interior environment.
What about cooking odors or cigarette smoke?
Fish, curry, garlic, onion and other stubborn cooking odors, along with smoking and pet odors are easily removed from the air, as well as from furniture, bedding and carpets. Note that pet smells originating from places where the pet has heavily urinated are not easily cleaned due to the concentration of urine present. We suggest that you try an enzymatic cleaner prior to giving us a call.
Do I have to tent my house?
We do need to have all people, pet and sensitive plants removed while the treatment is in progress but, beyond that, there is very little you must do either before or after. Note that we will send you an Pre-Appointment Checklist which will outline some things you can do to make your treatment more effective.
How long will it be before I can return to my house/office?
Five hours for a typical indoors space of 2,000 sq. ft. or less. An average treatment will take four hours to complete with another hour for our technicians to remove the equipment and complete a post treatment evaluation of the premises.
Will it take care of odors from new carpet or paint?
Materials such as veneers, paints, adhesives and new carpets are vital to the beauty and comfort of homes and offices. Unfortunately, many of these same substances emit strong gases called VOCs (volatile organic compounds) that can make you light-headed or nauseous. FreshStart gets rid of these potent odors in just a few hours.
My company uses chemicals and sometimes the odors infiltrate the office space and become overwhelming, will the FreshStart by Prompt Care process eliminate those odors?
The FreshStart process can also get rid of strong industrial odors. However, as noted above, if the source of the odor(s) is not eliminated it will return.
I always seem to get sick during cold season and I’m sure that it’s something in the air at work, can you help?
In most cases – Yes.
Office buildings are frequently lacking windows that let in fresh air and the air conditioning/heating systems only recirculate the same stale air allowing pollutant levels to build and build. This is an ideal setting for the FreshStart by Prompt Care process. In just a few hours, strong chemical odors can be eliminated and germs, virus, allergen and bacteria counts significantly lowered.
What do I have to do to prepare?
(1). All people and pets must vacate the premises, (2). Delicate plants should be removed, (3). Open all closed areas, such as desk/dresser drawers, storage areas, bath/rest rooms, storage areas and closets, (4). All fabric covered furniture, draperies, tapestries and other textiles should be separated as much as possible to allow maximum air penetration, (5). Bedclothes can be treated along by removing them from the mattress and draping them over chairs and doors.
Can you treat my boat?
We can eliminate the effects of surface mold and fuel odors, along with unpleasant aromas from the bilge and head starting at $495 for a vessel up to 39 feet.
Can you treat my Motor Home?
The FreshStart process is particularly successful in taking out the musty smells in motor homes that have been closed up for the season or ones that are experiencing fuel smells or cooking odors.
What happens when the technician leaves and we open the doors and windows? Doesn’t the yucky stuff start to build up again?
Each home is different.
Each circumstance is different, but we can offer a general set of comments and suggestions, some of which may apply and some may not.
Indoor air quality can be negatively affected from numerous sources that may or may not be reoccurring.
If, for instance, the problems are a reaction to the allergens emitted from a build-up of dust mite feces in bedding or furniture fabrics, we have found that the build up and impact levels generally has built up over several years. Our hydroxyl therapy neutralizes those harmful allergens for sure. But a repeat build up is feasible over a long time if cleaning and air circulation routines remain unchanged over time. The elimination of the allergens at the source however does provide a healthier interior and is less costly than allergy medications prescribed to cover up the symptoms we may have.
Additionally, if mold and musty smells are evident it is usually due to several factors. If moisture, warmth, cellulose and poor ventilation are present at the same time, mold can grow in 72 hours. We, again, eliminate the effects of surface mold and mold spores that may be present. If however, there is a recurring source of moisture such as a leak or a poorly adjusted sprinkler head, it should be remedied first prior to our treatment. We eliminate the effects of the mold that is there, but we do not know what may happen in terms of “new events” that may occur after our treatment.
Pet dander, chemicals from new carpets and paints, and smoking odors are also issues that have an impact on people. We eliminate those things as well, but if someone continues to smoke indoors, it obviously will build up again over time.
Generally, we find that the build up in homes of things that impact health occur over time and can be eliminated with our treatment, then changes in routine can minimize the build up time for the future. Many customers report that annual FreshStart treatments have eliminated or substantially reduced the family member’s use of anithistimes for their allergies.