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Affects mold can have on health

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LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - After the discovery of mold in the basement of the Lawton Police Department, city council members are set to discuss possible solutions during Tuesday night's meeting.

Last week, we told you that the city hired Oklahoma Natural Environmental Specialists to conduct an assessment of the basement.
The company said it found mold growing on a ceiling tile, water stains on the walls and an unusually high level of humidity.
Employees were immediately moved out, and measures are being taken to contain the affected areas. On Monday, 7news reporter Re'Chelle Turner sat down with a local doctor to find out how mold can affect your health.

Doctor Karen Schafer of the Lawton Community Health Center said mold is very common in buildings and homes where moisture is present. It can get in through open doorways, windows,heating and air conditioning systems.

Mold is a fungus, and there are many different types of it. Doctor Karen Schafer said it's everywhere.

"When you are walking around outdoors you are exposed to mold all the time. The way the mold gets into the home is actually usually brought in by us. Your pet comes into the house they got mold on them you have it on your shoes when you are walking in so it does invade the indoor environment because of our going in and out of the house all the time," said Schafer.

She said triple digit temperatures and humidity create the perfect setting for mold to grow.

"Exactly mold loves heat and moisture so we are just in the perfect environment actually it seems like the last few weeks we have really experience some high heat and some moisture you can even look in your grass and see the mushrooms when you see mushrooms growing you know you have fungus," said Schafer.


When people are exposed to mold, Dr,Schafer said the most common reaction is upper respiratory problems.

"Meaning sinusitis, recurring sinusitis or allergic reactions, asthma can be flared so if you are usually under good control and now that it is harder to control you are having to take more of your inhaler use there is sometimes a hyper sensitivity luminous which means lungs so an inflammation of the lungs reacting to that  and that would be a chronic cough or chronic shortness of breath," said Schafer.

She adds there are different types of reactions people have, It just depends on how sensitive they are.

"People with asthma sometimes are actually reaction to the mold so the mold is not unnecessarily in their body its similar to like cat and dog if you are allergic to cat or dog you are having a hyper sensitivity to that...that is the most common thing you see with mold," said Schafer.

Dr. Schafer said if you feel like you are exposed to mold, visit your heath care provider.

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