Mold refers to forms of fungi that are found naturally in the environment in soil and on dead and decaying matter. Indoors, mold spores move through the air and settle on surfaces. It relies on moisture and a food source, such as cloth, wood, wallboard and insulation. If they land on a damp spot on these surfaces, they may begin to grow and multiply within 24 to 48 hours.
Mold spores can also land in the lungs and can cause health problems similar to allergy symptoms, including:
- Runny nose
- Scratchy throat
- Itchy eyes
More severe cases can cause wheezing and coughing that could indicate asthma. If you think you have symptoms related to mold exposure, you should see your doctor.
Mold’s color can be green, black, white, brown and orange, and its appearance can be fuzzy or in slimy streaks. It often has a musty or earthy odor. Click here for tips on how to clean mold or read the Homeowner’s and Renter’s Guide to Mold.
District 4’s Environmental Health Offices can address mold issues in food service operations and tourist accommodations. To file a mold-related complaint, contact your county’s Environmental Health Office. If there is a mold issue in other businesses, private residences or rental properties, visit our Resources page for more information.
Mosquitos are small insects that can transmit diseases, such as Malaria and Zika, through their bites. These diseases are caused by bacteria, viruses or parasites and can affect both animals and humans. Click here to learn more about mosquito-borne diseases.
You can protect yourself and your family from mosquito-borne illness by taking action to prevent bites, such as:
- Consider your clothing.
- Wear loose-fitting, light-colored long shirts and pants, as well as socks to reduce exposed skin. You can also treat your clothing with permethrin, an insecticide that can provide protection even after multiple washes.
- Use repellent.
- Cover exposed skin with an EPA-registered insect repellent with an active ingredient of DEET, Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE), Picaridin, IR3535 or para-menthane-diol (PMD). Use only as directed and repellents are safe and effective for children and pregnant and breastfeeding women.
- Block them out.
- In areas at high-risk of mosquito-borne illnesses, cover beds and strollers with mosquito netting. Make sure your dwelling has air conditioning and screens on its windows and doors.
- Remove standing water.
- Mosquitos lay their eggs near water, so removing sources of standing water will reduce mosquito larvae before they become adults. Empty and scrub, turn over, cover or throw out indoor and outdoor items that hold water, such as tires, buckets, planters, pools, birdbaths, clogged ditches and pipes, and leaky faucets. Learn more from Georgia’s Tip ‘n Toss Campaign.
Bed bugs (Cimex lectularius) are small, flat, parasitic insects that feed solely on the blood of people and animals while they sleep. Bed bugs are reddish-brown in color, wingless, range from 1mm to 7mm (roughly the size of Lincoln’s head on a penny), and can live several months without a blood meal.
Bed bugs are found across the world near areas where people sleep, such as apartments, shelters, hotels, cruise ships, trains and more. Their presence is not determined by the cleanliness of the living conditions where they are found. Bed bugs are often transported as people travel, in seams and folds of luggage, clothes, bedding or furniture.
Bedbugs are not known to carry disease, but their presence can cause lack of sleep, itching and scratching, and their bite could potentially cause an allergic reaction. They hide during the day but may be seen in the folds of sheets.
Signs of bedbugs may include:
- Small bite marks on face, neck, arms or hands (could take up to 14 days for mark to develop)
- Molted exoskeletons
- Rusty-colored blood spots
- Sweet, musty odor
Bed bug infestations are commonly treated by insecticide spraying. For a bite, the best remedy is to avoid scratching the area, apply antiseptic and take an antihistamine. If you suspect that you have an infestation, contact your landlord or professional pest control company that is experienced with treating bed bugs. The best way to prevent bed bugs is regular inspection for the signs of an infestation.