RUSTON, La. (KNOE) - A Ruston couple is fighting illnesses after they say inspectors found mold in their home. They say the problem forced them to move out, and now their home is completely unlivable.
"Stuff you've never had before,” said Margaret Golmon. “How do you know to look for this stuff if you're not familiar with what's happening to you?"
Less than a year after Margaret and Richard Golmon moved into their Ruston home, they started feeling sick.
"We were itching and he had welts," Margaret said.
Three years later, they say inspectors found mold all over their home.
"When we first found it, it was in the air conditioning,” Richard said. “It was on the walls, in the ceilings and everything."
Margaret says her symptoms made it hard to breathe. She says they were so bad, she had to move.
"It's very scary to be homeless and you can't live with family,” Margaret said. “They don't have room."
Luckily, they found a place to rent in Farmerville, but it didn't take away their symptoms or their doctor bills.
"That first time we went over there, we were over there a day and a half and we spent over $3000 dollars," said Richard.
Alpa Patel with the LSU Ag Center says Golmons' symptoms are typical of mold exposure.
"Anything with breathing, it could affect,” said Patel. “It can cause sometimes skin allergies. It just depends on where it is found and how close you are to it. It just needs to be removed any type it is."
Mold is a type of fungus that produces small cells called spores. Patel says the spores act like seeds and they should not grow indoors, but can when there's moisture.
"Look for leaks, and if there aren't any leaks, then you look for moisture or condensation,” Patel said. “Common places are kitchens, bathrooms."
Patel says if you see or smell anything suspicious, it's probably mold.
She says you should not only clean it, but find the source and get rid of it. That's something the Golmons wish they'd found out before the bills piled up.
"It's going into foreclosure because I can't pay rent and a house unless I can pull something out of a hat, which I'm trying to do," Margaret said.
They say they hope their story helps others before the problem grows out of hand.
"It's not for us, but if somebody sees this, let it help the other people," Richard said.
For more information on mold, you can call the LSU Ag Center at 318-323-2251 or stop by at 704 Cypress St. in West Monroe.