How Long Do Mold Symptoms Last
The tricky thing about mold exposure is that its different for each person. The amount of time mold exposure symptoms persist depends on:
- What type of mold they are exposed to,
- How long the exposure has been,
- How well their bodies eliminate toxins
Those who process toxins well can see their symptoms disappear as quickly as a few days.
Others who eliminate toxins slowly can experience symptoms for much longer. They could be ill for months or even years after the source of mold is eliminated.
Fungal Organisms In Damp Buildings
A host of mold species have been isolated from damp buildings: the most frequently isolated in one study were Penicillium , Cladosporium , Ulocladium , Geomyces pannorum , and Sistronema brinkmannii . There were 66 species of filamentous fungi, and yeasts were found in 94% of dwellings and 13% of CFU on Anderson sampler plates. In contrast to the aforementioned species, Stachybotrys was less common, being found in 12.8% of dwellings and 4.5% of samples. Other studies have reported similar organism frequencies 1) . In most studies, Stachybotrys has had a low prevalence, being present in less than 3% of samples . However, some recent work has suggested that it may be more common than was initially thought . Regardless, Stachybotrys is rarely found in isolation, nearly always occurring in the presence of other fungi . This fact is critical, since many of the other species are capable of producing mycotoxins , and recent work suggests that volatiles from S. chartarum may represent a small fraction of the total amount present in problem buildings where other fungi exist .
Sneezing And Nasal Congestion
While many things can trigger sneezing, its also a symptom of mold toxicity that should get your attention. If youve never had allergies or hay fever symptoms and youre positive you dont have a cold, those sneezes could be indicative of mold exposure.
Sneezing is the immune systems standard response to allergens. It could also be a warning sign that your home has a mold problem.
Recommended Reading: Clean Mold Off Leather Jacket
Can Black Mold Cause Respiratory Problems
In a residential setting, people are generally exposed to black mold through breathing in mold spores and mycotoxins. When ingested, mold spores have the potential to cause irritation and a burning sensation in air passages, such as the nasal cavity, mouth, and throat.
Some common symptoms for respiratory issues from black mold exposure include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Nose bleeds
- Runny, itchy, or stuffy nose
- Bleeding gums
- Burning sensation of the mouth
- Bleeding or swelling in the lungs
Watery Or Irritated Eyes
When allergens are present, the body releases histamines as part of its immune response. This histamine release is what causes the eyes to water excessively when exposed to toxins from mold.
This reaction from histamine may be the bodys way of flushing out allergens and toxins. It can serve as a warning to you that your environment may contain dangerous black mold.
Also Check: How To Clean Black Mold Off Ceiling
Exposure Sources And Prevention
The primary sources of mold exposure are from the indoor air in buildings with substantial mold growth and the ingestion of food with mold growths.
While mold and related microbial agents can be found both inside and outside, specific factors can lead to significantly higher levels of these microbes, creating a potential health hazard. Several notable factors are water damage in buildings, the use of building materials which provide a suitable substrate and source of food to amplify mold growth, relative humidity, and energy-efficient building designs, which can prevent proper circulation of outside air and create a unique ecology in the built environment. A common issue with mold hazards in the household can be the placement of furniture, resulting in a lack of ventilation of the nearby wall. The simplest method of avoiding mold in a home so affected is to move the furniture in question.
Prevention of mold exposure and its ensuing health issues begins with the prevention of mold growth in the first place by avoiding a mold-supporting environment. Extensive flooding and water damage can support extensive mold growth. Following hurricanes, homes with greater flood damage, especially those with more than 3 feet of indoor flooding, demonstrated far higher levels of mold growth compared with homes with little or no flooding.
What Are Microbial Volatile Organic Compounds
Another source of irritation from mold exposure comes from substances knownas microbial volatile organic compounds . These compounds are producedthrough fungal metabolism and are released directly into the air, often givingoff strong or unpleasant odors. Exposure to mVOCs from molds can irritate theeyes and respiratory system and has been linked to symptoms such as headaches,dizziness, fatigue, nasal irritation and nausea. The effects of mVOCs are notcompletely understood and research is still in the early stages.
Read Also: Mold Off Leather
Can Mold Harm Your Brain
- May 21, 2020
- Betsy Mills, PhD
It is well established that exposure to mold increases the risk for respiratory disorders , but could it also impact brain health and the risk for cognitive decline? While there have been no conclusive epidemiological studies linking mold exposure to dementia, there is evidence from case studies to suggest that mold exposure may contribute to cognitive impairment in a subset of susceptible people .
It has been difficult to establish whether there is a direct link because not every person who is exposed to mold will experience cognitive symptoms. Instead, it appears that there is only a small subset of people who will be affected. Unfortunately, there is currently no way to identify this vulnerable subset before they show symptoms. No specific type of mold or level of exposure has been associated with increased risk for cognitive symptoms . Several possibilities have been put forth to try to explain how mold exposure could affect cognition, which may provide some insight into why some people are at higher risk.
Stress: Chronic exposure to mold is typically associated with stressful conditions, such as low socioeconomic status, or water damage to ones home or workplace . Stress can also cause inflammation. Therefore, some of the negative health effects from mold exposure, including cognitive effects, could arise from the bodys response to stressful conditions, rather than the mold itself.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Get the latest brain health news:
Eliminate The Source Of Mold
Mold can grow anywhere there is dampness. To reduce the risk of mold in your home or office, fix water leaks. Use fans to circulate the air and dry the area. Clean susceptible areas like bathrooms often and use ventilation fans to decrease the humidity in your home. When cleaning, make sure that you wear a mask to prevent the inhalation of mold spores. Once you finish cleaning moldy areas, wash your clothing immediately, and take a shower to prevent spreading mold spores throughout your home. If your home has been subjected to extensive water damage, contact a mold remediation specialist and have your home professionally cleaned. The cleaners may recommend carpets, draperies, and upholstery to be disposed of if they cannot be properly cleaned by the professional.
Mold can be several different colors, including green, black, and brown. Sometimes mold will appear as a spot and begin to grow. Mold has a musty, earthy smell. Mold can be hidden behind drywall, under carpets, or behind wallpaper. Routinely inspect your roof, basement, and crawl space for moisture. Check plumbing pipes, kitchens, laundry rooms, and bathrooms for any signs of mold. Routine inspections of these areas can prevent a large mold infestation. As soon as you notice the first traces of mold, use a mixture of bleach and water to clean the area, and destroy the mold spores.
Read Also: Shower Ceiling Mold Removal
How Long Does It Take For A Person To Feel The Effects Of Black Mold
Black mold causes many health problems. It is often difficult to tell exactly what the time frame is for a person to feel the effects of exposure to black mold. Some symptoms and maladies show up immediately, others take several days, and others can actually take years of exposure to cause a definitive health issue.
An Overview Of Toxic Mold
Air pollutants are a fact of life in todays world. However, some are worse than others. Water damage that occurs in buildings can create the perfect environment for mold to grow and thrive, while mycotoxins in the air may trigger a myriad of health issues.
Common types of mold found in todays homes include Aspergillus, Penicillium, and Cladosporium. Stachybotrys chartarum is what people often mean when they refer to toxic mold or black mold. Typically, this type of mold is caused by exposure to water or buildup of water on surfaces like particleboard, paper, and wood.
Also Check: Uv Lights To Remove Mold
Understanding The Health Problems Associated With Black Mold
While certain molds are toxigenic, meaning they can produce mycotoxins, the molds themselves are not toxic or poisonous. However, that doesnt mean that certain types of toxic molds cant cause serious health problems. In fact, there are reports that Stachybotrys chartarum causes memory loss in adults in acute pulmonary hemorrhaging among infants. The sooner you have your home or business tested for black mold , the sooner the mold will be removed, and the less likely you will be to suffer from the following health problems.
Respiratory Difficulties People living in homes or working in businesses with toxic mold are exposed mainly through breathing in mold spores and mycotoxins in the air. Exposure to black mold can cause minor respiratory difficulties such as shortness of breath, wheezing, and coughing. Long-term exposure can lead to more serious difficulties, including pulmonary edema and pulmonary hemorrhage .
Circulatory Difficulties The mycotoxins produced by black mold can be breathed in, ingested, or absorbed through a persons skin. After prolonged exposure, these mycotoxins find their way into the persons bloodstream. The circulatory difficulties stemming from black mold exposure include irregular heartbeat, heart inflammation, internal bleeding, and blood clots. If your doctor has diagnosed any such circulatory problems, schedule a mold inspection today.
Testing For Mould In Your Home
Where mould is visible, it is generally not considered necessary to test for it in the home. However, not all mould is visible, as contamination may be in cavities or the ceiling. Generally, if you can see or smell mould, you need to clean up and remove the mould immediately, as mould can damage surfaces it grows on.
If you suspect mould contamination but cannot find the source of the problem, or if you have already taken measures to prevent mould from growing and you are still having problems, you could employ an occupational hygienist or environmental health and safety professional. For a fee, these professionals can provide specialist mould testing and consultancy services.
Recommended Reading: Black Mold On Ceiling In Bathroom
What Can You Do
In addition to visible mould, other signs of damp problems may include: mould odour, water stains, frequent condensation, peeling or cracked paint or wall paper, damp basement, and standing water under or around the house.
No safe levels of indoor dampness and or mould have been defined. So health-based standards or guidelines do not exist.
Nonetheless, there are several practicable measures you can take to prevent or minimise indoor mould. These include adequately heating and, in colder climates, insulating your home to reduce air humidity levels and condensation.
Install and use appropriate ventilation, particularly in wet areas or areas where water vapour may be emitted, such as bathrooms, laundries and kitchen areas.
Its also critical to avoid water leaks by controlling and maintaining rain and surface water drainage. Where holes are created in the roof or walls to allow skylights, windows, doors, pipes or other structures to be fitted, make sure these are watertight.
If you find visible mould in your home, remove the mould and identify and address the cause of the excess moisture. Clean hard surfaces using soap and water or, if mould growth is persistent, a bleach solution could be used. You may need to throw away absorbent materials such as carpets, depending on the level of contamination.
In case of extensive mould damage, you may need to call on commercial mould remediation services.
What Is Fungal Endocarditis
A rare and serious medical condition, endocarditis is the inflammation of the endocardium our hearts inner lining. Its usually caused by bacterial overgrowth that happens when our immune system is unable to fight off bacteria. The bacteria can enter our bloodstream when we brush our teeth, if we have gum disease, or use a contaminated needle.
This infection can also be caused by fungi, in which case were talking about fungal endocarditis. This infection is even more serious than the one caused by bacteria, as it cant be treated with antibiotics. The most common fungi responsible for these infections are the candida and aspergillus fungi.
Recommended Reading: Remove Black Mold From Ceiling
How To Minimize Your Risk
To know how to protect yourself, start by knowing where mold spores thrive. Besides growing best in warm, damp, humid spots. Outside, youll find mold in shady, damp areas or where leaves or other vegetation break down. Inside, mold grows in high-humidity locations, such as basements and showers, she says.
If you are prone to breathing problems, such as asthma, you should consider limiting exposure to damp, humid areas such as basements and saunas, she says.
Here are other things you can do to minimize your mold exposure risk:
- Use an air conditioner or dehumidifier to keep humidity levels below 50% at all times.
- Check the humidity level in your home at least once a day because humidity changes with temperature shifts.
- Be sure your home is adequately ventilated. If you have exhaust fans, use them especially when you shower.
- Use paints fortified with mold inhibitors.
- Use mold-killing bathroom cleaning products, such as bleach.
- Dont carpet bedrooms or bathrooms. If you own your home and can afford to, remove carpeting from your home and replace with another surface, such as laminate tile, thats easy to clean.
- Remove or replace carpets and upholstery that have gotten wet or soaked through in the past as these are breeding grounds for mold spores.
Symptoms Of Circulatory Problems
The spores that enter your body through the respiratory system eventually make it to your bloodstream which enables them to travel throughout your body and subsequently to affect the heart and the circulatory system.
Black mold symptoms related to the circulatory system include bone marrow disruption, clotting of blood, bruising, internal bleeding, heart inflammation, irregularity of heartbeat, low blood pressure, and blood in vomit. More severe symptoms can lead to heart attack or long-term heart damage.
You May Like: How To Clean Mold Off Ceiling Above Shower
The Good News Is Mold And Mycotoxin Illness Is Treatable
Once you determine mold is making you ill, there are many treatments to remedy the situation. First and foremost, the source of the mold must be eliminated. Consider hiring a professional remediation crew so you dont risk exposing yourself to more mold spores and mycotoxins. Remediation can be an expensive process, so make sure you get quotes from a variety of mold remediation companies.
Plus, here are some ways to eliminate mold from your body, and reduce the recurrence of mold in your home
- Binders and sequestering agents such as activated charcoal, bentonite clay, chlorella, zeolite, and cholestyramine bind to mycotoxins and remove them. They also help to prevent the reabsorption of mycotoxins in the gut.
- Sauna therapyis an excellent way to remove mycotoxins from your body. In fact there is research showing that orchatoxin is excreted through sweat.
- Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant that helps support detox pathways, and can be used in conjunction with saunas to help mobilize and remove mycotoxins. If taken orally, 1 tsp a day will suffice. It can be administered intravenously as well.
- Probiotics like Lactobacillus rhamnosus can degrade or bind certain species of aflatoxin.
- Make sure other yeasts in the body such as Candida are under control. Sometimes its necessary to use systemic herbal antifungals.
- Exercise in any form will increase blood flow throughout the body and increase the mobilization of mycotoxins from fat stores.
How Can I Breathe In Mold
Although mold appears to us as a solid, fuzzy, growth, it is much more complex. Mold spreads by sending tiny, invisible spores into the air. They then land on other surfaces and allow new colonies to grow. If you have mold growing in your home, these spores can travel through the air, even in the ventilation, and you breathe them in.
Don’t Miss: How To Clean Mold Spots Off Bathroom Ceiling
Can Fungal Infections Cause Heart Problems
Although fungal infections are rarely serious health conditions, in some cases they can cause severe complications. Most of these complications happen when the fungi enter the bloodstream and affect other parts of the body such as the lungs, brain, and the heart. When they affect the heart, its possible to develop a condition called fungal endocarditis.
In this article, we will be exploring what happens when fungal infections cause heart problems.
What Causes Mould To Grow Indoors
Mould only grows when there is sufficient moisture on a surface or humidity in the air. Common causes include:
- leaky roofs and walls including and blocked gutters and downpipes
- leaky plumbing
- condensation from cooking, showering, clothes drying and from breathing inareas with poor air circulation eg cupboards and corners and furniture against uninsulated outside walls. Avoid conditions encouraging mould growth, by using heat, insulation and ventilation. The cheapest and easiest way of reducing moisture and humidity levels is by ventilating a room by opening a door or window. Use exhaust fans where available.
You May Like: How To Get Rid Of Mold On Shower Ceiling