How Mold Affects Your Immune System
Exposure to household mold can affect the immune system and compromised immunity also makes you more susceptible to mold-related health problems. Thats why infants are at higher risk for mold-related illness their immune systems arent fully functioning yet. Thats also why we recommend people with immune-related disorders not attempt to clean up household mold themselves their immune systems may not be strong enough to deal with the increased exposure to mold spores during the cleanup process.
Mood Congruence: Good Mood Good Memories
The mood youre in when you encode a memory has an effect on how easy it is to recall the memory later. And, your mood state at the time of retrieval also impacts your ability to recall a memory.
One phenomenon being studied is mood congruence, the idea that moods promote the processing of events and information that fit with the same emotional tone. Were more likely to remember happy events, words, and faces if we are happy at the time. Same goes for sad moods -we remember negative information better when our emotions are shadowy.
Mood congruence works even for very, very old memories that have a negative or positive tone. People are better at remembering childhood events that match their prevailing mood , and depressed patients tend to remember negative childhood memories and have a better memory for negative things in general. Another study showed that when depressed patients memorize a list of words, then are asked to complete the start of a word , they use the negative words from the list more often than the positive ones .
Depressed patients also remember sad faces better than happy ones.
Mold Toxicity Vs Mold Allergies
Often times confusion surrounds the different mold illnesses, specifically mold toxicity and mold allergies. These two separate illnesses illicit different reactions in the body and can affect a person differently.
Mold allergies are caused by mold spores that become inhaled and stimulate symptoms similar to those of hay fever . Mold toxicity, in comparison to mold allergies, is caused by the volatile toxic vapors that are dispersed by mold that in turn elicits a chronic inflammatory response.
Diagnosing this condition is very hard, especially for medical professionals who often misdiagnose it because of the wide variation of possible symptoms. The first step in diagnosing mold toxicity or even mold allergies is identifying mold within your environment, particularly in your home.
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My Feet Developed Fungus
My feet developed some kind of fungus. I usually walked barefoot around the house. Janet bought me a foot bath and tea tree oil, but it didnt help. Probably because I continued to go barefoot. Richard didnt get it, likely because he always wore house slippers. At the time, none of us realized that the carpet had mold/fungus in it.
Health Effects Of Mold Exposure Symptoms
Even for people in good health, exposure to large amounts of mycotoxins and molds can overwhelm the immune system and cause symptoms of poisoning. Mycotoxins can be especially dangerous for people with compromised immune systems. Symptoms that are associated with allergic reactions are highlighted in italics.
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So What Is A Mycotoxin
Mycotoxins, literally fungus poison in Latin, are secondary metabolites that can be produced by molds, and are not living organisms. Mycotoxins are a byproduct of mold. Not all mold spores produce mycotoxins, but some do. So the molds that produce mycotoxins are the ones that could be categorized as toxic or poisonous.
So, where is the line between an allergic mold and a toxic mold? That line is defined by the presence of mycotoxins, and is NOT defined by color. Mycotoxins are invisible and cannot be detected just by looking at the mold growth.
Diy Vs Professional Mold Removal
Once you have had a home inspection, you may wonder if professional help is really necessary. Customers often ask us, Can I clean the mold myself or do I need a professional? Our answer depends several factors including:
- how extensive the mold problem is
- what building materials, furnishings, and belongings are affected
- where the mold is located
- whether or not you mind being in confined spaces such as your crawlspace, basement, or attic
If youre familiar with our blog, you know that the first thing to do when cleaning mold is to fix the moisture problem that led to the mold growth. Until you fix the moisture problem, mold will continue to grow and spread.
Its time to call in the professionals when:
- you smell a musty odor in your home you cant identify
- there is an area of mold larger than 10 square feet
- you have health problems associated with mold
Mold is great at hiding in hard to detect locations such as in drywall and insulation. If the area of mold covers more than about 10 square feet, there is a good chance the mold problem is more than an isolated issue. If the area of mold is less than 10 square feet, you may be able to handle it yourself. To get all the details check out our post: Cleaning Mold: DIY vs. Professional.
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How To Check For Mold In A House
If you suspect a mold source in your home the first thing you will want to do is test/check for mold in your environment. Even if you do not suspect mold inside your home, you should still do a simple test to ensure mold growth is not occurring in your home, particularly if you are experiencing unexplainable symptoms.
Mold toxicity can be a devious stealer of health. When checking for mold growth you should look for these three characteristics mold growth, moisture/water leaks, and health symptoms.
Symptoms Of Mold Illness Everyone Needs To Know
Mold is not something to take lightly in your home. You should monitor for mold in your house on a weekly basis and take precautions to kill any mold on sight, mainly to avoid any life-threatening mold illnesses.
Thats right, mold doesnt just look nasty in your bathroom, it can be devastating to your health, too.
And the worst part of all? You may not even know youre suffering from a mold-related illness.
To keep you and your family safe, check out this mini-guide on how to get rid of mold and, most importantly, how to tell if youre suffering from a mold illness.
HOW DO YOU GET RID OF MOLD?
So youre doing your weekly sweep for mold checking any moist spots like under sinks and in bathrooms, corners, and near windows and you see a big black spot. Gross.
The two best options? Spray the mold with bleach or a designated mold killer.
Spray the molded spot with your weapon of choice. Let the chemicals sit for a while before scrubbing the mold away with a bristle brush. We highly suggest opening some windows to air out the room, because either product will stink up a room easily.
Also, invest in some protective face masks to wear when youre handling mold. The last thing you want is to accidentally ingest mold when trying to clean it away.
WHAT IS MOLD ILLNESS?
You are most prone to mold illness if you live in a home where mold is most rampant. Mold tends to thrive in damp, dark, and humid places, like in typically warmer environments or in basement level apartments.
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Four Types Of Mold In Our Home
Three of the mold spore types initially found in my home were known to pose threats to the respiratory system and/or brain. These included aspergillius, pennicilium, and cladosporium. The other mold, basidiospores, is not talked about much, as it is generally found in gardens and forests not in homes.
But the level of basidiospores in my home was 640, as compared to the levels found in the air outside my home, which was < 13. The mold inspector was a little surprised about the higher reading inside our home. He said that particular type of mold spore is usually found more outdoors than inside. Yet in my home they were like 600 times higher inside, than out.
Basidiospores is a type of fungus that comes from mushrooms. The spores travel in the wind, and can get inside your home through an open door or window. I used to open my front door to allow fresh air inside on cooler days. So its possible that it got into my home that way.
How Do You Choose A Mold Removal Company
Have you ever had mold removed from your home? Do you know what to ask mold removal companies? What do mold removal companies really do?
As a mold removal company, we know what you should expect and what the industry standards should be. Some of our competitors offer free mold inspections. Which basically means that the inspector shows up and hands over a price to fix a symptom, without truly knowing the nature of the problem. The primary reason that we charge for our mold inspections is the time and resources that go into each one.
If you think you might have a mold problem, youre far better off with a thorough inspection like ours. We analyze the symptoms to determine the root cause of your problem, and will only recommend solutions that will solve the actual problem.
Especially if you live outside our service area, check out our post: How to Choose the Best Mold Removal Company. We let you know what you should expect and what the industry standards should be. If the company you interview doesnt know the answer to the questions in our article, you dont want to hire them!
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Linking Mold Depression And Anxiety
Linking Mold, Depression, and Anxiety
Recently, emerging evidence between depression, anxiety, and environmental factors has surfaced. Exposure to mold is most commonly associated with allergies and asthma. However, it is now thought to be associated with many complex health problems, since black mold species such as Aspergillus, Fusarium and Stachybotrys. These black molds produce mycotoxins that are toxic to central parts of the body, including the brain.
When the environmental conditions are right and toxic black molds begin to grow, they produce by-products that are released from the growth area, they include MVOCs, Spores, and Mycotoxins. Many mycotoxins are neurotoxins causing lesions in the brain in the grey matter and the white matter. This directly affects the frontal cortex, cause dopamine dysfunction which can create psychological disorders like anxiety or depression. These disorders occurs when the nerve cells in the brain that make dopamine are slowly destroyed. Without dopamine, the nerve cells in that part of the brain cannot properly send messages.
About 40% of the residents lived in visibly damp, moldy households, and overall their risk for depression averaged 3444% higher than that for residents of mold-free dwellings, with moderate exposure associated with the highest increase in risk.
My ears were ringing and it felt as if my head was about to explode.
I had anxiety, brain fog, memory and cognition problems, difficult concentrating and speaking.
Arranging For Mold Removal
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommends consulting your physician before beginning the mold removal process if you have health issues, to make sure its safe for you to clean up mold yourself or to be present during the cleanup process. If you think you may need to hire a professional, you can schedule a free in-home consultation with an experienced mold removal professional to discuss your needs. Just follow this link to find qualified professionals offering free consultations in your area.
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What Does Mold Look Like
There are numerous types of common mold that can all look different. Common household varieties include: Cladosporium, Penicillium, Alternaria, and Aspergillus, and less common, more serious varieties, like Stachybotrys Chartarum, referred to as black mold.
Mold is a multicellular organism with filament or thread-like structures called hyphae. Some varieties look like a member of the dandelion family when the flower has gone to seed this is only visible when greatly magnified.
In your home, mold will appear in a colony usually visible scattered across a wall, attached to clothing, in a shower or bathtub, or hidden in walls or around the plumbing. Wherever there is moisture, and something to attach to, mold can develop. It comes in different colors and more than one variety can appear together. Mold can appear light or even white, off white, grey, various shades of brown or brownish green, or black. Black is considered the most dangerous to health.
What Does Black Mold Smell Like In A Home
Before I begin speaking on the dangers of black mold in a home, let me first introduce myself. My name is Victor Coppola- I am a building biologist at GreenWorks with decades of indoor mold and air-quality testing experience. I have come across countless homes that contain different types of molds throughout my career. But to me, black mold has always been the most concerning.
On many occasions, I have visited other peoples homes and caught the old musty scent of a black mold infestation. And when I inform the homeowners of this black mold smell, they often tell me, Its alright. It has been there for some time, and we are ok with it.
Not to burst their bubble, but a black mold smellis a tell-tale sign of an unhealthy place to live. As much as people might try to minimize the severity of a mold growth issue, nobody enjoys waking up to the smell of black mold in the morning and more importantly, it is extremely dangerous to your health.
But what exactly is black mold?
The idea of a black mold can be misleading. Black mold is a nickname used for a type of toxic mold called Stachybotrys that can range from greenish-black to oily-black in color.
In addition, black mold is categorized as toxigenic, not poisonous. When you say toxigenic, it means that although the molds arent outright harmful, they can produce toxins .
So, what exactly are the dangers of black mold, and how can you smell it growing in your home? Lets discuss.
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What Does The Research Say About Memory Loss And Mold
A psychologist from City University of New York named Cheryl Harding studied the effect of mold exposure on mice, particularly the effect on their memory. She and her colleagues put low doses of Stachybotrys mold spores directly into the noses of mice three times a week. After just three weeks, the researchers could see that the mice were having trouble with short-term memory. They had trouble remembering a frightening place. They also seemed increasingly anxious.
According to an article in Science News, when compared to mice in a control group that hadnt been exposed to mold, they had fewer new brain cells in the hippocampus, a part of the brain related to memory.
Its noteworthy that the mice experienced problems with memory after being exposed to mold for just three weeks. We dont know what effect longer periods of exposure to mold might have on memory, but its certainly possible the effect would be even greater.
Of course, mice arent people, but people living in homes with lots of mold often do complain of memory problems and other cognitive problems, and the brains of mice are similar to those of humans, which is why mice are often used in medical experiments. Research suggests mold may affect humans in similar ways.
Mold Toxicity And Neurologic Symptoms
Mold toxicity and mold allergies do not refer to the same illness. Mold allergies usually occur when you accidentally inhale or ingest mold spores. This can cause cold or flu-like symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, wheezing, itchy skin, and watery eyes. On the other hand, mold toxicity is a chronic inflammatory response caused by volatile toxins produced by mold. Prolonged exposure to mold can make it difficult for your body to get rid of toxic vapors produced by mold.
It is frequently misdiagnosed because it can manifest itself in many different symptoms. Toxic mold can cause a chronic inflammatory response such as multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, fatigue, and histamine intolerance, which do not often respond well to treatment. Unfortunately, mold toxicity is not always included as part of the differential diagnosis as it is not on the radar for many medical practitioners. Some of the neurologic symptoms of toxic mold include weakness, light sensitivity, sinus problems, blurred vision, concentration and memory issues, tremors and a general feeling of numbness.
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Black Mold Something Of A Misnomer
Before we go any further, lets clear up the confusion about black mold. When you read about toxic black mold it is kind of misleading. The thing is dangerous and toxic mold is not just black, it can be many different colors. Toxic molds can appear to be green, yellow, brown, and black.
All molds have the potential to cause irritation and allergy symptoms. However, some molds can also cause much more dangerous health problems. Some molds, but not all, produce mycotoxins. Not all molds are toxic, but many are.Mycotoxins can cause health problems ranging from poisoning to cancer.
When Immunity Is Compromised
As you read previously, there are many components of the immune system. If something goes wrong with any of those cells, tissues or organs, the system doesnt function normally. A number of medical conditions can affect immunity, including HIV, AIDS, cancer, splenectomy , and autoimmune disorders. Some medications, including chemotherapy, can also decrease immune functioning.
If you have compromised immunity, youll be much more susceptible to mold-related illness. Youll also find it much more difficult to fight off infection and it may take you much longer than other people to recover.
If you have a condition that affects your immunity, be sure to consult your doctor right away if youve discovered mold in your home. Even if you arent currently experiencing symptoms of mold-related illness, its best to consult with your doctor to find out if you need to take any special precautions to prevent becoming ill from the mold. Of course, youll also want to have the mold removed from your home as soon as possible, in order to prevent becoming ill.
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