Signs Of A Mold Illness
The Health Effects Of Mold On Children
· Updated 09/13/2019
Although mold awareness has increased considerably in recent years, it still often happens that people who are suffering from mold symptoms dont realize it, assuming that they have hay fever or a cold. It is quite difficult indeed to define whether a symptom is mold-related or not, as the relation between the harmful microorganisms and many health issues is not yet proven and needs further studies to be confirmed. Nevertheless, if you have mold in your home and a member of your family is feeling sick for no logical or apparent reasons, the noxious fungus is almost certainly the culprit.
Mold may be making you sick without you even realizing it.
Mold produces tiny, lightweight spores which not only initiate new mold growth but also compromise the indoor air quality. When inhaled, these spores cause the immune system to respond by creating allergic reactions as a natural defense against the foreign particles entering the body. This response, however, can result in various health problems and severe allergic symptoms. Different people react to mold exposure in different ways, but children, seniors, and sickness-prone people are usually most vulnerable to the negative effects of mold. The type and severity of the symptoms depend on the types of mold present in the home and the extent of mold exposure, but youngsters whose immune systems have not yet fully developed can be at risk for really serious complications.
What Is Farmer’s Lung
Farmer’s Lung is an allergic disease usually caused by breathing in the dust from moldy hay. However, dust from any moldy crop – straw, corn, silage, grain, or even tobacco – can also cause Farmer’s Lung.
The technical name for Farmer’s Lung is “extrinsic allergic alveolitis“, “hypersensitivity alveolitis” or more generally “hypersensitivity pneumonitis”. The “-itis” word ending means inflammation, so “alveolitis” means inflammation of the alveoli. “Pneumonitis” means inflammation of the lungs . There is a diagram of parts of the lung and respiratory system in the document How Do Particulates Enter the Respiratory System?.
As the name suggests, Farmer’s Lung is caused by inhaling certain allergy-causing dust found in some agricultural operations. A recent study shows that exposure to organochlorines and carbamate pesticides may also be risk factors for farmer’s lung. However, “extrinsic allergic alveolitis” or “hypersensitivity pneumonitis” are general medical terms that include other lung conditions resulting from exposure to allergy-causing dusts found in different kinds of workplaces or locations. Examples of related lung conditions are available in the extrinsic allergic alveolitis document.
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How Does Mold In Lungs Cause Illness
Mold can cause respiratory illness in a number of ways.
First, it causes irritation to the delicate lining of the bronchi and the tiny bronchioles in the lungs. Inflammation and irritation of the bronchioles make it difficult to get enough air through, causing wheezing and labored breathing. Asthma attacks may occur. Infection of the bronchi, called bronchitis, can also result from mold in the air passages.
Second, microscopic particles of mold that are not expelled by coughing can lead to pneumonia when they become lodged in the lungs. Symptoms of pneumonia range from moderate to severe and include fever, shortness of breathing, coughing, and chest pain when you cough or breathe.
Third, since mold is a foreign substance in the body, it can trigger an immune response in the form of an allergic reaction. This can cause respiratory symptoms as well as an itchy rash or hives.
Finally, some types of mold produce toxic substances called mycotoxins, which may cause a wide range of health problems.
Some people are more susceptible to mold-related illness than others, including small children, elderly people, people with pre-existing respiratory disorders like asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder , and people with weakened immune systems, like those with HIV/AIDS or those undergoing chemotherapy.
Breathing Problems Caused By Exposure To Toxic Mold
Black mold is fungus that lives naturally in the environment. Often referred to as toxic mold, the Centers for Disease Control educates that no proven link has been found between black mold and serious health conditions in exposed individuals. Exposure to black mold, as well as other types of mold, may cause health reactions in some people. The CDC, however, states that respiratory problems are more likely to arise in people with underlying respiratory conditions, such as asthma, than healthy individuals. Medical evaluation can help determine if breathing problems are due to mold exposure.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
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Causes Of Damp And Mould
Mould and damp are caused by excess moisture. Moisture in buildings can be caused by leaking pipes, rising damp in basements or ground floors, or rain seeping in because of damage to the roof or around window frames.
A newly built home may be damp if the water used when building it is still drying out for example, in the plaster on the walls. Excess moisture indoors can also be caused by condensation.
If you have mould or damp it’s important to find out why you have excess moisture in your home. When you know what’s causing the damp, you can make sure your home is repaired or take steps to limit the moisture in the air. You may need to get a professional to remove mould for you, but if it’s only a small amount you may be able to remove it yourself.
Page last reviewed: 8 August 2018 Next review due: 8 August 2021
A Qualified Environmental Lab Took Samples Of The Mold In My Home And Gave Me The Results Can Cdc Interpret These Results
Standards for judging what is an acceptable, tolerable or normal quantity of mold have not been established. Sampling for mold can be expensive, and standards for judging what is and what is not an acceptable quantity of mold have not been set. The best practice is to remove the mold and work to prevent future growth. If you do decide to pay for environmental sampling for molds, before the work starts, you should ask the consultants who will do the work to establish criteria for interpreting the test results. They should tell you in advance what they will do or what recommendations they will make based on the sampling results. The results of samples taken in your unique situation cannot be interpreted without physical inspection of the contaminated area or without considering the buildings characteristics and the factors that led to the present condition.
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How Do Molds Affect People
Exposure to damp and moldy environments may cause a variety of health effects, or none at all. Some people are sensitive to molds. For these people, exposure to molds can lead to symptoms such as stuffy nose, wheezing, and red or itchy eyes, or skin. Some people, such as those with allergies to molds or with asthma, may have more intense reactions. Severe reactions may occur among workers exposed to large amounts of molds in occupational settings, such as farmers working around moldy hay. Severe reactions may include fever and shortness of breath.
In 2004 the Institute of Medicine found there was sufficient evidence to link indoor exposure to mold with upper respiratory tract symptoms, cough, and wheeze in otherwise healthy people with asthma symptoms in people with asthma and with hypersensitivity pneumonitis in individuals susceptible to that immune-mediated condition.
In 2009, the World Health Organization issued additional guidance, the WHO Guidelines for Indoor Air Quality: Dampness and Mould pdf iconexternal icon pdf icon. Other recent studies have suggested a potential link of early mold exposure to development of asthma in some children, particularly among children who may be genetically susceptible to asthma development, and that selected interventions that improve housing conditions can reduce morbidity from asthma and respiratory allergies.
What Are Symptoms And Signs Of Mold Exposure
Molds produce irritating substances that may act as allergy-causing substances in sensitive individuals. Furthermore, some molds produce toxic substances known as mycotoxins, but mold itself is not poisonous or toxic. The term “toxic mold,” therefore, refers to the fact that certain kinds of mold can produce mycotoxins. The conditions under which some molds produce toxins are not understood, and the presence of mold, even a mold that is capable of producing toxins, does not always imply that toxins are being produced or that a health risk or problem is present. Mold may not cause any health problems, or it may lead to allergy or other symptoms in people, including adults and children, who are sensitive to molds.
Allergic reactions to mold are the most common health effects of mold and are therefore the greatest health risk related to mold. Allergic reactions may happen immediately or develop after a period following exposure. Both growing mold and mold spores may lead to allergic reactions. Symptoms and signs of mold allergy may include
Mold or mold spores may cause asthma attacks in people who have asthma and are allergic to mold. Even in some non-allergic individuals, mold can cause symptoms of irritation in the eyes, skin, and airways. For example, the “black mold”Stachybotrys, along with some other types of mold, produces toxins known as mycotoxins that can cause irritation of the skin and airways in susceptible individuals.
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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.
How Is Aspergillosis Treated
Treatment options include oral corticosteroids, antifungal medications, and surgery.
- Oral corticosteroid drugs: Solid or liquid oral medications may be prescribed to treat allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis. These drugs reduce inflammation and prevent respiratory symptoms, such as wheezing and coughing, from getting worse. Some of the most commonly used drugs are prednisone, prednisolone, and methylprednisolone.
- Antifungal drugs: These medications are generally used to treat invasive pulmonary aspergillosis. Voriconazole is currently the drug of choice because it causes fewer side effects and appears to be more effective than other medications. Amphotericin B or itraconazole are also effective in treating infection. Caspofungin is sometimes used in cases where the infection is resistant to the other antifungals. Antifungal drugs are sometimes used along with oral corticosteroids when treating ABPA. Antifungals can cause serious side effects, such as kidney and liver damage.
- Surgery: Surgery may be necessary in cases when aspergillomas are present and cause serious problems, such as excessive bleeding. Antifungal medications are usually not effective against aspergillomas, so surgery is recommended. Embolization may be an option to block blood flow to the artery supplying blood to the lung cavity where the fungus ball is located. This will stop the bleeding, but it may recur later.
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Other Mold Allergy Symptoms
Other symptoms of mold allergy in children include:
- Chronic fatigue
A helping hand in time of need is highly appreciated, whether it has five fingers or only four.
- Weakness and general discomfort
- Hair loss.
A persons reaction to mold depends on their sensitivity and overall health condition, the amount and the type of mold present in their surroundings, and the length of exposure. However, the longer a child lives in a mold-affected environment the more sensitive to the harmful microorganisms he/she will become. The resultant allergic reactions will also become more and more severe, causing the black mold symptoms to aggravate considerably. So, to prevent serious health problems and reverse the negative effects of mold, you need to take quick and efficient measures at the first signs of mold growth in your home.
Pneumonitis And Pulmonary Hemorrhage
Pneumonitis occurs when lung tissue becomes swollen or inflamed. Exposure to mold spores may trigger a lung reaction in some people. A person with pneumonitis may experience coughing, a low grade fever and shortness of breath. Pulmonary hemorrhage, or bleeding of the lungs, in infants and adults with chronic health conditions is loosely related to black mold exposure. The CDC offers that evidence proving mold exposure causes bleeding lungs is limited.
- Pneumonitis occurs when lung tissue becomes swollen or inflamed.
- A person with pneumonitis may experience coughing, a low grade fever and shortness of breath.
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How Can Mold Affect My Health
Many molds can cause health effects. Molds produce allergens, irritants and,sometimes, toxins that may cause adverse reactions in humans. A reaction tomold depends on how much a person is exposed to, the age of the person and thepersons sensitivities or allergies. The same amount of mold may causehealth effects in one person, but not in another.
Exposure to mold can cause a variety of symptoms. Sensitive people who havetouched or inhaled mold or mold spores may have allergic reactions such as arunny nose, sneezing, nasal congestion, watery eyes, skin rash and itching. Molds can trigger asthma attacks in people who are allergic tomolds, causing wheezing, chest tightness and shortness of breath. A diseaselike pneumonia may also develop after exposure to mold, but this is uncommon.
Infectious diseases from molds can occur in people with weakened immunesystems, such as those who are immune-compromised or immune-suppressed fromdrug treatment. Some types of mold are known to cause infections inimmune-compromised people. Such infections can affect the skin, eyes, lungs orother organs. These are considered opportunistic infections that usually do notaffect healthy people.
Dealing With Health Problems Resulting From Mold In Lungs
If you’re experiencing health problems you think may be due to mold, see your doctor. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests seeing your primary care physician, who may then refer you to a specialist based on your symptoms. For an infection in your lungs, you may need to see a pulmonologist. Your doctor may also refer you to an allergist or an infectious disease specialist.
In addition to getting medical treatment, you’ll need to have the mold removed from your home in order to recover from mold-related respiratory illness. If you continue to be exposed to mold, you will most likely continue to be ill and your condition may even worsen, despite medical treatment.
If you’re experiencing symptoms of mold-related illness, it is recommended that you not handle the mold removal job in your home yourself, since doing so will further expose you to mold that can make you worse. Instead, you should arrange for someone else to do the work for you. Follow this link to find out how to schedule a free consultation with an experienced mold removal professional in your own home. They will inspect your home, and explain what needs to be done to remove the mold and prevent it from returning.
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Who Is At Risk Of Developing Farmer’s Lung
Farmer’s Lung is a risk for adults who breathe dust from moldy hay or other moldy crops. Children rarely develop Farmer’s Lung.
The degree of risk depends on the amount of dust that has collected in the person’s lungs. There is little danger working with loose hay in an open field. However, the risk increases when farmers or farm workers are breaking open bales of moldy hay or straw inside closed barns or sheds. A person can inhale an extremely large amount of dust within a very short time while working indoors.
Other people exposed to dust from moldy hay, straw or grain include grain handlers, stable employees, poultry workers, attendants of zoo and circus animals and pet shop workers. Studies also show that Farmer’s Lung is a risk for city dwellers who visit stables, even occasionally.
How Can You Tell If Theres Mold In Your Lungs
If your exposure to mold is fairly minimal, chances are you may not even experience any symptoms. For more prolonged cases of exposure, the symptoms are generally recognizable across the board: sneezing, coughing, wheezing, chest tightness or discomfort, and shortness of breath are all strong indicators that there are mold spores in your lungs.
The issue here is that all of these symptoms can be found in a variety of illnesses or allergic reactions, so it can be difficult to directly pin down mold exposure as the cause. Pay close attention to your symptoms, as well as when they started and how they change. Make a mental note of when you discovered mold growing around you, how long you were around it and whether or not you had any protection . If you fear at all that there may be mold in your lungs, dont hesitate contact medical professionals and let them know whats going on. Its always better to be safe than sorry.
Mold exposure can potentially cause serious problems, but most healthy people have nothing to worry about aside from some uncomfortable, temporary symptoms. If youre worried about mold in your home, contact your local professional to learn what you can do about it.
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Runny Nose And Postnasal Drip
Your bodys overproduction of mucus can reveal itself not only through a persistent cough but also through your bodys attempts to dispose of it. The body continually produces mucus, a viscous fluid that serves to lubricate as well as clean. Its the second of these two functions that is pertinent to the allergic response. Mucus captures foreign invaders, like viruses and bacteria, and flushes them out, often harmlessly and unnoticeably. But when the body produces more mucus in the respiratory system than it can quietly dispose of, you notice the output in the form of a runny nose or postnasal drip. Whether excess mucus drains through the nostrils or down the throat, the discomfort it creates can indicate that the body is responding to the presence of mold.