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.
Helpful Tips For Reducing A Stuffy Nose
Nasal decongestants in the form of sprays and tablets can help relieve a stuffy nose. However, these are only temporary fixes and should not be used too often as they can become addictive. In fact, nasal sprays can actually damage your nasal passages if used in excess.
A humidifier can also help reduce stuffiness by adding moisture to the air and promoting mucous production.
If you are still having persistent stuffy nose, you should contact your doctor or another medical professional.
How Does Mold Get Into Your House
Mold can get into your house from open doorways, windows and heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems that take air in from outside. Spores that begin mold growth can also attach themselves to people from outside their clothing, animals, shoes and carrying cases or handbags. Some materials inside your home are designed to encourage mold growth too. Wet cellulose material, including paper and paper products, cardboard, wood and wood products and ceiling tiles are primary culprits. Other materials like dust, carpet, paints, wallpaper, fabric and upholstery, insulation and drywall are common mold conductors.
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The Paint Is Bubbling On Your Walls
Have you noticed that the paint is bubbling on the walls of your bathroom or near a window? One of the most common reasons paint begins to bubble is moisture. And where theres moisture, theres probably mold. You wont be able to cover up the problem with a fresh coat of paint you have to find the source of the moisture. It could be a leaky windowsill, too much humidity, or leaky plumbing. Once you fix the moisture issue, then you can repaint. Just make sure to scrape, patch, clean, and thoroughly dry the walls before rolling on the first coat.
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.
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Top Tips For Controlling Mold
It’s impossible to get rid of all mold and mold spores in your home, but because mold spores can’t grow without moisture, reducing moisture in your home is the best way to prevent or eliminate mold growth. If there is already mold growing in your home, it’s important to clean up the mold and fix the problem causing dampness. If you clean up the mold but don’t fix the problem, the mold will most likely return.
Following is some advice for reducing moisture throughout the home with specific tips for the areas most prone to dampness and mold growth:
Around the house:
In the kitchen:
- Use exhaust fans to move moisture outside whenever you are cooking, washing dishes, or cleaning.
- Turn off certain appliances if you notice moisture on windows and other surfaces.
- Check for leaks around the kitchen sink, refrigerator ice makers, and other sources of water. Repair if necessary.
- Empty and clean refrigerator drip pans if necessary.
In basements and crawl spaces:
In the laundry room:
- Vent your clothes dryer to the outside.
- Make sure the vent is clear of obstructions, such as lint, and that there are no holes that leak air. If the vent duct is damaged, replace it with a metal duct. Have the duct cleaned at least once a year.
- Avoid leaving damp clothes in the laundry basket or dryer. Wash and dry them promptly.
Is Mold Linked To Asthma In Children
The dangers associated with mold exposure and inhaling mold spores have been common knowledge to the public for many years now. Mold releases toxic spores that are damaging to human health when inhaled for a prolonged period of time. For example, they can contribute to or worsen asthma symptoms.
There are thousands of different species of mold, and some are more harmful than others. The most harmful strand of mold is Stachybotrys chartarum, also known as black mold. Some of the most common symptoms of black mold exposure are shortness of breath, sneezing, coughing, skin irritation, red or itchy eyes, wheezing and respiratory complications and infections .
Did you know?
Recently, a study confirmed a link between mold and childhood onset of asthma. A strong link between mold exposure and asthma in children is a significant cause for concern. Having your home inspected for mold by a professional can determine whether or not its hiding and reduce the chance of future outbreaks. Many times, homeowners are not even aware of existing mold problems in their homes because mold can hide behind walls and ceilings, underneath carpets and in other places that are difficult to reach.
Create a healthy and safe environment for you and your family by helping reduce the chance of black mold growth.
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What About Mold Spores
Mold spores are small particles the fungus produces in order to grow and reproduce. Theyre quite tiny, usually smaller than half the width of human hair, so you wont notice them even if they float in the air in front of your eyes. Mold spores are allergens and, therefore, can cause allergic reactions. If you touch or inhale them, you can get sick, or your existing health issues could get worse.
Molds And Other Fungi Produce Mycotoxins
Mycotoxins are secondary metabolites produced by microfungi that are capable of causing disease and death in humans and other animals. Some mycotoxins or mycotoxin derivatives have been found to have useful properties, and are used as antibiotics and other kinds of drugs. Others, however, are the opposite of helpful, and have even been implicated as chemical warfare agents. On people, mycotoxins can cause local skin infections such as athletes foot or jock itch. However mycotoxins can cause spread systemically, causing more serious infections and conditions when it enters the body either via the respiratory tract, or through direct contact with the skin.
In addition to causing local and systemic infections, mold exposure also affects the appearance of the skin. According to mold expert and naturopathic physician, Dr. Jill Crista, mold mycotoxins stop our bodies from making all of our youth-preserving proteins, like keratin and elastin for skin and hair and actin and myosin for muscles.
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Your Asthma Is Acting Up
Mold spores can find their way into the lungs and trigger asthma symptoms. One study found that dampness or mold in houses could account for one in five cases of asthma in the United States. If your asthma seems to be getting worse, you may have undetected mold in your house, according to the Allergy and Asthma Foundation of America. The group warns that mold can also cause a rare but more serious condition called allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis: This is a dramatic allergic and inflammatory reaction that leads to severe sneezing, coughing, and shortness of breath.
What Are Signs That A Mold Is Making You Sick
Persistently being exposed to mold can potentially have negative side effects beyond mold skin rashes, even for those that are not allergic to mold.
According to the National Capital Poison Center, there are many claims that adverse side effects could result from exposure to indoor mold, or what many people commonly refer to as black mold. While there is no conclusive scientific evidence suggesting that serious health conditions can be caused by mold, specifically S. chartarum, most specialists have agreed that damp and moist environments can cause or worsen the problem:
- Any respiratory issues
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How To Treat Black Mold Poisoning
Black mold, scientifically referred to as Stachybotrys atra or Stachybotrys chartarum, is typically black or dark green and often linked to serious health problems.
In fact, black mold exposure can lead to poisoning, or stachybotryotoxicosis a condition thats dangerous, particularly for young children and the elderly.
Even though black mold poisoning typically affects horses, cows, and pigs, humans can become infected if they inhale or ingest the spores.
Symptoms of stachybotryotoxicosis include skin rashes , throat and sinus irritation, burning eyes, and a decrease in the production of white blood cells.
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.
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Toxic Mold Exposure: What Would Happen If Someone Kept Getting Their Skin Exposed To Mold
The dangers of toxic mold exposure when it comes to the respiratory system are, at this point, fairly well-known and well-established. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , toxic mold exposure can cause symptoms such as nasal stuffiness, eye irritation, wheezing, and skin irritation. People with serious allergies to molds may have more severe reactions including fever and shortness of breath and those with chronic lung illnesses, like obstructive lung disease, may even develop mold infections in their lungs.
But what else can be a result of toxic mold exposure? Can toxic mold exposure cause a skin rash?
Who Is At Risk For Mold Toxicity
While anyone can become ill from exposure to mold and its mycotoxins, some are more susceptible than others.
People who already have allergies or asthma can be more severely affected by mold toxicity than those who do not have allergies.
Also, people who are already ill, have immune suppression, or who have respiratory illnesses are more likely to have noticeable and intense symptoms resulting from mold exposure.
Symptoms of mold toxicity are relatively persistent and should not be ignored.
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Watery And Itchy Eyes
Another warning sign of black mold poisoning is watery and itchy eyes.
Mycotoxins present in the air due to mold can easily enter your eyes. When the mycotoxins come into contact with the cells in your eyes, they cause your eyes to water and become itchy.
You may also notice your throat becoming itchy. This is a common issue related to black mold toxicity.
Other eye problems include inflammation in the eyes, soreness, bloodshot eyes and blurry vision, to name a few.
Why Does Mold Cause Tingling And Numbness
When your home suffers water damage or has excess moisture, mold can start to grow. Mold can grow just about anywhere, including on your floors, inside your walls, or on carpeting. If the mold is not discovered quickly, airborne levels of mold spores will continue to increase. When mold is absorbed through the lungs, it can lead to neurological issues, including a condition called peripheral neuropathy, where the nerves are damaged.
According to the U.S. National Institutes of Health , mold exposure can cause peripheral neuropathy, which gives us that mysterious tingling and numbness feeling. These uncomfortable sensations occur because our peripheral nervous systems are comprised of many motor and sensory nerves which connect the spinal cord to the brain. The nervous system is responsible for communicating critical messages between our sensory organs, nerves, brain, and spinal cord. When the system is disrupted by traumatic injury, vascular diseases, mental health conditions, or, in this case, mold exposure, it communicates that it is in trouble, which is why we feel neurological effects.
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Whos At Greater Risk Of Mold Exposure
Some people are more sensitive to mold, whether this is because of their genetic makeup or the current state of their health. Individuals with already-compromised immune systems infants and small children the elderly and asthmatics are especially susceptible to the adverse health effects of mold exposure.
Remember that reactions to mold are uniquely individual, since no two immune systems are alike.
Receiving Online Treatment For Mold
You can receive treatment for a mold-related skin rash online. Plushcare offers access to online doctors, who can offer advice, prescribe medication, and work out treatment plans with you from the comfort of your own home. To get started, book an online appointment with a board-certified doctor here.
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How To Treat Skin Rashes Caused By Toxic Mold Exposure
If a person has experienced an infection as a result of a rash caused by toxic mold exposure, oral antibiotics can be used to clear up the infection. However, in some cases, if the infection is too severe or doesn’t seem to respond to the oral antibiotics, a more intensive treatment like hospitalization and intravenous antibiotics is required.
If the rash has not yet caused an infection, antihistamines can be used to halt or decrease allergic responses. Antihistamines like Benadryl and Allegra can be bought over-the-counter. Antihistamine creams are also an option, and can be applied directly to the rash to relieve itching. Additionally, cool bath with baking soda or colloidal oatmeal is a simple home remedy believed to relieve itching and discomfort.
Is Black Mold Dangerous
There have been reports about black mold leading to illness. Black mold has been linked to lung problems in babies and children, including bleeding in the lungs. There is no scientific evidence to support that link.
Researchers have not found evidence that allergies to black mold are worse than allergies to other types of mold. People who develop respiratory symptoms associated with sick building syndrome have blamed black mold. The evidence suggests that mold-related illness can result from multiple types of mold, not just black mold.
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Lifestyle And Home Remedies
To keep mold allergy symptoms at bay, take these measures:
- Sleep with your windows closed to keep out outdoor mold. The concentration of airborne mold spores tends to be greatest at night, when the weather is cool and damp.
- Keep indoor humidity below 50% and correct any moisture or water damage in the home. You can measure relative humidity with a small moisture meter, available at many hardware stores.
- Wear a dust mask over your nose and mouth to keep mold spores out if you have to rake leaves, mow your lawn or work around compost.
- Avoid going outdoors at certain times, such as immediately after a rainstorm, in foggy or damp weather, or when the published mold count is high.
Nose And Throat Problems
Nasal mold allergy symptoms include a runny nose, swollen sinuses and post-nasal drip. The cumulative effect often causes a painful throat and difficulty in swallowing.
Treatment: OTC antihistamines help control nasal and throat symptoms. A salt water gargle or cold popsicles are good home remedies for sore throats.
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Final Thoughts On Coping With A Mold Illness
Mold is something everyone lives with. Its in your backyard, your house, and even in your food. Most of the mold you come in contact with is harmless and doesnt cause health problems. But sometimes, you can end up with a severe mold allergy that causes symptoms. Keeping your house free from mold is a priority. IF you have a water leak, then fix it immediately. Provide good air ventilation in your house with fans and open windows on dry weather days.
Add lots of air-purifying plants around your home, especially in the rooms where dampness creeps in, like the kitchen or bathroom. Mold is here to stay, so learning to eliminate it or reduce its growth is the best option to combat a mold illness.
When To See A Doctor
Its a good idea to see a doctor if youre not sure if your rash is caused by mold or something else. The doctor can order an allergy test that can either confirm your allergy or help you find the cause of your rash.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, the following situations warrant a visit to a dermatologist or primary care doctor:
- the rash covers your entire body
- you have a fever
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Physical And Neurological Symptoms Related To Toxic Mold Exposure
Some varieties of mold, such as toxic black mold, contributes to a range of troubling physical and neurological conditions. Mold exposure has been implicated in cases of chronic anxiety and depression. For example, and its a notorious cause of brain fog . Black mold sickness, as it is sometimes called, leads to chronic fatigue and joint pain. It has even been suggested that habitual mold exposure may be a factor in the development of chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia, though a direct cause and effect relationship has not yet been established.
Brain Fog Due To Black Mold
Clearly, mold is much more than a smelly, unattractive organic pest that sometimes leads to substantial property damage . Mold exposure can cause significant health problems, both acute and chronic in nature. If you believe that your home may be infested with mold, call IndoorDoctor to schedule an inspection as soon as possible. Only a professional who is trained in mold remediation can properly mitigate the threat mold poses to you.
Facts About Mold and Dampness. The CDC, 2017. https://www.cdc.gov/mold/dampness_facts.htm
What are Allergies? Everyday Health.
Mold in Lungs. Mold Answers.
Health Check: how does household mould affect your health? The Conversation, 2015.