Types Of Mold Sickness And Symptoms
Mold can be found almost everywhere, though it thrives in warm, humid environments. It spreads by releasing tiny spores that float through the air. Some types of mold also produce mycotoxins, microscopic organic compounds that can attach to mold spores and cause additional health effects when inhaled.
Mold exposure does not always cause adverse reactions, and different types of mold can cause a person to react in distinctly different ways. However, those who are sensitive to mold or have mold allergies may experience the following symptoms after exposure, according to the CDC:
- Nasal stuffiness
- Eye, throat or skin irritation
- Coughing or wheezing
Reactions may be more severe in those with:
- Mold allergies
- Weakened immune systems
- Chronic lung illnesses
If you are in one of the above groups, the CDC recommends staying away from likely sources of mold, such as wooded areas, compost piles and freshly-cut grass.
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.
What Is Mold Allergy
An allergy is an abnormal reaction by your immune system to common substances that dont affect most people. Molds are a type of fungus that exists almost everywhere in the world. The molds that grow inside our houses prefer dark and damp places and can be harmful to some people with immune systems that develop responses against mold.
People with mold allergies may develop itchy skin or rash, watery or itchy eyes, runny or itchy noses or in more severe cases, breathing problems.
There are probably thousands of different types of molds. Its possible to be allergic to only certain types of mold.
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What Causes Mold To Grow Indoors
The conditions present in your home can play a critical role in the formation of mold in your indoor environment, with certain ideal conditions causing mold growth. Moisture is usually the most important condition that needs to be present in the environment since mold cannot grow without moisture in the environment. Additionally, mold will require a food source such as wood, drywall, or cotton to feed on in the environment, darkness to minimize exposure to ultraviolet light, warmer temperatures, oxygen, and time to thoroughly grow and spread within the environment. When all of these conditions are met in an indoor environment like your home, mold will flourish and grow rapidly which can leave for major problems to both your indoor air quality and to the health of those exposed to this mold growth.
Other issues in a home can also promote the growth of mold indoors, these can be normal occurrences in the home that will unknowingly advance mold that is developing in the area. Elevated levels of humidity indoors have been correlated with the growth of mold, as mold feeds off of high humidity levels in the air. Also, poor ventilation will aid in the progression of mold growth indoors since it will create pockets of moist air in the environment for mold to thrive.
Mold Problems in House
What Are The Symptoms Of Black Mold Exposure
If you find black mold on your property, theres no need to panic. But black mold presents more health risks to sensitive groups like those with respiratory conditions or immune conditions.
According to the Centers for Disease Control , black mold spores can generate cold- or flu-like symptoms such as:
- Stuffy nose
- Shortness of breath
So while black mold probably wont kill you, it can make you feel sick and should be removed as soon as possible.
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What Medical Tests Are Available To Determine If I Am Allergic Tomold
There are medical tests to determine if you are allergic to a particularsubstance, such as mold. These can be performed on skin or blood. Skin testsare considered more reliable than blood tests to determine allergic reaction toa substance. Skin tests yield results more quickly, are less expensive thanblood tests and are generally considered more sensitive. If an individual hassymptoms year-round, which may indicate an indoor allergy, skin testing may berecommended.
Blood testing called the RAST test can be done to showif you are allergic to a substance. The RAST test detects levels of antibodiesto particular allergens. The test is expensive to perform and results areusually not available for about two weeks.
Bad Mold Vs Good Mold
Wondering whether some molds can be of any good like good bacteria? Yes. They are not bad always. Because of their pharmacological activity, some of the mycotoxins are useful as antibiotics.17 Under correct conditions, some molds are also used in the production of cheese. But, you cannot eat the fungi that grow on the cheese at home. They may result in allergic reactions. Outdoors, molds are considered to be a good thing. However, inside your home, if they find a sustainable food source to grow they become dangerous.
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Having Your Home Tested For Mold
If you find yourself asking does mold sickness go away because youve been suffering from mold-related symptoms for a long time, you should have your home tested for mold to make sure all traces of mold have been removed. While do-it-yourself mold test kits are available, we recommend having a certified professional test for mold to make certain the results are accurate. Most professional mold testers are engineers and they know all the places that mold can hide in the home. To find experienced certified mold testers in your area, just follow the link provided.
When Should I See My Healthcare Provider About Mold Allergy
If you have symptoms you think are related to mold, call your provider. They can treat your symptoms and may want to do allergy testing.
If you do have asthma or other breathing problems, and you suspect you have an allergy to mold, contact your provider. If you have any type of severe breathing problem, call 911 or go to an emergency room.
If your mold allergy is confirmed, make sure that you follow the instructions of your provider. You may need to carry an epinephrine injector if you have severe reactions to mold. This type of medicine treats life-threatening allergic reactions.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Allergies are common conditions. If you have them, it means you react differently to certain substances than other people do. The best thing to do is avoid what youre allergic to. Among people with allergies, an allergy to mold or other environmental substances happens to 1 in 5 people. Many allergic reactions to mold are similar to the types of reactions you have to other allergens like pet dander or dust. You may have itchy eyes or skin, and your nose might run. Some reactions to mold are more dangerous, like when it acts as an asthma trigger. Keep in contact with your healthcare provider to know the best ways to treat your mold allergy.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 01/10/2022.
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Cutting Mold From Soft Foods
Soft foods are another story. Mold finds it super easy to get below the surface, so the whole product could be tainted. These foods are destined for the trash can if they develop mold:
- Soft fruits and veggies. Buh-bye, moldy strawberries, raspberries, and tomatoes.
- Soft cheeses. Bid your moldy cottage cheese and cream cheese adieu.
- Bread. Farewell, moldy bakery products.
- Cooked foods. These are definite no-nos.
- Jelly, Jell-O, and peanut butter. Dont think you can just scoop it out moldy PB& J can be seriously bad for you.
- Deli meats, bacon, and hot dogs. Say adios to these.
- Yogurt and cream.Just no.
No one wants to eat mold. And yes, you can cut it off some foods. But whats the best way to stop it from growing in the first place?
Follow these steps and say sayonara to that effin mold:
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.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Mold Sickness
If your Total Body Burden is high, or you are genetically predisposed to recycling toxins, regular exposure to mold can cause allergy symptoms, such as:
- Wheezing/shortness of breath
- Long standing or frequent sinusitis
And, serious pain and neurological symptoms, such as:
- Headaches and migraines
- Muscle cramping, aches and pains
- Persistent nerve pain
- Fatigue and weakness
- Poor memory, brain fog, difficulty with focus
In some cases, the spores from mold take root and grow in specific parts of the body, such as the lungs and sinuses. This can cause serious respiratory illnesses and infections.
Getting A Diagnosis For Mold Sickness
While symptoms to mold exposure are not uncommon , many health care professionals struggle to pinpoint the cause behind these symptoms.
Often only a few people or one person and not everyone, in a home or workplace experience symptoms. This is frustrating and confusing for the sick person. When their doctors cant find any reason for the illness, they can start to feel like the sickness is all in their mind.
People suffering from mold exposure can often be misdiagnosed with disorders such as:
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Indoor Air Quality Solutions For Mold
The best way to avoid mold in the home or workplace is to prevent its growth altogether. Because mold thrives in damp, warm environments, you can try:
- Keeping the relative humidity in your home between 30% and 50%.
- Checking high-moisture areas, such as window sills, under-sink cabinets and indoor plants, regularly for visible mold growth.
- Increasing ventilation in your homeespecially in high-moisture areas such as the bathroom, kitchen and laundry room. You can do this by installing an exhaust fan, running your HVAC system or opening windows .
- Adding an air purifier to help remove mold spores from the air in your home. Make sure to follow the manufacturers instructions on cleaning and replacing the filters. The Molekule air purifier with proprietary PECO technology destroys mold spores that pass through the device, instead of trapping them within the unit.
Cleaning Up Black Mold
The processof cleaning up black mold is much more complex than most people think. If youtry to clean it up yourself, your symptoms of black mold exposure may worsen. Additionally, if you are not careful thecleanup process may cause black mold spores to become airborne and crosscontaminate other parts of your home.
Instead ofputting your health at risk, we recommend that you meet with a mold removalspecialist. Most mold removal specialists will give a free home inspection andevaluation, so even if you are thinking of doing the cleanup yourself you canstill get some free advice. They will inspect your home, help you find hiddenmold, discuss the best techniques for removing the mold in your particularcase, recommend prevention strategies to make sure the mold does not return,and give you a price quote. For a list of mold removal specialists offeringfree home inspections in your area, just follow the link
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Q: How To Know If Mold Is Making You Sick
A: Mold is one of the most common concerns of illness in homes, but often isnt the culprit. If you suspect that you or someone else has been exposed to mold, call your doctor immediately. The symptoms of mold exposure can mimic allergic reactions, include coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headaches, fatigue, skin rashes, eye irritation, and nosebleeds.
You Feel Like You Have A Lingering Cold Or Are Battling Flu
“It is pretty tough to detect until it starts coming through the walls because mold, as you know, is a problem with some sort of leak somewhere,” Hayes-Raitt said. “So the problem starts behind the walls. But if you’re getting sick, it might be because of a mold problem.”
If you’re dealing with symptoms that you can’t exactly pinpoint, it could be that you’re stressed, haven’t been taking care of yourself, or wound up with some sort of virus, of course, but it could also potentially be that you’re dealing with mold.
If possible, Hayes-Raitt said that one of the best ways to determine if the sickness you feel is related to the house or not is to leave for a few days and then return home. If you feel those same symptoms coming on again, it might be the result of something more than a cold or virus.
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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.
How To Prevent The Growth Of Mold Indoors
Mold often emits a distinct musty smell and may be black or gray, but color or odor is not an indication of how dangerous it is. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , any visible mold growing inside the house is a potential health hazard and should be removed as soon as possible.
The CDC recommends regular inspection of your building for evidence of water damage and visible mold. When molds creep inside your house through vents, ducts, flooring, or furniture, they become a reason for worry.
The only way to prevent the growth of mold indoors is by controlling moisture levels:
- Use an air conditioner or a dehumidifier during humid months and to keep humidity levels between 30%-50%. Anything higher causes fungal spores to mature and mold to spread over the house.
- Fix leaky roofs, windows, and pipes as soon as possible to prevent mold from returning.
- Keep your kitchen, bathroom, and laundry room well-ventilated.
- Avoid carpet since it tends to retain moisture and becomes an ideal breeding ground for mold. Once mold starts to grow in carpet, the only way to deal with the problem is to remove it completely.
- If the infestation is mild, use bleach or hydrogen peroxide to kill the mold.
- If the infestation is severe, consider using professional mold removal services. Mold removal professionals use antimicrobial solutions to kill the mold, then use a sealant to make treated areas more resistant to moisture.
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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.
What Are The Signs Of Mold In Your House
Musty smells are a tell-tale sign of mold. Another common indicator is visible signs of water damage.
As mentioned earlier, mold grows fast. Within 24 hours of a water leak, or a flood, mold will begin to take hold. This mold can grow on anything thats humid walls, floors, ceilings, furniture, and even wet laundry.
When there is a chance of mold, its important to have a professional in to test. Professionals qualified to do environmental investigations can:
- Check the surfaces of your house for mold
- Test the air for spores
- Help you to identify sources of moisture
- Identify where the mold is growing and help you decontaminate your house
- Use natural enzymes to kill mold spores
If you dont get rid of all sources of mold, you risk getting sick from it.
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Choose The Experts In Nasal Allergy Treatment And Breathe Again
Dr. Nguyen is a national expert in the treatment of nasal allergies. Let us use the newest technology and our vast experience to customize a solution for your health needs. Houston Sinus and Allergy has over a decade of experience in treating nasal allergies. Our practice has won numerous awards, including being voted the Living Best of Readers Choice Award in 2015.
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