How Do You Test For Toxic Mold Exposure
All in all, there is no simple way to diagnose mycotoxin illness, says McElroy. But testing is typically the first step. She prefers to start patients with at-home tests and also recommends a home inspection by a certified mold inspector. should only be ordered, in my opinion, once the environment is evaluated for the source of mold, explains McElroy. The most direct way to test for mold toxicity is a urine test that measures for metabolites of mold and mycotoxins as well as glutathione levels . That said, as McElroy explains, I never place the entire diagnosis of mycotoxin illness on tests alone. Why? Because mold tests have some major drawbacks, including:
- False negatives and false positives are common
- They are not covered by insurance
- You cant test all toxins there are hundreds
- The levels found on tests dont necessarily correlate with the severity of symptoms
These tests clearly arent perfect. In fact, McElroy says she has seen patients who were really sick have almost nothing show up on the test while the healthy spouses of those same patients register values off the charts, so having a clinician thats willing and able to do some extra investigation into symptoms of mold and toxic mold exposure is key.
Avoiding Further Ingestion Of Mold
To avoid further mold health issues, youll need to avoid further ingestion of mold. How do you do that? There are several steps you can take.
- Store food properly to help prevent spoilage and mold growth.
- Discard any food you suspect may not be fresh. If in doubt, throw it out.
- Wash your hands before eating and before handling food.
- Take steps to eliminate excess moisture and prevent mold growth in your home. Here are some specific mold prevention tips.
- If there is mold in your home, it will need to be removed. Continued exposure to mold will complicate your treatment and you may not recover even with treatment. Your condition may even get worse.
But What If I Do Get Super Sick From Eating Moldy Food
Its very uncommon that youre going to get sick from mold, says Dr. Bedford. And in the rare instance that you do, you’ll likely have had to consume large amounts of the stuff.
If the unlikely occurs, though, and your symptoms include persistent nausea and vomiting, you should definitely call the doctor, Dr. Bedford says. Typically, he’d just prescribe anti-nausea medicationbut if you’re really feeling miserable, he might prescribe something to induce vomiting or diarrhea to try to flush out your system.
In some cases, people have allergic reactions to certain molds, which can contribute to respiratory issues, says Dr. Bedford. But don’t worry, they’re usually temporary and easily treated by your doctor.
Ultimately, though, don’t get too freaked out: In his 30 years of practice, Dr. Bedford says he has never seen anyone die or require more intense treatment due to mold .
Just take mold as a sign that your foods gone bad and move on.
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Bleach Does Not Always Kill Mold
To really kill mold, enzyme-based mold cleaners can do a better job. Instead of killing the mold, they break it down rendering it safe for those with sensitivities. The enzymes also break down the complete mold including the outer casing and new spores that may be released. This means the mold is less likely to grow back.
Treating Digestive Problems From Mold Exposure
Treatment, of course, depends on the symptoms youre experiencing, the severity of your symptoms and on the results of any diagnostic tests your doctor orders. You may need medication to relieve pain, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea. If vomiting or diarrhea has been severe, you may need intravenous fluids to treat dehydration. You may need antibiotics or medication to treat a yeast infection. If youve been experiencing intestinal bleeding, you might even need a blood transfusion.
If youre experiencing other mold-related health problems, such as respiratory problems, youll need treatment for those problems, as well.
Of course, youll also need to prevent further exposure to mold. If you continue to be exposed to mold, youll probably continue to experience mold sickness symptoms, even with treatment.
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Mold Increases Your Susceptibility To Gut Infections
Those who develop symptoms caused by mold often experience a variety of gastrointestinal issues, including gut infections. Mycotoxin exposure may directly increase your susceptibility to bacterial, viral, and parasitic gut infections by decreasing your intestinal immunity.
In animal studies, ochratoxin triggered viral gut infections and strengthened the virulence of intestinal parasites. In chickens, Fusarium decreases populations of CD4+ and CD8+ cells , increasing the risk of coccidiosis, an intestinal disease that easily spreads from bird to bird. Furthermore, the effectiveness of antiparasitic drugs is reduced by high levels of circulating mycotoxins, suggesting that mycotoxin exposure should be addressed first before attempting to treat parasitic infections.
Mold Allergy And Sickness
Can drinking mold make you sick? Yes, drinking mold can make you sick but not the kind of sick that will make you rush to the emergency room. After you realize that you drank a moldy beverage, most likely, you will feel your stomach churn, and you feel like throwing up.
This is an intuitive reaction to your mind rejecting the thought of drinking something that you believe can kill you or cause you severe harm. In reality, you wont die from taking a bite from moldy bread or taking a few sips from a moldy tumbler or moldy beverage.
In some cases, you get symptoms from mold allergy because you brought the moldy food or beverage near your nose and you inhaled some spores. This can cause you to experience allergic reactions such as:
- Itchy or red eyes
- Runny nose
If you are asthmatic, exposure to mold can trigger an attack. You can also expect to have some difficulty breathing after bring the food or beverage near your nose to eat or drink.
Some molds are toxic and can have severe side effects when inhaled. Inhalation can be more severe than ingestion in some cases.
Common black mold is sometimes called toxic mold but there are several kinds and not all are toxic.
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Common Symptoms Of Eating Mold
Mild nausea and allergic reaction remain the most common symptoms. These symptoms are usually mild and go away quickly. While its rare, you may also develop food poisoning.
Common symptoms of foodborne illness include stomach cramps, fever, diarrhea, chills, diarrhea, weakness, vomiting, headache, and nausea.
If you eat bread that contains some more dangerous types of mold, you may have irritation in your mouth and throat.
Additionally, if you frequently eat moldy food, the long-term effects are not well known. However, certain fungi could produce toxins that could cause vomiting, diarrhea, and other more serious problems. ,
What Causes Pink Mold Growth
As with other types of molds, pink mold loves to colonize in damp, warm places. Also, keeping these areas in your home clean goes a long way to preventing molds of all species from growing.
Regular cleaning of showers, shower curtains, bathroom walls, windows, ledges, and floors will prevent mold from growing as you are removing one of the three conditions for mold to grow.
Mold needs a damp warm dark environment, as well as a food source. Take out one of the three conditions, heat, moisture, or foods, and mold will not spread or colonize.
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Digestive Issues From Mold In The Home
Youre probably aware that mold can cause many health issues but what about digestive issues? At first glance, it might seem unlikely. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the most common mold health issues are allergy-related and respiratory in nature, like a runny nose, coughing and sneezing. And that makes sense, since mold-related illnesses are mostly caused by the inhalation of mold spores.
Further investigation, however, tells us that exposure to mold can sometimes lead to a wide range of health problems, including a rash or hives, depression, fatigue and neurological problems. Though less common than respiratory problems, mold may also cause problems with the digestive system in some people.
How Can I Prevent Mold From Forming In The First Place
Since warm, humid conditions encourage mold growthand dry mold spores float through the air in search of new places in which to grow some more moldy friendsthe USDA recommends a few best practices for keeping mold from messing with your food:
- Examine foods for mold before buying them
- Purchase food in small amounts so mold doesn’t have time to grow
- Cover food with plastic wrap
- Stash food in the refrigerator quickly
- Eat leftovers within three or four days
- Clean your refrigerator regularly
- Keep your home’s humidity level below 40 percent
Of course, molds can still grow in the refrigerator , but following these guidelines can help keep your eats fresh and fuzz-free for as long as possible.
The bottom line: Eating moldy food probably won’t make you sick, but most foods should be thrown away at the first sign of fuzz. To prevent mold growth, properly wrap all food and store it in a clean, dry refrigerator.
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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.
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.
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How To Avoid The Effects Of Eating Moldy Bread
Though you may be tempted to cut off the moldy part and chow down on the rest of the slice, resist the urge. Mold is more than meets the eye: Moist or spoiling food can also contain invisible bacteria that could also make you sick, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
So instead of eating moldy food, ditch the spoiled bread and hold off on that toast or sandwich until you have a fresh loaf handy.
Fresh bread should be stored in the pantry or other cool, dry area for three to five days, according to the New Mexico State University, College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences. Once it’s opened, store it in an airtight container.
If you freeze your bread, it can last for two to three months. However, homemade bread might not last as long because it doesn’t contain the preservatives found in commercially prepared breads that extend their shelf-life.
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.
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How Toxic Mold Affects Gut Health
Regardless of the exposure route, mycotoxins, endotoxins, biotoxins, and the like negatively affect gut health by impairing several functions within the digestive and immune systems. To begin, these chemicals circulate with the bile through the gastrointestinal tract multiple times each day. Binding to surface receptors on almost every cell, they initiate a system-wide inflammatory response, including increased cytokine production.
The rush of cytokines to receptors throughout the body sets off a cascade of consequences. One of the most problematic is the blockage of leptin receptors in the hypothalamus of the brain. Overrun by cytokines, they are no longer able to perform their normal function of initiating production of alpha melanocyte stimulating hormone . Long term, this causes fat cells to increase leptin production, which leads to weight gain that cant be controlled by exercise or diet.
Always Check The Food Before You Eat It
Another way to avoid eating moldy food, is by checking it before you eat it. Check the item for any signs of spoilage and make sure that its from a trusted source. Even when you are just having home cooked meal it is also important to just check the food in your plate before you eat it. This means that if theres something wrong with your food or mold has started to grow on your food dont take the risk!
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Signs Of Mold Illness
Mold is a big problem in most homes, but many people are unaware of the problem. Of course, everyone looks at the shower curtain, under the sink, or in the basement when he or she think about mold issues, but mold can grow just about anywhere.
Mold can be found in drywall, in the roof , and even in ones Christmas tree. One study found that Christmas trees can breed mold, quietly releasing millions of spores into the room causing winter allergies and asthma attacks. Studies have found that indoor air quality dropped six-fold over the 14 days a Christmas tree typically decorates a room.
There are 1,000 types of mold that can be found growing in the modern American home. Scientists classify these molds based on the effect they have on humans and other living things.
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.
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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.