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.
How To Tell If You Have Black Mold Growing In Your Home
Though not all indoor mold is toxic to all persons, many people are susceptible to the ill effects of black mold symptoms and growth. Black mold refers to a particularly virulent type of fungus known as Stachybotrys Atra. Itâs important to be aware of suspected black mold symptoms and growth inside your home and seek professional treatment to eliminate this most toxic fungus.
Stachybotrys Atra is naturally present in the soil in most climates. However, migrating spores infiltrate houses and other structures. Inert spores remain dormant until exposed to moisture that triggers active growth. Once black mold growth begins, millions of live microscopic reproductive spores are released into the air. These spores contain mycotoxins which produce physical symptoms in most people when inhaled or ingested in sufficient concentration.
Symptoms of Black Mold
Troublesome physical symptoms should always be reported first to your physician before assuming they are mold-related. Here are some of the ill effects black mold may cause:
- Lung congestion and other breathing difficulties.
- Chronic coughing, sneezing and respiratory irritation.
- Eye irritation and redness.
- Headaches, nausea and other flu-like symptoms.
- Impaired concentration and depression.
Signs Of Black Mold Growth
For important information about neutralizing black mold symptoms and growth, contact the mold remediation specialists at Rytech, Inc.
Treatment For Mold Exposure
The most important treatment for indoor mold exposure is to fix and remove the source of the mold. Limiting your exposure to mold is the most effective way to eliminate symptoms. If you remove the mold yourself, you need to take appropriate precautions to prevent exposure. You can also contact a mold remediation company to remove it for you.
These sprays, which contain corticosteroids or decongestants, are generally well tolerated and effective. They work by reducing the inflammation caused by allergies. Some can be bought over-the-counter, and some are only available by prescription.
Over-the-counter allergy medications such as cetirizine or loratadine are often used to treat allergies. These are antihistamines that work by blocking histamine, a chemical released by your immune system in response to allergens.
Montelukast is a prescription allergy medication that works by blocking another chemical released by your immune system, leukotrienes.
Rinsing your sinuses with saline water can help flush away allergens and mucus from your sinus cavities. This will help keep your nose free of irritating substances that can cause bothersome symptoms. These kits are widely available over the counter.
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Is Mold Causing Your Symptoms
The symptoms described above can all be caused by exposure to mold, but they can all be caused by other things, too. It can be difficult to determine whether mold poisoning is causing your symptoms or if something else is going on. Let your doctor know if youve been exposed to mold in the home, as that information can aid your doctor in making a diagnosis.
If youre not sure if youve been exposed to mold or not, we recommend having a professional come in to test your home for mold. You can pick up mold test kits in many home improvement stores, but they arent always accurate, especially if the test isnt conducted exactly right. A professional knows exactly how to conduct the tests, and where in the home to test for mold, so youll get a much more accurate result. A professional can even identify the type of mold growing in your home, which may help your doctor in making a diagnosis and prescribing the most effective treatment for you. Follow the link to find a local professional that can test your home for mold.
Assess Exposure Risk Level
To ascertain the level of risk associated with exposure to mold, it is necessary to determine whether mold is present and the type of mold that is growing. Mold may be allergenic or toxigenic, and may have different effects on individuals based on immunological and genetic sensitivities.
Allergenic mold may have the most significant effect on sensitive or immunocompromised occupants of an infested residential or commercial structure. Ongoing exposure to mold may cause some individuals who do not initially have an inflammatory response to mold spores or mVOCs to develop allergies.
Toxigenic mold poses a risk to humans and animals who breathe in contaminated air. If a home or professional mold test indicates that a toxic form of Stachybotrys chartarum or any other type of harmful fungus is growing in a structure, immediate containment and remediation should take place to reduce occupants risk of experiencing health effects.
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Where Is Mold Found
Mold is found all over the world. It can grow on and in buildings and also outdoors. Although mold can exist in a variety of places, it grows especially well in damp, moist environments. Your walls, furniture, floors, carpets, and other areas of your home can contain mold. Kitchens, bathrooms, and other damp places are especially likely to have mold. Mold is common everywhere, and people are exposed to it every day.
Essential Oils Extracts And Tinctures
So many herbs have antifungal properties. The active compounds are extracted from herbs, and the essential oils deliver concentrated amounts of beneficial compounds that will kill spores inside the body.
Oils are most commonly preserved as tinctures and taking 10 30 drops, 3 x a day for three months will guarantee results. If taking a powder form usually Â½ to 1 teaspoon, mixed in a little warm water, can be considered daily, also for about 3 months.
Yes, you can also take the natural fresh herbs instead of the more potent oils, especially if you want to prevent rather than cure.
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Key Things You Should Know About Black Mold Exposure
Mold is a type of fungi that are generally found in warm, damp environments. It can easily make its way into the home and is often a clear sign that a home needs maintenance or repair. Indeed, mold will inevitably grow given the right conditions. We have all read articles that talk about how dangerous exposure to black mold can be. Black mold, in particular, can cause complications because of the toxic mycotoxins it produces. Exposure to black mold can result in black mold poisoning, which causes a variety of symptoms. In some severe cases, it can even cause cancer and death.
Visual Contrast Sensitivity Testing
How it works: Visual Contrast Sensitivity testing aims to measure a component of neurological function that may be affected by exposure to mycotoxins and other biotoxins. This method looks at your ability to see details in varying contrasts of black, white, and grey on a computer screen.
Pros: VCS testing is inexpensive, fast, and simple. It can also be easily repeated throughout treatment. One study found that VCS scores were lower among employees of a school that had been exposed to water damage than employees at an unaffected school .
Cons: VCS testing is limited in the sense that it cant tell you how much mold youve been exposed to, how much you are excreting, or how exposure may be affecting other areas beyond neurological function.
Who its best for: VCS testing may be best for those who suspect or know theyve been exposed to mold or mycotoxins, have neurological symptoms, and are on a budget.
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Symptoms Of Black Mold Poisoning
A mold problem within your home or business can cause many symptoms of black mold poisoning, and a black mold blood test can be used to detect the effects of the toxic mold within your body. Keep in mind that identifying the health problems is the first step, and these problems can be removed with a few medical treatments as well as cleaning up the mold problem to prevent additional exposure.
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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How Mold Testing Works
There are two different kinds of professional-grade tests that experts tend to utilize to look for mold infestations. Both of them involve taking a small sample of material, which is then analyzed in a lab for traces of mold spores or the presence of mycotoxins. Urine test kits, as their name implies, require a small volume of urine from a human . These kits are used to determine if a person has a mold infestation in their body.
Meanwhile, home test kits require a small amount of dust or detritus from a buildings air conditioning or heating unit filters. Its not uncommon for professional environmental inspectors or mold remediators to use both kits in tandem after experiencing water damage, as they provide differentbut equally crucialinformation.
There is a third type of mold testing kit on the market its the kind that folks frequently see in hardware and big-box stores. These kits are designed to detect mold spores in the air, and they usually consist of a petri dish filled with microbial growth medium. The dish is exposed to the air for a set period of time in order to collect samples, and then its sealed and allowed to incubate. The idea is that any mold spores captured by the dish will then grow, allowing them to be seen and studied.
Proper Testing For Mold Illness
Physicians that specialize in mold illness have narrowed in on tests that are most effective in determining if mold is an underlying cause of someones symptoms. Before considering laboratory tests, there is often a clinical suspicion someone may be suffering from symptoms of mold exposure.
When someone is experiencing any of the above symptoms and no other diagnosis has been made that explains these symptoms mold illness should be considered. There is also the circumstance when someone has another diagnosis such as Lyme disease, but treatments have not been effective in resolving symptoms.
There is no one perfect test to diagnose mold toxicity. I use the two testing methods below to determine if mold and mycotoxins are undermining someones health.
Urine Mycotoxin Test
A urine mycotoxin test indicates whether or not a person is excreting mycotoxins from mold exposure. However, our bodies should excrete mycotoxins after exposure to mold and this does not necessarily mean someone has mold illness. The degree of elevation of mycotoxins in the urine suggests the severity of mold toxicity.
Great Plains Laboratory and Real Time Laboratory are the labs most commonly used by physicians treating mold toxicity. The two labs use different testing methodologies and test for different mycotoxins, so it is hard to compare results between the labs.
Preparation for urine mycotoxin testing
Mycotoxin Antibody Test
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The Different Black Mold Tests
The first thing to do is verify that you have black mold. Symptoms of mold exposure are almost identical to other fatigue issues, like Lyme disease and chronic fatigue syndrome. And because mold can grow behind walls as a result of burst pipes or water damage, its often hard to pinpoint where mold is in your home.
If you can see black mold in the caulking around your bathtub or below your kitchen sink, for example and you have no reason to suspect its elsewhere in your house, you may be okay skipping a formal test. Otherwise, you have a few different options when it comes to testing for mold in your home:
- Mold culture test. This test includes a petri dish with a swab. You expose the petri dish to either the air or, through the swab, a specific area in your home, and then you cover it and let it sit for 48 hours. If you get lots of growth in the petri dish , you have a mold problem. If you get little to no growth, youre okay. Mold culture tests are fast and cheap . A mold culture test is a good option if you suspect mold in your workplace or school. The downside is that the test wont tell you where mold is only if mold is present. Heres a good mold culture test.
- ERMI test. Environmental relative moldiness index testing will tell you with much more specificity what mold is in your home and how big of a problem it is. ERMI tests will run you $200-$300.
How Do Molds Get In The Indoor Environment And How Do They Grow
Mold is found both indoors and outdoors. Mold can enter your home through open doorways, windows, vents, and heating and air conditioning systems. Mold in the air outside can also attach itself to clothing, shoes, and pets can and be carried indoors. When mold spores drop on places where there is excessive moisture, such as where leakage may have occurred in roofs, pipes, walls, plant pots, or where there has been flooding, they will grow. Many building materials provide suitable nutrients that encourage mold to grow. Wet cellulose materials, including paper and paper products, cardboard, ceiling tiles, wood, and wood products, are particularly conducive for the growth of some molds. Other materials such as dust, paints, wallpaper, insulation materials, drywall, carpet, fabric, and upholstery, commonly support mold growth.
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Start With Diet Lifestyle And Gut Health
Sometimes, symptoms that are associated with mold illness might actually be caused by poor gut health or inflammation. Making changes to diet and lifestyle can resolve some or all symptoms, potentially eliminating the need for mycotoxin testing.
Its also easier to test for and treat mold toxicity if results are not confounded by gut health symptoms. Some important factors to consider are:
- Diet: Anti-inflammatory and gut-healing diets that focus on whole foods have been shown to improve symptoms like fatigue and brain fog [11, 12, 13
- Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source].
Another reason to start with your diet and lifestyle is that these factors might actually influence your mycotoxin test results. Many mycotoxin tests work by measuring the toxins that your body is eliminating. However, if diet and lifestyle components are not in place, your body may be less capable of excreting toxins.
This can mean not only worse health and symptoms but also that testing may not reflect your bodys true ability to rid itself of mycotoxins.
Healthy Home Myths Debunked
Common areas to test for black mold are basements, crawlspaces, bathrooms and kitchens where moisture and condensation may gather regularly. A water source is the first requirement for mold growth, so any damp, humid areas of the home are often susceptible.
Sight and smell may give you a good indication of whether or not you have a black mold problem black mold tends to have a strong, musty smell, and of course it displays a trademark black color. If you believe you have black mold growth in an area of your home after these initial inspections, you have two options: professional mold testing or do-it-yourself testing.
Professional mold testing companies will take samples of the air and any areas of mold growth, identify precisely what type of mold is present, and recommend next steps for remediation.
If you go the DIY route while testing for black mold, you will need to purchase a mold testing kit from a hardware or home repair store, take samples of the air and affected areas yourself, and then send these in to a testing facility, which will report back as to which type of mold is present.
Black mold can be an expensive and potentially unhealthy problem for homeowners, but by testing for black mold, you can know for sure if you’ll need to take steps to eradicate black mold from your home.
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I Heard About Toxic Molds And Black Molds That Grow In Homes And Other Buildings Should I Be Concerned About A Serious Health Risk To Me And My Family
There is always a little mold everywhere in the air and on many surfaces.
Certain molds are toxigenic, meaning they can produce toxins . Hazards presented by molds that may produce mycotoxins should be considered the same as other common molds which can grow in your house. Not all fungi produce mycotoxins and even those that do will not do so under all surface or environmental conditions.
Mold growth, which often looks like spots, can be many different colors, and can smell musty. Color is not an indication of how dangerous a mold may be. Any mold should be removed and the moisture source that helped it grow should be removed.
There are very few reports that toxigenic molds found inside homes can cause unique or rare health conditions such as pulmonary hemorrhage or memory loss. These case reports are rare, and a causal link between the presence of the toxigenic mold and these conditions has not been proven.
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