Testing For And Diagnosing Mold Illness In A Clinical Setting
A helpful technique that practitioners of environmental medicine, such as myself, are taught to do is to draw a timeline of each patients health history. By doing so, we are able to tie together the onset of symptoms with certain environmental exposures or illnesses. This exercise often provides the greatest clue in figuring out what is going on with the patient. However, it is also necessary to look at several objective tests to determine what is going on.
One of the first things with mold that we cannot lose sight of is the fact that testing the environment is just as important as running tests on the patient. A patient cannot be sick from mold if they are not being exposed. To that end, ordering mold plates and doing some simple DIY testing, or calling in a licensed and certified professional mold inspector to come in to look at the mold counts in the home, car, and workplace is extremely important. This information will also be important for getting the patient out of the exposure, so that treatment can work, and they can properly respond and heal.
As for testing of the patient, there are several things that I find very helpful and important, both for diagnosis and for convincing of family members, work place supervisors, and at times, proving in a court of law that a moldy environment was the cause of illness.
What follows are those tests that I find most helpful in looking at the problem:
1. A fungal culture of the nose and sinuses
2. IgG mold antibodies test
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.
Who Can Test Me For Mold Illness
You may wonder how to get these tests done, and in this age of insurance-based medicine it can be a challenge. Apart from the nasal swab, the bloodwork may be handled by a cooperative primary care physician, or by going to a facility such as Any Lab Test, which will run them for you. The best route is to seek care from a knowledgeable ENT specialist, such as Dr. Dennis, or from a physician trained in Environmental Medicine. Go to American Academy of Environmental Medicine for a list of practitioners by state.
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When To See A Doctor For Mold Exposure
In the last few years, education and awareness on the impact of toxic mold on human health have increased. Mold spores tend to build up in an environment long before any visible signs of an infestation are clear, leading to long-term exposure to this harmful toxin. Mold exposure can be hard to diagnose since toxicity symptoms mimic several other health conditions. However, in severe situations, exposure to mold warrants a visit to a medical professional. This guide can help you narrow down your exposure, possible signs of illness, and how a doctor can help.
Testing For Mold In Your Home
If you hire a professional mold inspector to come to your home, theyll take samples from three areasthe air, the surface, and surrounding dust. They send these samples to a third-party laboratory to find out the concentration and kinds of mold in those particular areas.
However, this procedure takes time and isnt cheap. Fortunately, testing for mold in your home is a relatively easy task that can give you faster results and save you money. If youve done everything you can to prevent mold but still have reason to think the air you breathe is compromised with mold spores, check strategic locations for visible signs of mold.
Common areas of mold growth include:
- Areas around plumbing lines, even behind the drywall
- Below sinks
- Coils of HVAC air handlers or ductwork
- Between the furniture and exterior walls, particularly in basements or concrete block houses
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Is Your Home Mold Toxic
Mold loves moisture. Flooding poses a significant risk for mold growth. Landscaping that slopes toward a building instead of away from it encourages water intrusion.
Something as common as a leaky roof, faucet, or dishwasher also invites mold growth. Damp basements and window condensation can also be a haven for mold.
But, how do you know for sure if you have a mold problem?
Often, you can see or smell mold but not always. You may also see areas that have visible water damage. This is a red flag for possible mold growth.
If you suspect you have a mold problem, you can start with a few simple tests yourself. Certified mold inspectors are also available but vary in quality. Heres a closer look at these options:
Regardless of how you identify a mold problem, getting rid of it is essential for your health.
Navigating All Of The Confusing And Concerning Information About Black Mold Is Hard But Were Here To Tell You The Truth
Many of us have heard of the dangers of toxic black mold and may worry about black mold poisoning, but the truth is that black mold is a much more manageable problem than you might expect.
Few topics get us more upset than seeing misinformation publicized about toxic black mold, and mold in general, by unscrupulous companies and zealous media articles that seem more interested in sensationalism than fact-based reporting.
When you understand what youre dealing with, you can make informed choices to keep yourself and your loved ones healthy. Were here to cut through the mess and help you understand what having black mold in your home may mean, and give you some tips on how to fix the problem yourself and save big money in the process.
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Green Works Professional Mold Detecting Process:
GreenWorks is a professional mold detection and removal company in New Jersey that uses the following process to accurately test for mold:
1) Mold Testing
For families who have no apparent health effects or illnesses from mold, testing may not be required. However, for those who have children or individuals with allergies or immuno-compromised systems, mold testing should be conducted by professionals.
2) Client Interview
The mold test starts with an interview of the homeowners or current occupants. This gives our experts a better understanding of the structure of the home and any mold-related issues that the family has come across such as health issues, water damage, or past repairs. The interview helps our team decide whether or not mold testing is necessary.
3) Olfactory Investigation:
Trained mold investigators are sometimes able to identify actively growing mold through smell. This is helpful, especially when the mold is not visible. However, olfactory investigations may be affected by the weather, air transfer, or other factors that dilute or overpower the aroma of indoor mold.
4) Mold Inspection
Our experts will conduct a comprehensive visual inspection of your home. This helps to determine if there is mold growth in moist areas of your home such as bathrooms, under sinks, basements, crawlspaces, and more. Molds often hide in dark, hard-to-reach reach places, which our team is trained in inspecting.
5) Mold Inspection
6) Hydrology Inspection
7) Mold Inspection Report
Follow An Individualized Mold Treatment Plan From A Knowledgeable Practitioner
Most of conventionally trained medical practitioners have a narrow view on the effects of mold on the human body. Its important to work with an integrative practitioner familiar with the latest research regarding mycotoxins and mold.
While the exact components and duration each persons mold protocol can differ, here are some key possible steps for treatment:
- Use binders: These are used to bind up mycotoxins in the body. Cholestyramine, a prescription binder, may be used as well as natural binders such as charcoal.
- Address candida overgrowth: These could be yeast infections, thrush and digestive issues
- Treat colonized molds and bacterial infections: The gut, lungs and sinuses may be affected.
- Incorporate antifungals if needed.
- Support detoxification: This includes targeted supplements like glutathione to enhance detox pathways, ozone sauna and sweating through exercise as tolerated.
- Clean your air: Look for a high quality air purifier that utilizes HEPA, carbon, and zeolite filters. The Healthmate Plus from Austin Air does this and also filters VOCs.
- Clean your water: Stand alone filers like the countertop Berkey models or whole-house systems such as AquaTru can remove unwanted contaminants.
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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.
Symptoms Of Black Mold Exposure
You may wonder if you are experiencing symptoms of black mold exposure or if youre dealing with ordinary environmental allergies such as hay fever or something else. We cant diagnose you or offer medical advice, but we can tell you about the typical black mold health risks and what to do if you think black mold is making you sick.
But lets start at the beginning.
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Symptoms Ofblack Mold Exposure
If you suspect that you have symptoms of black mold exposure, then it is important to talk with a doctor as soon as possible in order to prevent serious health problems. The dangers of black mold should not be taken lightly, because they can cause both short-term and long-term health conditions. Many people don’t realize how severe these health conditions can be, so this article is designed to help you understand the serious nature of mold exposure.
If you arebeing exposed to black mold, it is best to talk to a doctor and a mold removalspecialist as soon as possible. The doctor will be able to help you treatsymptoms that are already present, and the mold removal specialist can clean upthe mold in order to prevent additional symptoms from occurring.
How Can I Treat My Mold
Dont worry if your test results show that you have mold toxicity. The professionals at The Metabolic Institute have extensive experience treating people who are dealing with the harmful consequences of mold exposure.
A Variety of Options
We will work with you to develop a custom treatment plan to address your mold-related health conditions. Although everyones treatment plan will be different, many people benefit from receiving binding agents and anti-fungal medications. We may also treat your conditions by asking you to take nutrients that will help you detoxify and heal.
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Identifying The Symptoms Of Black Mold
Initially,the symptoms start out small and may include things such as a runny nose, sinusinfection, fatigue, joint pain, coughing or other symptoms that seem to be seasonal allergiesor a head cold. Because the symptoms are minor in the beginning, it usuallydoesn’t raise any red flags. Most people use over-the-counter medications duringthis time and don’t realize that their symptoms are being caused by black mold.
If the moldexposure is stopped, then the person’s immune system can usually fight off theeffects of mold exposure. The real problems arise when continued exposureoccurs, because it weakens the immune system and causes the person to getsicker and sicker. Often, people don’t realize mold is causing their healthproblems, so they dont even look for mold in their home or work environment.
The dangersof black mold increase the longer a person is exposed to the mold. Continued exposurecan cause serious harm to the immune system, and result in health conditionssuch as chronic fatigue syndrome, worsening of asthma symptoms, fertilityproblems, pneumonia, bleeding in the lungs, lupus, cancer, and a number ofother chronic health conditions.
How To Test For Mold In 6 Steps
Mold infestations can usually be seen or smelled, but they can also remain hidden behind walls or under carpets. Testing isnt necessary if you can see or smell mold that is confirmation enough to call a professional and begin the remediation process. Testing for mold in the house may be necessary if requested by a health professional or needed for legal purposes, such as a lawsuit with a landlord. Another reason to consider testing is if you arent able to see or smell mold in your home but are having unexplained symptoms associated with mold. Always follow the instructions provided with a test kit , but this is generally what to expect:
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When To See Your Doctor For Mold Exposure
If your cold or flu-like symptoms persist, it may be time for a trip to the doctor. Even if you arent aware that mold could be causing your issues, a doctor may be able to make the correlations between your symptoms and CIRS. There are a number of more serious side effects of mold exposure that the doctor may ask if youve experienced. These include:
- Confusion and disorientation
- Asthma or chronic respiratory conditions
- Joint pains, cramping, or muscle aches
Though your primary care physician is the place to start for an initial examination and consult for your symptoms, you may be referred to an allergist. There are tests that can be done to test for mold allergies, and these are usually done at an allergists office or allergy clinic.
Those whose immune system has become severely compromised and who have developed serious respiratory conditions may be referred to a pulmonologist. These doctors address problems with the lungs and the respiratory system.
How Do These Chemicals Harm My Health
Entering the Body
The harm begins when a person is exposed to an environment that contains a large amount of mold. During this time, damaging enzymes in the mold may enter a persons lungs. After going into the lungs, the enzymes may bypass the persons gut barrier and go into their bloodstream.
Harming the Neurons
Once they are in the bloodstream, these harmful mold antigens may change the persons blood-brain barrier function. This alteration allows the antigens to go into the nervous system. From there, the antigens may harm the persons neurons and interrupt their production of needed antibodies.
The Negative Effects
The disruption of the persons immune system can cause a variety of negative health issues. People may suffer from immune suppression, eczema, allergies, and sinusitis. They may also experience headaches, hyperthyroidism, vomiting, and other negative effects. Mold exposure can also cause people to suffer from myalgic encephalitis, rheumatic disorders, and painful lymph nodes.
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Could Your Symptoms Be From A General Mold Allergy
Regardless of the species of mold in question, symptoms of a mold allergy can appear very similar, especially when looking at many individuals. So if you see black-colored mold and experience allergic symptoms, it could be Stachybotrys, or it could be another species of mold. That said, the same person can react differently to different molds. For example, one person may have severe dry eyes in response to a Cladosporium exposure, while Aspergillus exposure may cause wheezing and asthma-like symptoms.
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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