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.
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.
Is All Mold Toxic
Mold is not the only pathogen that grows from water damage. Fungal fragments, spores, mycotoxins, bacteria, mycobacteria, actinomycetes, VOCs, and other biotoxins can also form in damp buildings. These pathogens combine to produce a toxic soup that can lead to a multi-systemic and multi-symptomatic illness.
Not all mold is toxic, but many mold species from water-damaged buildings produce mycotoxins. It is the indoor concentration of mycotoxins and the rest of the toxic soup that can contribute to chronic debilitating symptoms.
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I Tested Positive For Mycotoxins Now What
Finding out that theres mold in your home or body can definitely be scaryand embarrassing, too. Fortunately, once you know that youre dealing with toxic mold exposure, you can take action:
If theres mycotoxins in your homeYoull need to consult with a professional mold remediation firm about eliminating the problem. Sometimes, when a mold issue is as simple as a small patch of gunk on a shower wall or a basement carpet that smells like dirt, its possible to clean the mess up on your own. However, large infestationsor infestations of highly dangerous molds, like Stachybotrys chartarum should only be handled by experts.
If theres mycotoxins in your bodyYou should see a physician right away. Explain your symptoms and bring a copy of your test results. Your doctor may want to give you another test to verify that yes, mycotoxins really are the source of your health issues.
Once you receive an official diagnosis, the doctor will be able to come up with an appropriate treatment plan. Meanwhile, it would be wise to have your home inspected for mold, as well, to stop the toxins at their source.
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.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Mold Inhalation
Walking into a room where the mold spore count is high could have a significant effect on your response system. For those who have an allergic reaction to mold spores, the response is more immediate. These individuals may experience watery or itchy eyes, a runny nose, redness around the eyes, shortness of breath, or wheezing. Persistent exposure can create a nagging cough, asthma, or frequent sinusitis. As these symptoms sound much like the common cold or seasonal allergies, it can often be hard to narrow down the culprit as mold exposure.
As symptoms and severity are different for every person, it is difficult to say how long the symptoms will persist. Generally, the length of exposure, the type of mold that an individual has been exposed to, and the bodys natural health and detox process impact how long a person may struggle with a mold illness. Natural detoxing can see symptoms subside in a few days, particularly if the source of mold is eliminated or the individual leaves the environment where the mold is present.
Mold And Mycotoxin Testing Options
There are many different kinds of tests available, and they each have their own benefits and challenges.
Some tests look at levels of mold exposure or the burden of mycotoxins on the body, while others analyze how the immune system is reacting to mold and mycotoxins.
Research on all mold and mycotoxin testing is limited, and there is no perfect test . There are currently no FDA-approved laboratory tests for mycotoxins.
Keep in mind that two people may have similar levels of exposure to toxins but very different capacities to detoxify from them.
When selecting a test, ideally with the help of a practitioner, consider your main question. Is it Have I been exposed to mold? or is it How is my body handling a known mold exposure?
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Household Molds That Can Lurk Inside Your Home
Mold is unfortunately, pretty much unavoidable in your home as most homes harbor some species of mold in its confines. Out of the 1,000s of mold species, there are some species that are more prone to growth indoors than others, and some that particularly grow inside homes.
There are six main species of mold that are commonly found inside homes, and each contain their own characteristics and potential health hazards.
Mold Toxicity Vs Mold Allergies
Often times confusion surrounds the different mold illnesses, specifically mold toxicity and mold allergies. These two separate illnesses illicit different reactions in the body and can affect a person differently.
Mold allergies are caused by mold spores that become inhaled and stimulate symptoms similar to those of hay fever . Mold toxicity, in comparison to mold allergies, is caused by the volatile toxic vapors that are dispersed by mold that in turn elicits a chronic inflammatory response.
Diagnosing this condition is very hard, especially for medical professionals who often misdiagnose it because of the wide variation of possible symptoms. The first step in diagnosing mold toxicity or even mold allergies is identifying mold within your environment, particularly in your home.
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The Impact Of Mold: 5 Steps To Regaining Health
The impact of mold on health is far reaching, and the occurrence of mold might be higher than you might think. Symptoms of mold exposure go beyond an allergic response and can include a vast range from achy joints to dysregulated hormones, cognitive issues or sapping fatigue.
To complicate matters, you could be exposed to it, and simply not know. Mold could be hidden behind walls or be disguised as a fine powder instead of the striking black spots you might expect.
Curious if mold is playing a role in your mysterious symptoms? Have a hunch you need to address it to achieve optimal wellness but overwhelmed with where to start? Here are 5 steps worth investigating if youre concerned about how a moldy environment might be affecting your health and wellbeing.
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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What Causes Mold Sickness
The toxins in your system from breathing in mold spores add to the total amount of toxicity in your body. We call this the Total Body Burden. When your burden is high, you start experiencing symptoms many which are seemingly unrelated.
For most people, toxins get flushed out from the body when eliminating waste.
For some, the toxic load is so high that its too much for the body to eliminate them all efficiently. For others, they may have poor detoxification processes or they may even recycle or reabsorb these mycotoxins back, as the body tries to eliminate them. Genetics plays a huge role in this difference from person to person
In short, multiple symptoms happen because, as we say in environmental medicine genetics points the gun, and then the environment pulls the trigger.
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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Most Common Toxic Black Mold Health Effects
Last Updated on by RTL Staff
Mycotoxins are well documented for their toxic effects on the human cell, causing considerable damage to normal cell function and associated with a number of clinical symptoms and disease processes.
Below are just a few:
- Birth Defects
Beside the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome , mycotoxins exposure can have acute complications like kidney or hepatic failure. It can also have teratogenic effects on the fetus in pregnant women. Prolonged exposure to mycotoxins also increases the risk of some types of cancer like lung carcinoma.
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Removing Mold In Your Home
In optimal conditions, mold can grow in your home within 24-48 hours.
Another high-risk area for being exposed to mold and mycotoxins is your home. The EPA estimates that 60% of all buildings have mold or other air quality hazards. Every room and outdoor space is susceptible to growing harmful strains.
Risk factors for developing mold in your home include:
- High humidity levels 11
- Water damage
- Poor ventilation
In reducing your mold exposure, prevention is key. This is especially true if your home has been hit by a major water event, such as flooding or a hurricane.12 Immediately cleaning up water damage, keeping humidity levels at < 50%, and ensuring proper ventilation are all great ways to prevent mold from growing in your home.
However, there are some exceptional strategies for removing mold from your home if growth has already occurred:
- A product called Homebiotics. Rather than using bleach when removing mold, this spray is a natural way to prevent and eliminate mold.
- Although HEPA air filters are a great way to keep your home free of allergens, having a photocatalytic air purifier goes steps further in removing mold. These air purifiers reduce mold by disinfecting the air .
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What Is Mold And Where Can You Find It
Mold is a type of fungus and it can found essentially everywhere, with no consensus on the exact number of species, but estimates range from tens to hundreds of thousands, according to CDC. Mold species reproduce with spores, which, when inhaled, can trigger allergic reactions. Certain mold species also produce mycotoxins that trigger a series of adverse downstream side effects in humans.
Mold prefer warm damp areas, which is why they are commonly found indoors, in rooms with high humidity like bathrooms, basements, and kitchens. But. dont think other areas are immune, as mold can appear at any damp place, including carpets, drywall, under wallpaper, in furniture stuffing, inside leaky pipes, flooded areas, and more. It can be especially dangerous if a mold-harboring area is in your bedroom since its where you spend hours upon hours deeply breathing, or closet since all of your clothes will be exposed as a result.
Although your home is the first place you should inspect, other sites like your work can be causing the problem as well. Mold can grow inside air vents, and then it can spread around the office quickly, affecting the health of all employees. Or maybe you joined a new gym, with a less than clean locker room or sauna where its humid the perfect environment for mold growth.
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.
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What Causes Aspergillosis
In most cases, aspergillosis is caused by a type of mold called Aspergillus fumigatus. Aspergillus mold can often be found on dead leaves, compost piles and other decaying vegetable matter, stored grain, and even foods and spices. The mold spores may be carried indoors on shoes and clothing and can grow on carpeting. Window unit air conditioners are susceptible to mold growth if filters are not kept clean, and water does not drain properly from the unit. Sites where buildings are being torn down or renovated may be contaminated with mold spores.
Air Oasis Air Sanitizers
Air Oasis air sanitizers work differently than HEPA filters. They use a technology developed by NASA called advanced hydration photocatalytic oxidation to destroy mold, bacteria, and other microorganisms with ultraviolet light and a catalyst. We have a few of the Air Angel units in smaller rooms, as well as an AO3000 in the main living area. Important note: I currently recommend running the AO units only when you are not in the rooms, and turning them off when you enter. This is due to the small amounts of ozone that they release. Though these levels are well below the recommended limit according to AOs website, I prefer to be cautious. I also recommend using a HEPA/charcoal filter along with the AO devices, rather than using them on their own.
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Focus On Natural Remedies Vs Man Made Medicines
When healing from mold toxicity, its important to opt for natural remedies instead of man made medicines, because only natural remedies are geared to address the root cause of the problem, without any added side effects. Man made medicines can be great at suppressing symptoms, but these symptoms are your bodys way of communicating with you if you fail to hear the message, you gear up for larger troubles in the long run.