Only People With Weakened Immune Systems Can Get Sick From Water Damaged Buildings
Incorrect. While exposure to toxic mold may cause acute illness in those with preexisting conditions that weaken the immune system, almost anyone can get sick from long-term exposure to biotoxins. If no genetic susceptibility exists and the person is removed from exposure, symptoms should eventually resolve.
Case studies looking at teachers who saw the reversal of symptoms after leaving water damaged school buildings each year for summer vacation show how the body is able to eliminate toxins after its no longer repeatedly exposed. Avoiding the affected environment allowed their bodies to catch up and eliminate the toxic load from their systems.
This is not true for people who are genetically susceptible, as their immune systems are unable to recognize and remove biotoxins from the body. The biotoxins are unchecked, free to recirculate practically forever, causing system-wide inflammation. Many times, the inflammation caused by CIRS is misdiagnosed as:
What Is Mold Illness Better Yet Do People Get Sick After Being Exposed To Water
Yes, people are indeed sickened and stay sickened by exposure to Water Damaged Buildings . There have been lots of names for the illness over the years, including Mold illness. The best discussion of the academic basis for this illness is found in the Expert Treating Physicians Consensus report published 7/2010 . Let start with some basic ideas: this illness is not an allergy. It is an inflammation within the body which is caused by an immune system that has gone haywire. The term mold illness is a subcategory of biotoxin illness called Chronic Inflammatory ResponseSyndrome . The proper definition of CIRS is:
An acute and chronic, systemic inflammatory response syndrome acquired following exposure to the interior environment of a water-damaged building with resident toxigenic organisms, including, but not limited to fungi, bacteria, actinomycetes and mycobacteria as well as inflammagens such as endotoxins, beta glucans, hemolysins, proteinases, mannans and possibly spirocyclic drimanes as well as volatile organic compounds.
Mold Toxicity Symptoms Diagnosis And Natural Treatment
The awareness of mold toxicity and its effect on human health has increased dramatically over the past few years. Estimates predict that indoor air pollutants, including mold, may be contributing to more than 50% of peoples illnesses.
You will find the most common types of mold indoors, which include Cladosporium, Penicillium, Alternaria, and Aspergillus. Stachybotrys chartarum sometimes referred to as toxic black mold, grows on household surfaces such as wood, fiberboard, gypsum board, paper, dust, and lint.
Read on to learn more about the typical symptoms of mold toxicity, diagnosis and testing and a simple but an effective natural treatment approach.
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Can Mold Harm My Health
Most types of mold do not harm people. In fact, doctors use some varieties to improve health. For instance, penicillin is a useful mold that has saved many peoples lives. However, not all molds are beneficial. In fact, people often develop health issues when they come into contact with harmful species of molds.
If you are in an environment with a large mold presence, you may breathe in mold spores. The antigens in these spores can enter your body and cause a variety of harmful health conditions.
How Do You Get Mold Spores Out Of Your Lungs
What is the treatment? Its almost impossible to avoid all contact with fungal spores, so treatment for mold in your lungs often consists of taking medications. Corticosteroids often help open your airways to make coughing easier. You may need to take them when daily or only when your symptoms flare.
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Concerned That You Have Mold Toxicity Heres How We Can Help
Mold illness can be severe and shouldnt be taken lightly. Its important to understand if mold is causing your symptoms to determine a health protocol and the next steps in mold toxicity treatment.
If you think youve been exposed to mold or youre experiencing mold toxicity symptoms, getting tested, diagnosed, and treated for mold illness can help you turn your health around. If youre based in Arizona, you can schedule an appointment here.
Heres to your health,
Dr. Emily Parke
What Is Mold Toxicity
Mold toxicity is a severe mold illness that occurs after youre exposed to mold spores that emit toxic substances. Oftentimes spores release these toxins into the air, so you can be exposed by breathing in the toxins. Some people may experience chronic illness after long-term toxic mold exposure. These toxins released by certain molds are called mycotoxins.
However, not all molds are toxic. There are good molds as well.
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Who Is Most At Risk For Health Problems Associated With Exposure To Mold
People with allergies may be more sensitive to molds. People with immune suppression or underlying lung disease are more susceptible to fungal infections. Individuals with chronic respiratory disease may experience difficulty breathing. Individuals with immune suppression are at increased risk for infection from molds. If you or your family members have these conditions, a qualified medical clinician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment.
Why Are Mold Issues Difficult To Diagnose
Conventional medicine recognizes that mold can cause allergies but does not recognize that mycotoxins emitted by some species of indoor mold can cause a problem, says McElroy. This means that doctors unfamiliar with mold and mold treatment may miss one of the main types of mold reactionsthe chemical and inflammatory reaction. This is for a few reasons:
- There is no gold standard in testing for mold
- There is no standardized treatment protocol or drug for mold toxicity
- There are very limited human-based studies looking at the connection between mycotoxins and human health
- The presentation of mold issues is very different among patients
- Not everyone exposed to mold mycotoxins will have a reaction to them
Its no wonder mold illness can be hard to diagnose. Fortunately, holistic medicine providers consider environmental factors that affect health when evaluating patients and may have additional advanced training in treating mold toxicity.
According to McElroy, one of the biggest challenges with mold is that mycotoxins can cause only some people to launch an inflammatory response. This unpredictable response can go on for years after a long-term exposure in a susceptible individual, she explains.
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What To Do Next
If you suspect you may have a problem with mold, I suggest the following steps.
Step 1. Start to learn about mold illness. Start with Dr. Shoemakers excellent website and book, Surviving Mold.
Step 2. Test your home for mold. One of the best tests is called an ERMI, and I suggest that you hire an environmental professional to perform a visual inspection of your home and sample several rooms. You can perform an ERMI on your own at a lower price but its only helpful if its positive, in which case youll need to hire an environmental professional. So I suggest skip the self-testing.
Step 3. Work with a clinician trained in the Shoemaker Protocol. on how to find one. You may consider the genetic susceptibility test for mold, which can be performed by Labcorp, panel # 167120.
In the next part of this series on mold illness, Ill describe what happened when I tested my own home for mold. Then Ill address remediation and whats proven to help a person heal from mold illness.
Do you have symptoms of mold illness? Do you know or suspect you live in a water-damaged building? We would love to hear your story. Let me know in the comments below.
Outdoor Molds Are More Problematic Than Indoor Molds
It might surprise you, but this is another wrong assumption. Indoor molds cause more health issues than outdoor molds. In general, indoor air is two to five times more toxic than outdoor air. While mold and mold spores exist everywhere outdoors, very few people get sick from mold outside. So, why is indoor mold such a problem? The answer is water-damaged buildings .
WDBs are more of a problem than ever before. A change to building standards and an explosion of air-conditioning systems in the 1970s and 1980s is partially to blame. As demand for air conditioning increased, there was an energy shortage. To increase HVAC efficiency, builders began to seal systems, causing air to be recirculated within buildings.
Pair recirculation with poor filtration, trapped moisture, and building materials such as paper, gypsum, fiberglass, and insulation that literally feed mold, and youve got a recipe for water leaks and mold growth. Unfortunately, it only takes 24-48 hours for mold and mildew to form after water exposure, and growth wont stop until the source of moisture is remedied.
The Environmental Protection Agency did a study of one hundred commercial buildings in the 1990s and reported that 43% had current water damage and 85% had past water damage. Studies in the U.S. estimate that 50% of all buildings have water damage. Its no wonder that mold illness has become such a controversial issue in recent years.
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Symptoms Of Mold Illness
- Memory problems, brain fog, trouble with focus and executive function
- Fatigue, weakness, post-exercise malaise and fatigue
- Muscle cramping, aches and pains, joint pain without inflammatory arthritis, persistent nerve pain, ice pick pain
- Numbness and tingling
- Light sensitivity, red eyes, and/or blurred vision
- Sinus problems, cough, shortness of breath, air hunger, asthma-like symptoms
- Abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea, appetite changes
- Metallic taste
- Weight gain despite sufficient effort
- Night sweats or other problems with temperature regulation
- Excessive thirst
- Increased urination
- Static shocks
See how easily mold poisoning could go unnoticed, or mistaken for other conditions? Yet 30 years of good scientific evidence points to the serious health problem that mold can cause.
How Did I Get Sick
This illness happens after exposure to the interior environment of a Water-Damaged Building . There are many ways buildings become home to a toxic mix of microbes, and harmful chemicals. Buildings can host fungi, bacteria, mycobacteria, and actinomycetes as a result of construction defects like inappropriate ventilation, faulty construction of crawl spaces, inadequate building design, flat roofs, fake stucco cladding without adequate caulking, basements exposed to saturated ground water conditions, not correcting water leaks and more.
Since 1998, Dr. Shoemaker has treated over 7,000 patients with an illness caused by exposure to these conditions. Each patient has a syndrome that is readily identified by blood tests performed in standard medical labs all over the country. These illnesses reflect a growing societal problem: dangerous buildings. Inhaling these dangerous inflammagens is what makes people sick.
We live in the Era of Dangerous Buildings with 50% of our buildings having water damage so the likelihood that you wont ever be exposed to dangerous buildings is quite low.
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Black Mold Exposure Mold Poisoning:
These are molds that are green or black in appearance. The most common species of the black mold isStachybotrys chartarum. It has been speculated that many black molds are toxigenic, which means they release mycotoxins that are particularly harmful to people with preexisting conditions.
When these mycotoxins begin to accumulate in the body, it may lead to a condition known as mold poisoning which affects the upper respiratory system adversely.
Common mold poisoning symptoms are the same as that of mold allergies. People who are suffering from asthma or any other chronic lung disease, these mycotoxins will make their condition miserable. They will exhibit severe symptoms such as:
After becoming conversant with the health issues caused by molds, its high time to discuss how doctors test for mold exposure.
Notes From The Field: Use Of Unvalidated Urine Mycotoxin Tests For The Clinical Diagnosis Of Illness United States 2014
Melody Kawamoto, MD1, Elena Page, MD1
In February 2014, CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health received a request for a health hazard evaluation from a union representative in an office building. A female employee reported the onset of symptoms involving multiple organ systems upon returning to work after a prolonged absence. The employee searched the Internet for descriptions of symptoms matching hers, found a laboratory offering “toxic mold testing” direct to consumers, and submitted a urine sample, despite the absence of musty odors and signs of fungal growth in her office. The laboratory reported “positive” concentrations of two mycotoxins: ochratoxin at 2.8 parts per billion and tricothecenes at 0.4 ppb. The laboratory cutoff for “positive” was 2.0 ppb for ochratoxin and 0.2 ppb for tricothecenes. The interpretation accompanying the laboratory report said the results “revealed that you have an unusual level of that mycotoxin present in your body.”
The laboratory referred the employee to a clinic specializing in “medical treatment for mold exposure and mold illness,” where she was examined, diagnosed with mold toxicity, and prescribed an antifungal medication. Antifungal medications are used to treat fungal infections, not illnesses caused by toxins produced by fungi. Also prescribed were dietary modification and several nonstandard medical treatments .
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How Can You Detox From Mold
In addition to removing yourself from the environment where the mold is or having the mold removed, you can help your body detox the spores that have been inhaled and trapped inside. You can take supplements to build up your immune system, reestablish your gut health, and reduce inflammation:
Rather than trying to handle mold exposure on your own, you should consider seeing a physician. The situation may be more serious than you think.
How To Deal With Black Mold And Recover From Mold Poisoning
- Black mold is extraordinarily toxic, and more common than you might think. An estimated 22 percent of people and half of all buildings in the U.S. have a mold problem.
- The good news is that the word about mold is spreading, and its becoming easier and easier to deal with black mold and mycotoxins .
- This guide will tell you how to test for black mold, permanently remove it from your home, and flush mycotoxins from your body and repair the damage they do.
- Mold can make you feel hopeless and like your health is out of your hands. Dont worry with these steps, you can take control of your body and brain and get rid of mold for good.
Black mold is nasty stuff. It causes chronic fatigue, mood swings, allergies, asthma, unexplained weight gain even cancer.
Mold contamination is also more common than you might think. In a recent Bulletproof Radio podcast episode , geneticist and mold researcher Dr. Andrew Heyman explains why.
We estimate that 22 percent of the population is vulnerable to , says Heyman. Forty million people and at least half of all buildings in the U.S. have a mold problem.
Heyman goes on to say that people frequently overlook black mold, partly because it often shows up in hard-to-reach places, like ventilation systems in commercial buildings or apartment complexes.
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How Do You Know If Mold Is Making You Sick
Are you sick and suspect it might be from mold?
Determining whether exposure to mold is making you sick isnt always easy.
Each persons body is affected by mold toxicity in different ways. Some experience constant migraines and headaches, shortness of breath, brain fog, fatigue or even depression.
Since symptoms differ from person to person, they may not be quickly associated with mold exposure. Many people suffering from mold illness struggle to get a proper diagnosis and investigation.
Its common to think my house is clean it cant be mold! However, mold comes in many forms. In this article, well share what toxic mold is, the signs and symptoms, and how it can be treated.
Mold Toxicity: How To Diagnose And Treat Mold Exposure For Good
Have you ever left a piece of bread out on your kitchen counter for too long?
If so, you probably saw some blue-ish, green, and grey hairy spots begin to grow. Never mind that sandwich for lunch
The culprit: mold.
Mold is a fungus that grows through filaments called hyphae. Different types of mold vary in color, shape, and size. But they all have one thing in common they all need moisture to grow.
Toxic mold can grow indoors and outdoors and can lead to mold-related allergies and illnesses. For some people exposure to mold can lead to a mold illness and could also eventually lead to mold toxicity . Does everyone exposed to mold react the same? The answer is no! Some people are more susceptible to the effects of mold than others. This is why it is possible for only 1 or 2 household members to have health issues secondary to mold when everyone seems fine.
If you suspect youve been exposed to mold, you may have asked yourself questions like
What are common ways you can be exposed to mold?
How can you test your home for mold toxicity?
What should you do if youre experiencing mold toxicity symptoms?
Ill share the functional medicine approach to answering these questions below!
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