Friday, May 24, 2024

How Does Breathing Black Mold Affect You

Does Mold Cause Tuberculosis

Breathing Mold Can Cause Health Issues

Despite recent progress and advances in medicine, tuberculosis is still not a disease of the past. In Canada alone around 1 600 new cases of tuberculosis are reported each year.

On March 24 this year, the Ontario Lung Association stated that tuberculosis remains a serious public health concern in Ontario, with one-third of all cases in 2009 occurring primarily in the Greater Toronto Area.

With that in mind, learning more about tuberculosis causes and what you can do to prevent it is the key to keep you and your loved ones safe from this disease. In fact many things we do in our daily routine can be the cause behind the weak immune system and increase risk of tuberculosis. Living with mold is definitely one of those things

How Do Black Mold Spores Affect Pets

Unlike humans, pets are more likely to consume moldy food and tend to spend more time in places prone to black mold growth. When exposed to black mold for a prolonged period, pets can exhibit allergy symptoms such as respiratory difficulties, pulmonary hemorrhage, nose bleeds, runny noses, fatigue, and more.

Pets can be affected by mold through ingestion. Spoiled items such as cheese or sour cream may contain mold that releases poisonous chemicals known as mycotoxins. Pets that eat food containing mycotoxins may exhibit muscle spasms or body tremors. Dont allow your pets to eat spoiled food. Take your pet to the vet immediately if you suspect theyve been exposed to black mold.

Is It Safe To Sleep In A House With Black Mold

While black mold is not as dangerous as common misconceptions may lead you to believe, prolonged exposure to any mold can pose more severe consequences. Sleeping while exposed to black mold may cause more intense symptoms that make it harder to fall and stay asleep. Even if you manage to fall asleep just fine, you may wake up with symptoms similar to that of a common cold i.e., fever, sore throat, coughing, shortness of breath or irritated skin.

If its at all avoidable, try to find somewhere else to sleep when your home is afflicted by black mold. If you arent able to go anywhere else, do your best to sleep as far away from the mold as possible. Find an area in your home where the mold has yet to spread or isnt as severe, and seal off any areas that are affected if possible. Try to keep the mold quarantined to the best of your ability until you are able to start treating the damage.

You may consider sleeping with a face mask to help reduce the side effects of mold exposure. If you choose to do this, be sure to consult with your doctor first not all face masks allow you to safely breathe while sleeping, so you may need a recommendation for a sleep-safe mask from your doctor.

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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.

Bad Mold Vs Good Mold

Mold and Your Health

Wondering whether some molds can be of any good like good bacteria? Yes. They are not bad always. Because of their pharmacological activity, some of the mycotoxins are useful as antibiotics.17 Under correct conditions, some molds are also used in the production of cheese. But, you cannot eat the fungi that grow on the cheese at home. They may result in allergic reactions. Outdoors, molds are considered to be a good thing. However, inside your home, if they find a sustainable food source to grow they become dangerous.

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What Is Mold Allergy

An allergy is an abnormal reaction by your immune system to common substances that dont affect most people. Molds are a type of fungus that exists almost everywhere in the world. The molds that grow inside our houses prefer dark and damp places and can be harmful to some people with immune systems that develop responses against mold.

People with mold allergies may develop itchy skin or rash, watery or itchy eyes, runny or itchy noses or in more severe cases, breathing problems.

There are probably thousands of different types of molds. Its possible to be allergic to only certain types of mold.

How Can I Check For Mold

Its best to hire a professional to help you identify and remove mold, especially if youre allergic or vulnerable to it.

You should also consider hiring help if the mold covers more than 10 square feet or if its hidden behind wallpaper, ceiling tiles, or other areas.

Here are some steps for identifying and removing mold.

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What Are Black Mold Health Symptoms

We all know mold isnt welcomed in the home, but did you know too that breathing in the presence of mold can harm your health? There are over 2,000 different species of mold and the most dangerous of all is called Stachybotrys Chartarum, also known as black mold or the invisible killer.

Why is black mold so dangerous? Black mold releases toxic spores that linger in the air and attack your respiratory health. The potency of these toxic spores has proved to be the most detrimental to human health.

Black mold often appears as slimy and greenish-black. If its water source runs out, it can also appear as dry and powdery. Black mold is also dangerous because its sometimes difficult to distinguish from other species of mold.

The following are health symptoms associated with black mold exposure:

  • Eye irritation

In severe cases, symptoms caused by inhaling black mold can lead to the following health troubles:

  • Vomiting
  • Asthma
  • Respiratory complications

Sometimes mold invades spaces that are hard to see and reach. It spreads fast, burrowing into walls and ceilings and hiding in cupboards and under carpets. Quite often, people are exposed to black mold without even knowing it. If you or anyone in your home is experiencing any of the aforementioned symptoms without knowing why, you may be exposed to mold.

How Common Is Mold Allergy

What are the effects of mold in the lungs?

According to some statistics, about 1 in 5 people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with environmental allergies. About two-thirds of people with asthma also have environmental allergies. Many days of work are lost and more than 50% of people who have such allergies consider them to play a part in their quality of life.

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Common Types Of Household Mold

Household mold varieties typically can be divided into rooms of the house. Mold & Bacteria Consulting Laboratories identified the most common molds in kitchens and bathrooms, on wallpaper, on carpets and mattresses, and in basements. These mold range from needing a large spore count in order to be harmful to ones that are extremely dangerous and any spore count present is very dangerous.Most common household molds:

  • Aspergillus: This species of mold has hundreds of different strains and is most commonly found in bathrooms, kitchens, and basements. It can also be present in damp potted plants, building materials, and carpet.

  • Cladosporium: This mold species is a common trigger for asthma attacks and allergic reactions. It is commonly found on decaying plants and indoor strains tend to grow on wet building materials and HVAC fans.

  • Stachybotrys: Commonly referred to as black mold, this is one of the most well-knownand most dangerousmold varieties that can grow in homes. It is most often found in dark, humid areas. The most common signs of black mold are a musty smell, dark rings and water spots, and visible mold colonies.

How Do Doctors Test For Mold Exposure

If you are aware of mold growth in your home and you feel sick let the doctor know that right away. But sometimes you cant see mold, and it is not clear whether its mold exposure thats made you sick or not.

Because mold allergy or mold exposure symptoms can resemble that of other allergies, the doctor will typically start by asking about your medical and family medical history. Additionally, doctors usually run tests for mold exposure which may include one or more of the following:

  • Skin test for reactions to allergens, including mold
  • IgG mold antibodies test to see the immune systems reaction to molds. A positive test means that an individual was or is currently exposed to mold
  • Urine mycotoxins test
  • A fungal culture of the nose sinuses

The type of testing youll receive depends on the doctor you visit, so be sure to ask questions ahead of time so you can feel confident in your diagnosis.

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How To Get Rid Of Black Mold

Depending on the severity of your black mold infestation, you can either clean it yourself or hire a professional. Hiring a professional is more expensive, but it prevents you from being exposed to the mold while trying to remove it. Youll probably want to hire a professional cleaner if you have wide-spread growth in multiple rooms.

If you choose to remove the black mold yourself, be sure to take the proper safety precautions. You want to avoid letting mold spores touch your skin or breathing them in by wearing:

  • Latex gloves
  • Protective mark, preferably a dust mask
  • Long sleeves and pants, or a full-body jumpsuit like a painters suit

Once youre dressed to tackle black mold, follow these steps to remove small infestations:

What Causes Mold Sickness

How Black Mold Affects You

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.

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If Mold Spores Are Invisible How Do You Know They Are There

Mold spores are everywhere, inside and outside, and are too small for the eye to see before they germinate. When a spore lands on a wet surface, it starts to grow right away and can spread throughout your home within a matter of days. It can take between one and twelve days to fully colonize and can grow at the rate of one inch per day.

Since mold spores travel, it is possible to have visible mold in one area of your home like the bathroom and unseen spores in another room like your bedroom. Since mold often grows in out-of-sight places like behind walls or under floorboards, the musty smell it gives off will be the indicator that mold is present. Between traveling spores and hidden mold colonies, mold anywhere in the house can mean mold everywhere in the house.

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What Are The Mental & Neurological Symptoms Associated With Black Mold Exposure

Black mold produces toxins that can kill neurons in the brain and can impair a persons mental faculties. Exposure to black mold toxins may cause mental & neurological conditions, like nervous disorders. Symptoms of mental & neurological effects of black mold exposure include altered behavior, mood swings, and irritability.

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Black Mold In The Body

Is it really a problem if you are exposed to black mold spores?

The answer to that is definitely yes! Mold not only grows on surfaces inside and outside of your home, but if it is inhaled, it can continue its growth inside your body.

I remember as a child being told that if I swallowed watermelon seeds, they would begin growing in my stomach. That was a pretty frightening thought

But the idea that mold can grow inside your body is a pretty disgusting thought, but its a reality.

Once it begins growing there, it will produce toxins that can make you very ill, from simple things such as sneezing and watery eyes to more severe problems such as breathing disorders, vomiting and neurological disorders.

Getting A Diagnosis For Mold Sickness

What Happens If You Breathe In Mold Spores?

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:

  • Depression

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Is There A Test To Determine If I Have Been Exposed To Mold

Some physicians have recommended testing for mold-specific antibodies. Thepresence of antibodies only indicates that you have been exposed to a substanceat some time. It does not tell you when you were exposed, where the exposuretook place, or how much of the mold you were exposed to. Having a positive testfor mold-specific antibodies alone is generally considered insufficient toprove that health effects reported by individuals in moisture-damaged buildingsare caused by exposure to mold.

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How Does Black Mold Form

The main reason behind the formation of black mold is moisture, which can be caused by several things, such as, water leakage, lack of proper ventilation, flooding, irregular maintenance, humidifiers, condensation, clogged-up gutters, damp clothes, humid basements, or even water accumulation around the foundation of your house.

Did you know?

Stachybotrys is the 3rd common toxic mold type found in homes we tested?! Find out more exciting mold stats and facts inside our mold statistics page.

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How Is Aspergillosis Diagnosed

Your doctor will probably ask you about your medical history, including the type and duration of your symptoms and whether you have a cough or a fever. It may be difficult to diagnose the condition, because symptoms may resemble those of other diseases.

Some of the diagnostic tests that may be required include:

  • Skin and blood tests: These tests are useful to diagnose ABPA, especially in cases where the patient has asthma, bronchiectasis or cystic fibrosis. The doctor or technician injects a small quantity of aspergillus antigen into the skin, usually the lower arm. A small red bump at or near the site will show that you have an allergic reaction. In addition, a sample of your blood might be analyzed to see if certain antibodies are present that indicate an allergic reaction.
  • Imaging tests: A chest X-ray or computerized tomography scan may be performed to examine the lungs.
  • Sputum culture: A sample of sputum might be stained and tested to see if aspergillus fungus is present.
  • Biopsy: A small sample of tissue is removed from the lungs or sinuses to diagnose invasive aspergillosis.

How Can You Tell If Theres Mold In Your Lungs

Health Risks of Black Mold (Stachybotrys chartarum)

If your exposure to mold is fairly minimal, chances are you may not even experience any symptoms. For more prolonged cases of exposure, the symptoms are generally recognizable across the board: sneezing, coughing, wheezing, chest tightness or discomfort, and shortness of breath are all strong indicators that there are mold spores in your lungs.

The issue here is that all of these symptoms can be found in a variety of illnesses or allergic reactions, so it can be difficult to directly pin down mold exposure as the cause. Pay close attention to your symptoms, as well as when they started and how they change. Make a mental note of when you discovered mold growing around you, how long you were around it and whether or not you had any protection . If you fear at all that there may be mold in your lungs, dont hesitate contact medical professionals and let them know whats going on. Its always better to be safe than sorry.

Mold exposure can potentially cause serious problems, but most healthy people have nothing to worry about aside from some uncomfortable, temporary symptoms. If youre worried about mold in your home, contact your local professional to learn what you can do about it.

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What Are The Treatments For Mold Allergy

In some cases, there may be ways to reduce or remove mold exposure. This may not always be possible and you may need medications.

  • Avoid contact with mold.
  • Take medications for nasal or other allergic symptoms. Antihistamines and nasal steroids are available over the counter without a prescription. If you have allergic asthma, talk to your doctor about which medicines may be best for you. You might also be a candidate for allergy shots. Allergy shots may help reduce symptoms and medications. Learn more about allergy treatments.

Look for this mark to find products proven more suitable for people with asthma and allergies. Find CERTIFIED asthma & allergy friendly® products on our Certification program website.

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