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.
If You Or Anyone At Your Home Has Allergies
Allergies are the prominent symptom of mold. If you have signs like puffy eyes, chronic stuffy nose, irritated eyes, breathing problems as shortness of breath and sinusitis etc.
This can be because of mold or any other allergen in the locality. It can also lead to cough which can be severe later. If it gets severe it can lead to bloody cough, body aches, low electrolytes level or electrolyte imbalance which can also cause seizures.
How To Test For Mold In Your Body
I used to think that you would suspect mold in your home or feel sick, and thats why you would test for mold in your body.
Sadly I now know that past exposures and food exposures that you were never even aware of could be affecting your health.
If you are in the 1 in 4 people that dont identify and clear mold well, and you have mysterious symptoms that are not improving, you may have mold toxicity.
In many ways, the testing and remediation for toxic mold in your body is much more straightforward.
The mold testing I recommend is a challenged urine test with a private consultation with our coaching team.
Challenged means that we encourage detoxification in your body so that we hopefully push some toxins out in your urine. However, its possible to get a false negative if your body is just so depleted and overwhelmed that it cannot mobilize toxins. So far I have not seen this, but its possible.
One mistake I made was that I did not test for toxins in the early stages of my illness. This left me without a baseline for my change and progress.
The brand we currently use for mold toxicity testing is the Great Plains laboratory. Besides the easy, at-home testing, it offers some amazing add-on tests to identify other health imbalances and toxins.
We offer three options:
Mold Testing + Organic Acids Test
All of the above plus non-metal toxins and glyphosate
These tests will cover key mold toxins, plus the option to test for co-infections, detox markers, and chemicals exposure.
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Detox Supplements & Research
- CytoDetox: This specialty detox product can help eliminate mold toxin buildup within the body.
- Use high-quality probiotics.
- Take supplements that increase glutathione within the body. GCEL is a wonderful supplement in this category to try. N-acetyl cysteine is also an excellent choice, as it has been shown to replenish intracellular glutathione14. Among its many benefits, glutathione is known to decrease oxidative stress15, and help overcome autoimmune diseases. Research has found that low levels of glutathione can be an underlying cause of oxidative stress16
- Binders: Most toxins are processed by the kidney or liver. Fat soluble toxins are processed by the liver, and are put into the bile complex. The bile complex is then emptied into the small intestine. Adding binders can bind aflatoxins and mycotoxins to aid in successful toxin elimination17. Activated carbon has also been shown effective at removing BPA and common pesticides from the body18.
- Using natural treatments such as antioxidants, antifungals, clay, and chlorella have also been proven effective in removing mold and mycotoxins19.
- Since mold can aggravate autoimmune conditions, it is even more important for those with one of these conditions to be vigilant removing mold and mycotoxin exposure. Follow these 7 keys to any autoimmune diet protocol.
How Long Does It Take To Get Sick From Black Mold Exposure
It will depend on each person and the time frame for irritation and allergies caused by molds but I would assume that if you are in a poorly ventilated house or room and have a history of allergies that it probably just takes inhalation/digestion/contact with a few spores.
The real thing to do is to treat the mold, and then treat the cause of the mold- moisture. Make sure the house is dry, clean, and you have fans in all bathrooms and good ventilation throughout.
How long will my recovery from mold exposure take? Recovery time is will depend on several different factors, so there is no simple answer to this question. Listen to your body watch you allergies.
If in any doubt please consult your medical professional for specific advice to you as everyone is different. This information is for informational purposes only and nothing more,.and
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Signs & Symptoms Of Cirs
Common signs and symptoms of mold illness or CIRS include:
- Respiratory difficulties
- Neurological symptoms
- Sinus congestion and stuffy nose
- Hair loss
- Brain fog, confusion or memory loss
- Difficulty concentrating
- Red eyes, blurred vision, sweats, mood swings, sharp pains
- Feeling lightheaded or dizzy
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Weight loss or weight gain
- Unusual skin sensations, tingling and numbness
You may have several of these symptomsor just one or two. The amount of symptoms dont matter as much as the unrelenting poor health experienced because of them.
Although these symptoms are also synonymous with other conditions often talked about in functional medicinefrom adrenal fatigue, thyroid disorders to gut dysbiosisthe key distinguisher in mycotoxin illness or CIRS is often times, these are often the patients who do not get better once commencing a protocol.
Buttttt.how do you know if you really have mold illness or CIRSor youre just feeling out of sorts? What tests can you do to reveal true illness
There are a handful
Common Signs Of Toxic Mold Poisoning
Symptoms and signs of mycotoxins poisoning are very different depending on many factors. How this poisoning presents itself depends on:
- Type of mycotoxin
- Genetic structure
- And others
This means there can be a major difference in symptoms between individuals in the population exposed to it. To some extent it is clear that mycotoxicosis can increase susceptibility to infections, worsen the effect of other toxins present and advance other health conditions.
Although acute poisoning is more obvious and sometimes has grave effects, chronic exposure is much more present in the population in general. Finally, mycotoxins can cause changes in immune, nervous system, behavior, mood and even development problems like stunting.
The other way that molds can affect your health is through allergy and IgE-mediated pathways. Mold can introduce multiple different types of antigens to your system. One of the main antigens involved is mold spores. Mold can lead to asthma, hypersensitivity reactions, and pulmonary inflammatory disease.
There are many different variants that could cause a patient to have one reaction compared to another. One of these factors is the human leukocyte antigen patterns. Another likely significant factor is the glutathione transferase genes. One study found that polymorphism in GSTP1 influenced illness and treatment after exposure to water-damaged buildings.
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How Long Does It Take For Mold To Get Out Of Your System
I had so much mold in my body that it took several months for the ebb and flow of flu symptoms to go away. As you kill the mold and there are less organisms in your body, you will start to feel better. It took my husband six months to become free and clear of mold while it took me a year and a half.
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.
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What Else Can Cause A Musty Odor In The Home
As a mold assessor, the number one culprit that I find is causing musty smells in homes during a mold inspection is:
Humidity is how the amount of water vapor measured in the air.
Humidity itself can lead to mold growth on both hard surfaces
Mold generally will only be on the surface of hard surfaces and in most cases but may let off what people describe as a mildew smell.
High humidity for an extended period of time could lead to mold growth on porous items such as couches, beds, clothes, etc.
There are many times however by just controlling the humidity within the home that the smell will vanish. The smell of dampness is mostly related to humidity.
What Is Black Mold
Black mold is easily distinguishable from other molds because, not surprisingly, it tends to be dark black. Black mold, also known as Stachybotrys chartarum or Stachybotrys atra, can be found indoors growing on a variety of surfaces, especially things with a high cellulose content like wood, fiberboard, gypsum board, paper, lint and dust.
Other than being black, what does black mold look like? Black mold can actually be a greenish or grayish black. It has a distinctive odor thats musty and mildew-like.
What is mold? A mold is a type of fungus that grows in filaments and reproduces by forming mold spores that cannot be seen by the naked human eye. Mold can grow and thrive in any season, indoors or outdoors, in damp, warm and humid environments, and it spreads like wild fire. Mold itself flourishes in warm, moist environments, but mold spores can actually survive in harsh, dry environments. The spores float around in indoor and outdoor air. When the spores land on a moist surface, the mold can then start to grow.
Black mold is most likely to rear its ugly head in areas of the home that are warm, humid and damp. In addition to showers, basements and crawlspaces that may have leaks, or some other sources of moisture, are commonly susceptible to the growth of toxic black mold.
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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.
How To Prevent Black Mold From Growing
It hides in plain sight. Mold loves damp, humid conditions. It will thrive and multiply at a tremendous rate in perfect conditions. But when those conditions change the spores can stay dormant in arid conditions, for very long periods. This is when you may not know the mold is present. As soon as damp returns you will be able to see exactly where the mold is.
Start by inspecting your home. Look in the kitchen around the sink area, where the tiles meet the sink. Mold loves to grow under the silicone that seals the cracks between wall and sink. Over time water gets trapped behind the silicone and mold will appear.
Look in all your cupboards, in the dark corners, both bottom, and top. If a room is not well ventilated and the climate is humid, no doubt, mold will be growing.
Air ducts of aircon systems gather moisture and condensation, perfect breeding grounds for mold. Surfaces with a high cellulose content are also favored by mold colonies.
Check the bathrooms, around the sink and bath and in the shower. Check for mold and check for damp.
Prevention is always better than cure so if you find damp areas, a leaking tap or an outlet pipe, on the outside of the house, sort it out fast.
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How Do You Know If You Have Mold Poisoning
Mold not only looks bad but can also be harmful to your health when you are exposed to its spores. It can appear in many forms and grows in areas that experience constant moisture and high levels of humidity. For instance, you may notice some white patches on your floor, slimy black spots on your shower curtain or a slick orange film on your kitchen drain. Regardless of the appearance, mold can make you sick especially if you have a low immune system or suffering from asthma and allergies. People who are very sensitive to mold can experience allergic reactions when they accidentally inhale the spores or when it encounters their skin. This article looks at how to know if you have mold poisoning.
- Allergic Reactions to Mold
The longer you are exposed to mold, the more your body will be sensitive to it causing severe allergic reactions. When you inhale or ingest mold spores, your immune system defense will react against the foreign particles through sneezing, wheezing, or coughing. The more you are exposed, you tend to develop other symptoms such as shortness of breath, itchy skin, watery eyes, and persistent irritation along your respiratory tract.
- Physical Examination
- Blood Tests
- Skin Tests
How To Tell If You Have Mold In Your House
It can be hard to tell if you have mold in your house. Obviously, if you see mold somewhere, youve got a mold problem in your house, but mold can hide in walls, ventilation ducts, crawl spaces, and in other hard-to-see areas.
A common way to check for mold is to smell for it. A musty smell in an area of your home is often an indicator that there is some kind of mold present. Symptoms like a persistent runny nose, watery eyes, sneezing and throat irritation could also be indicative of mold.
In addition, anywhere that has been exposed to a significant amount of moisture such as water damage from flooding is a potential area where mold may be growing. Look for water where it shouldnt be, and check areas which may have flooded in the past.
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Removal From Exposure Is The First Step In Successful Treatment
Dr. Shoemaker has developed a multistep protocol for treating CIRS .
The first step in the protocol is removing the patient from exposure to biotoxins. This involves testing all environments that the patient spends significant amounts of time in throughout the course of their daily life. If mold or other biotoxins are identified, those environments must be successfully remediated , or the patient must relocate to another home or workplace.
As both a clinician and someone dealing with CIRS myself, I have found step one to be by far the most difficult step in the protocol. Heres why.
Many mold inspectors do not use comprehensive, accurate testing methods. If you call a local mold inspector and ask them to come assess your property, chances are they will do a visual inspection and take some air samples. Both of these methods can yield useful information, but on their own, they are not enough.
Air sampling does not allow identification of particular species of Penicillium, Aspergillus, Wallemia, etc., which is important because different species have different health effects. In addition, air sampling devices collect only a small sample of air from directly around the device. This matters because mold spores have different molecular weights, and some do not remain airborne for long.
The lab that I recommend for ERMI testing is Mycometrics. It follows the procedures established in the EPA patent by the letter, and it has excellent quality-control procedures in place.