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.
How To Recover From Mold Toxicity
Evaluate The Issue. I did a lot of experimental things to deal with my illness such as hyperbaric oxygen, ozone and more, but there are also daily things I did to optimize my health.
My advice? If you suspect mold, find someone who can identify and examine your house for mold one who is not the remediator. In other words, you dont want the guy whos fixing your house determine if there is toxic mold present . You want someone whos independent and can do a full evaluation. Thats the first step. And then it might be a simple problem, say a water leak in one area, which is a simple fix. A friend of mine told me to do something as basic as put a plastic container under your sink that can catch water that leaks. I also invested in good quality air filters.
Address The Toxins. The first thing is to make sure the exposure is not continuing.
I recommend working with a functional medicine practitioner who can help support your detoxification systems and mitochondria. My friend, Dr. Ann Shippy, recommends liposomal glutathione and binders like charcoal, clay and modified citrus pectin to draw out the toxins. Also, things such as phosphatidyl choline, CoQ10, D-Ribose and carnitine to support mitochondria. Always work with a practitioner and remember everyone is affected differently. I have specific SNPs that make it harder for me to detoxify from toxins, so when I was exposed, I really had to tackle the problem head-on.
What Are The Most Common Mold Toxicity Symptoms
In my experience, a wide array of symptoms can manifest if youve been exposed to mold spores. Symptoms will vary depending on how long someone has been in a moldy environment, what type of mold and mycotoxins are detected, as well as the overall health status of the individual, genetics and lifestyle factors.
Some patients ask me: What are the symptoms of toxic black mold exposure? and the truth is that symptoms vary because the variations of mold toxicity is extremely vast. That is why it is essential to work progressively and systematically with a health practitioner who can help you detox your body of the toxins, byproducts and address potential co-conditions.
Aspergilloma of the lung and close-up view of Aspergillus fungi, 3D illustration. Also known as mycetoma, or fungus ball, a lesion produced by fungi Aspergillus in immunocompromised patients
Common symptoms associated with toxic mold exposure include:
- Allergy-like symptoms
- Hair loss
Multiple studies demonstrated that long-term exposure could also lead to feelings of chronic fatigue, anxiety, depression, impaired memory, decreased libido, and stomach pains. Research shows that our neurological, respiratory, and immune systems are most affected by water damage and mold. A study published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology showed that mold exposure in early childhood led to an increase in asthma prevalence in children at the age of 7.
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Toxic Mold Is The Only Cause Of Illness
This might seem confusing at first, but a major misconception about mold illness is that its only caused by toxic mold. Youre probably thinkingWell, why is it called mold illness? Am I right? Let me explain.
First, its important to understand that the fuzzy green, white, or black mold you see on food or growing in the attic usually doesnt make you sick. Mold is a type of fungus that may or may not produce toxic chemicals called mycotoxins. Mycotoxins can be found on mold as well as on mold spores and are harmful to humans. If youre exposed to mycotoxins through skin contact, inhalation, or ingestion, you might experience short-term symptoms or long-term illness.
Next, what is often diagnosed as mold illness or mycotoxicosis may be more accurately diagnosed as biotoxin illness or Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome . Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker, a physician and clinical researcher who was the first to uncover the connection between a specific group of symptoms and certain toxins called biotoxins, defined CIRS in the late 1990s.
CIRS is a multi-system, multi-symptom condition often caused by exposure to a dangerous mix of biotoxins, including but not limited to mycotoxins. Mold is often solely blamed because of its visible presence in water damaged buildings. This has led to the general label mold illness or mycotoxicosis, which is just one subcategory of biotoxin illness/CIRS.
Do I Need To Get Medical Treatment
In many cases, exposure to toxic mold doesnt require medical treatment. If you experience cold-like symptoms after exposure to potentially toxic mold, these symptoms will likely fade on their own with no long-term effects once you remove yourself from the environment with the mold.
Generally speaking, your overall risk of long-term health effects related to mold exposure is fairly low. That said, experts still have more to learn about the possible health effects of mold exposure.
For this reason, its still important to avoid long-term exposure to potentially toxic mold and promptly address signs of mold in spaces you spend time in.
Reaching out to a healthcare professional may be a good option if you:
- have a compromised immune system due to another health condition
- have significant trouble breathing
- live with cystic fibrosis
As for a mold detox? Contrary to some beliefs, theres typically no need to go on a cleanse or detox in order to heal your body after exposure to mold.
Heres why: When functioning optimally, your body constantly detoxes itself and its very efficient at this task.
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Whats The Problem With Mold
As you start to boost your bodys detox process, it helps to understand what mold is and where it comes from.
Microscopic Mold Spores
Mold is a fungus that begins life as a single spore. Mold spores are invisible, so you need a microscope or heavy-duty magnifying glass to see them. Its impossible to avoid them, because theyre everywhere floating through the air and landing in random locations.
Did you know you breathe in mold spores all the time?
Moisture & Mycotoxins
Mold needs water to grow and it thrives in damp, warm and humid environments. When you notice mold with the naked eye, youre actually seeing colonies of thousands of mold spores growing together. Pay attention to this clue, because it means theres excessive moisture. It could be a leaky roof, humid bathroom, an overwatered plant, or any number of other water sources.
Mold reproduces by releasing more mold spores into the air, continuing their life cycle. The dangerous by-product of mold the thing that makes you sick is called a mycotoxin. Its a poison that can cause severe health problems and many different symptoms. You can be exposed to mycotoxins through inhalation, ingestion or by direct skin contact.
According to the CDC, mold can enter your home through any opening doors, windows, vents, heating and air conditioning systems, etc. It can also attach to pets, clothing, shoes, bags, and more.
Molds Leading Roles
Toxigenic This mold is toxic to all who come in contact with it.
How Much Of A Priority Should I Make Cleansing My Home Of Mold
Theres no need to panic about small amounts of mold. Of course, if you recently had a flood or water damage, its worth contacting a mold inspector. Or, if youre in a high-risk immune category or have allergy and asthma symptoms that might be related to mold, you should definitely address it, Dr. Parikh says. Regular home inspections should be able to detect mold, though.
To prevent mold growth in your house to begin with, the ideal scenario is to use central air conditioning with a certified allergy and asthma-friendly filter, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.
If you dont have access to A/C, try to use a dehumidifier, especially when its hazy and humid outside. When youre showering, turn on an exhaust fan or crack a window so mold doesnt appear over time. Cleaning the bathroom, kitchen, and laundry room regularly with an anti-mildew cleaner is your best bet to zap mold in its tracks.
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Modulate That Inflammation And Heal
Healing From Mold Protocol #6 – From the “Step By Step Protocol” To Healing From Mold
Once you are no longer in a moldy environment, and you have removed most of the mycotoxins from your body, you still have to deal with the residual inflammation left from the mycotoxins, and your bodies reaction to them, which is largely an inflammatory reaction. It is this inflammatory reaction that creates many of the signs, and symptoms a mold susceptible person has. Many “moldy people” also have additional health issues that will become evident, and need to be dealt with. Look for heavy metals, pathogens such as parasites, viruses, retroviruses, bacteria, internal fungus, and look for other environmental toxins, electromagnetic frequency reactions, mental/emotional stress as well as any other organ issues, or genetic issues that might add to the health picture. If there are nutrient deficiencies or excess that have not yet been dealt with, do it now. Remove all processed foods, chemicals in food, and don’t forget drugs might be adding to the disease picture. I can’t cover all the possible issues each person may have, but I can talk about the generalized inflammation, and ways that it can be dealt with, that are also shown to normalize the lab markers that these “moldy people” have out of kilter.
Reducing The Risk Of Mold Exposure And Removing Mold In The Home
The best way to avoid mold toxicity is to reduce your risk of exposure and this starts at home. There are many ways to reduce the possibility of mold in your home. They include:
- First, address any potential water leaks. This includes plumbing problems or leaky roofs. Second, fix leaking pipes and make roof repairs. In addition, let any areas that receive water damage from the leaks dry completely. Use fans if possible.
- Increase the airflow in your home. For example, open windows and allow fresh air to come in. Above all, ensure that air can circulate throughout the entire home. This may mean moving furniture away from the walls, allowing for full air circulation.
- Install or repair broken exhaust fans in the bathrooms, kitchen, and laundry room. This helps reduce increased moisture levels.
- Check that you have adequate insulation and ventilation in your attic and crawl spaces.
- Clean and dry carpets, bedding, and furniture within 24 to 48 hours of exposure to water damage.
- Vacuum and dust on a regular basis to help remove mold spores from carpeting and furniture.
- Check all your windows for signs of water droplets or condensation. Immediately dry the water and check the window seals. Finally, repair as necessary.
- If you live in a humid climate, consider a dehumidifier to reduce humidity levels.
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Which Molds Produce Mycotoxins
Molds are everywhere in our environment. No one knows how many varieties there are, however estimates range from tens of thousands to more than 300,000. Most types of molds dont cause adverse health effects, while others the toxic molds give off the mycotoxins that can be very dangerous.
Some molds, like the ones used to make certain cheeses, are edible. Others that grow on a wide array of foodstuffs including bread, soy, corn, dried fruit, coffee, peanuts, and many others can either be harmless or give off mycotoxins, depending on the type. Below is a chart of the most common types of toxic molds found in homes and the mycotoxins they produce.
Mold Illness Misunderstanding And Misdiagnosis
You might be wondering if youre experiencing toxic mold exposure symptoms. If you lived or worked in a water damaged building and tried to learn the truth about the risks to your health, you probably came across some conflicting information.
Maybe you were told by a practitioner that your symptoms couldnt be mold related or that your fatigue, weakness, brain fog, memory issues, headaches, nausea, shortness of breath, and other debilitating symptoms were all in your head. Perhaps you were even referred to a mental health specialist. If so, youre not alone.
Theres a lot of misunderstanding about toxic mold exposure and the resulting impact on human health. Thankfully, awareness is growing. What was once speculation is now defined, diagnosed, and treated by integrative and functional medicine practitioners with the Shoemaker Protocol and other natural therapies. And research continues to be funded and published by large institutions such as the World Health Organization and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Yet, there is still much to be done to inform the larger medical community and the general public. Lack of awareness about mold not only lead to misdiagnosis but also fear, shame, and confusion. Many sufferers are left feeling hopeless, believing there is no solution. Ive written this article to correct faulty assumptions about toxic mold exposure from a medical perspective.
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What Types Of Mold Cause Problems
Youve likely heard of black mold or Stachybotrys chartarum, which sometimes makes news headlines. It is greenish-black in color and well-known to contribute to mold-induced toxicity.
But black mold is far from the only mold that can harm your health. And Stachybotrys chartarum is not the only mold that can appear black.
Examples of other types of mold often found in toxic indoor environments include:
- Sleep: Insomnia, frequent waking during sleep, night sweats
- Urinary system: Increased urination, urgency, incontinence
- Weight: Appetite swings, weight gain or weight-loss resistance
Many of these symptoms could also be due to reasons other than mold toxicity and CIRS. Thats why mold illness is often overlooked or misdiagnosed. The specific effects depend on your bodys unique vulnerabilities.
Question 6 Of : Can You Fully Recover From Mold Exposure
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Important Questions To Answer Before Reading Further
Because this post is going to focus on healing my body, I think it is important to give you a list of questions to ask yourself to help you better determine the pieces of your own healing puzzle. Asking these questions can lead you to the pieces of what I did to heal that could be worth exploring or speaking to your practitioner about for your own healing:
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Testing For Mold Toxicity
If you find mold in your home or workplace, it is important to test for mold toxicity in your body. Oftentimes, people who are struggling to get healthy , are dealing with mold toxicity.
Mold toxins increase the burden on the liver and create chronic inflammation in the body. These toxins are highly indicated in neurological disorders and symptoms like brain fog, depression, and anxiety. One very effective option for testing mold toxins in the body is the GPL-MycoTOX Profile.