Who Should Consider Mold Or Mycotoxin Testing
First, lets distinguish between mold and mycotoxin testing.
Mold testing generally refers to environmental testing , while mycotoxin testing refers to tests that look at the presence or effects of mycotoxins in the body.
You might want to consider mycotoxin testing if:
- You have already taken care of foundational health steps, including modifying diet and lifestyle and healing your gut, but you are still not feeling well
- You are experiencing symptoms or health effects consistent with mold toxicity, and
- You have access to an experienced, trusted, and rational practitioner who can help to interpret your results.
How To Diagnose A Mold Allergy
To test for a mold allergy, the doctor will take a comprehensive medical history and ask you about your symptoms and when they occur. Mold allergy tests include:
- Skin prick tests Droplets of mold allergens are placed on the skin surface with tiny punctures. Raised bumps strongly indicate an allergy to that substance.
- Blood tests Chemical testing detects Immunoglobulin E antibodies circulating in your blood that are directed at specific allergens. Lab results may take days. A blood sample is sent to a medical laboratory, where it can be tested for evidence of sensitivity to specific types of mold.
The doctor will put all the evidence together test results, your personal and family health history, home and work environments, activities that might expose you to allergens, a physical exam of your eyes, ears, nose and lungs before reaching a diagnosis.
Identifying Mold In Your Body
20-30% of people cant respond to toxic exposures of mold from water damage and excessive mycotoxins found in food.
If you suspect that you are already experiencing symptoms of mold exposure, steps must be taken in removing mold from the body. You can first confirm the presence of mold in the following ways:
- VCS Test: The VCS Test is an online visual test that can help confirm the presence of biotoxic illness, as well as possible symptoms caused from mold and mycotoxin exposure.
- Blood testing for mold: The C4A compliment detects recent mold exposure, while the TGF-Beta 1 is indicative of longer-term mold exposure.
- HLA DR/DQ: This gene is located on chromosome number 6, and it encodes a protein called an MHC Class II protein. Testing for this gene can reveal your genetic susceptibility to biotoxin illnesses.
As hinted at above, your genes play a large role in your bodys response to mold and mycotoxins. The HLA DR gene helps the immune system respond to environmental threats. It is estimated that 20-30% of people do not respond well to toxic exposures of mold from water damage and excessive mycotoxins found in food.
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Other Mold Prevention Tips:
- Keep the temperature of your home consistent
- Keep humidity levels in your home below 50%
- Make sure your walls are well insulated
- Clean up any water damage immediately
- Frequently open windows in rooms that are dark and musty
- Clean or repair roof gutters
- Immediately fix any leaks in your homes roof, walls, or plumbing
When in doubt, if youre worried that mold might be growing in your home again, it is always a good idea to call a professional to come and evaluate.
They will be able to determine if mold is infesting your home and if your symptoms are cause for concern.
We have Mold Remediation Specialists that can help Find the Source of the Mold In your home, Remove it & Prevent it from Returning.
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How Do You Treat Mold Toxicity Symptoms
Right now, youll see a lot of experts recommending handfuls of supplements and strict diets but the reality is, we just dont know for sure if these are the right treatment approach, says McElroy. Instead, she recommends the steps below. You might be surprised to see that killing the mold is only one out of five. Thats no coincidence! As McElroy explains, I often dont focus on killing mold since most symptoms are due to the immune response, not the mold itself. Instead, she starts with simple lifestyle steps and utilizes non-pill practices to achieve a state of better immune health, including:
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How Long Does It Take To Get Sick From Mold Exposure
The answer to this question is highly dependent on each individual.
Those who are more at risk may experience more severe symptoms quicker, while others may never experience symptoms, at all.
There are other things to consider, as well.
This includes exposure length, allergies or sensitivities, proximity to the mold during exposure, and more.
Generally speaking, you can expect to experience symptoms anywhere from two hours to three days after exposure.
Visual Contrast Sensitivity Testing
How it works: Visual Contrast Sensitivity testing aims to measure a component of neurological function that may be affected by exposure to mycotoxins and other biotoxins. This method looks at your ability to see details in varying contrasts of black, white, and grey on a computer screen.
Pros: VCS testing is inexpensive, fast, and simple. It can also be easily repeated throughout treatment. One study found that VCS scores were lower among employees of a school that had been exposed to water damage than employees at an unaffected school .
Cons: VCS testing is limited in the sense that it cant tell you how much mold youve been exposed to, how much you are excreting, or how exposure may be affecting other areas beyond neurological function.
Who its best for: VCS testing may be best for those who suspect or know theyve been exposed to mold or mycotoxins, have neurological symptoms, and are on a budget.
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How To Prevent Mold And Mildew
- Keep things clean.
Mold is a nasty problem to deal with for any home or business-owner. In the wake of a disaster such as a storm, its possible for mold to start growing in as quickly as 1-2 days. Whats even more alarming is when that mold turns out to be toxic, posing a serious risk to you and anyone else on your property.
To clarify, its not that the mold you are dealing with in and of itself is toxic. Its that certain strains of mold, like the notorious Stachybotrys chartarummore commonly known as black moldproduce mycotoxins. Its these mycotoxins which may cause a burning sensation in the throat and lungs, chest pain, persistent coughing, fever, rashes, and migraines. Prolonged exposure to Stachybotrys may lead to serious health issues, including breathing problems, fatigue, sinusitis and other pain in the sinus cavities, and even depression.
How to tell if you may be dealing with toxic mold in your home:
How Can I Treat My Mold
Dont worry if your test results show that you have mold toxicity. The professionals at The Metabolic Institute have extensive experience treating people who are dealing with the harmful consequences of mold exposure.
A Variety of Options
We will work with you to develop a custom treatment plan to address your mold-related health conditions. Although everyones treatment plan will be different, many people benefit from receiving binding agents and anti-fungal medications. We may also treat your conditions by asking you to take nutrients that will help you detoxify and heal.
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Infants Children And Adults Can Be Comfortably And Reliably Tested
At your visit, the allergist will take an extensive medical and environmental history to help determine your personalized skin testing panel. An effective testing panel can typically consist of 48 to 68 allergens. Once the testing results are read and evaluated and the triggers identified, the allergist will develop a treatment plan that might be as simple as identifying the right medication or tips on avoiding the allergen.
Who Is At Risk Of Mold Sickness
Mold exposure can affect anyone, even if there are no immediate symptoms. Some types of mold release substances called mycotoxins that can harm your health in the long run.
However, some people are more sensitive to the effects of mold, including:
- Young children
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Your Personal Health Coaching Call
During your one-on-one call, your health coach will assess your symptoms and reasons for doing this lab test. Your coach will explain your lab results, answer any questions you may have, and you walk away with personalized recommendations according to your test results. These can include:
- A supplement plan
- Lifestyle changes
No More GuessworkRather than other at-home tests that make you guess at the results, our health coaches take the time to assess your results and go over them with you step by step. And you can feel confident that the supplements, diet and lifestyle changes we recommend are the right ones for your body and your health goals.
Controlling Mould And Condensation In And Around The Home
Mould is often found within bathrooms, kitchens, cluttered storage or basement areas, flooded areas, plumbing pipes and outdoors in humid environments. Walls, timber, carpet, furniture and fabrics can harbour mould if they stay damp for extended periods of time.
The main ways for controlling condensation and mould are ventilation, heating, insulation and removal.
VENTILATION Install exhaust fans in the kitchen and bathrooms Leave windows open/consider installing ventilation around appliances producing moisture such as clothes dryers and stoves.
HEATING Keep indoor moisture low, ideally between 30-50%. Humidity meters are relatively inexpensive and very effective. Maintain low constant heat when the weather is cold or wet. Install heat globes for heating in the bathroom.
INSULATION Condensation forms more easily on cold surfaces. Improving insulation can assist in warming these surfaces. Insulate hot and cold surfaces such as water pipes.
REMOVAL ERADICATE MOULD WHEN IT OCCURS. It is harder to remove the longer it has been there. Killing but not removing mould can lead mould to grow back. Do not dry brush the area as this can release spores in to the air which can spread mould further and stimulate an allergic reaction in susceptible individuals. 3% tea tree oil or 80% white fermented vinegar solutions are effective for treating mould. Bleach is not effective in killing mould.
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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 I Get Rid Of Black Mold
Your best option for getting rid of it involves calling a professional remediation service. The remediation contractors use professional equipment and cleaning chemicals to kill the spores and eliminate infestations. They also wear safety gear like goggles and respirator masks to avoid breathing it in and cordon off the areas where they work to prevent spores from spreading to other parts of your home.
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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.
What Is Mold Toxicity
Youre likely familiar with mold allergies. But you may wonder how they differ from mold toxicity, also called chronic mold illness. In short, poisons produced by mold can cause illness that extends beyond common mold allergies.
Mold allergy symptoms tend to be limited to your respiratory tract, eyes, and skin such as a runny nose and itchy eyes. Allergies happen when your immune system overreacts to mold spores. Those are dormant forms of the fungi. Theyre lightweight and easily float through the air.
In contrast, mold illness results from mold growing indoors and producing toxins. These can trigger varied and widespread symptoms in your body.
The buildings that harbor mold toxins are water-damaged buildings. This damage can result from any water intrusion such as from flooding, melting snow, or leaky pipes. Everyday activities like showering without good ventilation are risks, too. Warm, humid environments also increase mold growth risk.
Toxic mold growth could happen in any type of building. The most problematic ones are those where you spend a lot of time. That includes homes, workplaces, and schools.
Studies suggest that up to 50% of buildings in North America and Europe may have water damage.So, its better to suspect a building has a mold growth problem rather than assume it doesnt.
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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.
Treatment For Mold Allergy
Prevention, management, and treatment of mold allergies are the most important measures to take in minimizing unpleasant symptoms. If youre planning to be around potential sources of mold, such as being outdoors, taking antihistamines, decongestants, and allergy medications in advance can help relieve symptoms. You can also wear a facemask to prevent inhaling mold spores.
While avoiding exposure to allergy triggers is the best way to eliminate symptoms, unfortunately, molds are ever-common and it can be difficult to completely avoid them. Although theres no guaranteed cure for allergic rhinitis caused by a mold allergy, there are a number of treatments and medications that can relieve symptoms, including:
To keep allergy symptoms at bay, there are certain lifestyle and home remedies that can help. Dust masks, avoiding the outdoors at certain times, regulating indoor humidity levels, and sleeping with the windows closed are just a few ideas. Managing an allergy requires understanding your unique triggers and how to avoid them.
Indoor Mold Allergy Management & Prevention
In addition to treating symptoms, the other key component in controlling your mold allergies is to guard against mold growth and exposure in and around your home:
1 Jacob, Beate et al. Indoor exposure to molds and allergic sensitization. Environmental health perspectives vol. 110,7 : 647-53. doi:10.1289/ehp.02110647
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Is It Mold Or Something Else
Sometimes, mold exposure symptoms can be confusing and overlap with typical allergies, colds, or flu-like symptoms.
A good rule of thumb to follow is this: if your symptoms persist and do not respond to your usual treatments, something else might be going on.
If this is the case, you should consider contacting your doctor.
What Do We Know About Mold Sensitivity
The term mold sensitivity is broadly used to refer to any chronic non-allergic response to mold exposure. Mold sensitivity is not understood nearly as well as mold allergies because the condition is associated with an undefined range of symptoms that have no measurable cause. Some people report experiencing a wide array of symptoms that they believe to be caused by mold sensitivity. These symptoms include anxiety, cognitive issues, depression and insomnia, as well as different types of physical pain. Because mold sensitivity cannot be measured, there is no observable link between the condition and its associated symptoms.
Unfortunately, Western medicine has no answer for those who believe they are affected by mold sensitivity, also referred to as vulnerability to mold toxicity. Unlike mold allergies that can be diagnosed with a skin test or allergen-specific immunoglobulin blood test, there is no test that can diagnose this issue, and there is a lack of scientific research to back up information about the condition. The EPA states that mold-related symptoms other than allergic reactions and irritation by spores are not commonly reported.
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Effective Treatment For Symptoms Of Mold Exposure
Get Your Home Tested Properly
Proper mold inspection requires hiring an experienced Indoor Environmental Professional that uses various testing techniques to ensure there has not been water damage leading to mold growth in your home. When someone is sick in the household, the degree of mold testing needs to be more comprehensive than if someone was doing a general home inspection. I have witnessed mold inspectors miss water damage and mold growth in patients homes because they did not do a thorough investigation, or used the wrong testing methods.
Proper testing for mold helps to establish the scope of work for remediation. It is a conflict of interest to hire an inspector who also does remediation. However, most reputable inspectors can recommend a contractor who specializes in mold remediation.
To find a certified IEP in your area, visit www.acac.org and look for CIEC and CMC certifications. You will also find certified remediators with CMRS and CMR designation.
Treatments for mold Illness
Prescription medications and supplements referred to as binders are used to reduce the mycotoxin burden in the body. Technically these compounds do not bind mycotoxins, but they adsorb like static cling. Mycotoxins are secreted with bile from the gallbladder into the intestines. Mycotoxins adhere to binders in the intestines and then excreted through the stool.
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