What Are The Signs Of Mold In Your House
Musty smells are a tell-tale sign of mold. Another common indicator is visible signs of water damage.
As mentioned earlier, mold grows fast. Within 24 hours of a water leak, or a flood, mold will begin to take hold. This mold can grow on anything thats humid walls, floors, ceilings, furniture, and even wet laundry.
When there is a chance of mold, its important to have a professional in to test. Professionals qualified to do environmental investigations can:
- Check the surfaces of your house for mold
- Test the air for spores
- Help you to identify sources of moisture
- Identify where the mold is growing and help you decontaminate your house
- Use natural enzymes to kill mold spores
If you dont get rid of all sources of mold, you risk getting sick from it.
Symptoms Of Mold Exposure Mycotoxins And Mold Illness
Respiratory symptoms, like sinus trouble, are well documented in people who have experienced indoor airborne mold exposure and mold allergies . And symptoms of mycotoxin exposure from mold in foods is also well validated in studies . But some evidence suggests long-term exposure to airborne mold and mycotoxins can cause more systemic health problems and health conditions . Mold exposure symptoms may include:
- Respiratory symptoms such as sinusitis, asthma, wheezing, runny nose, sneezing, shortness of breath, swollen nasal passages, and chronic upper respiratory tract problems [8
A minority of people may have a hypersensitivity to molds and mycotoxins, termed Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome by Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker.
What Type Of Functional Medicine Lab Tests Can Help Determine If You Have Mold Exposure
Mycotoxin testing is used to detect mold metabolites. So what mold metabolites can we test for? Here are the ones I look for in my practice:
- Aspergillus: the main metabolites include Ochratoxin, Aflatoxin, and Gliotoxin.
- Penicillum: the main metabolites include Sterigmatocystin and Mycophenolic Acid.
- Fusarium: the main metabolites include Enniatin B and Zearalenone
- Chaetomium Globosum: the main metabolites include Chaetoglobosin A
- Stachybotrys: is commonly found in water-damaged buildings. The main metabolites include Riordin E and Verrucarin A.
So what are the effects of mycotoxins and where are they typically found?
Ochratoxin A can affect the kidneys, immune system, and neurological system, and is produced by molds in the Aspergillus and Penicillum families. Exposure is primarily through water damaged buildings, but can also be through certain foods. Aflatoxin is also primarily from Aspergillus and is found mostly in foods. It is a carcinogenic substance and can also cause liver damage, mental impairment, and immune suppression. Gliotoxin is typically from aspergillus exposure, and targets the immune system and can also lead to neurological symptoms.
Mycophenolic Acid produced by the Penicillum fungus that can suppress the immune system. MPA exposure can increase the risk of opportunistic infections.
Citrinin is elevated with multiple different molds. It can lead to suppression of the immune system, kidney damage, and is a carcinogen as well.
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How Is Mold Allergy Treated
One of the most important ways to manage a mold allergy is to avoid mold. Reduce your exposure to mold as much as possible by avoiding damp places and things like piles of wet leaves. Make sure your bathroom has an exhaust fan or window you can open to limit dampness and beware of leaks in your roof, walls or pipes in your home.
Your provider might suggest immunotherapy to reduce your sensitivity to mold, commonly known as allergy shots.
Medications, like antihistamines or nasal steroids can give you relief from symptoms. If you have asthma, your provider may suggest a different medication, like inhaled steroids or mast cell stabilizers.
Q: How To Know If Mold Is Making You Sick
A: Mold is one of the most common concerns of illness in homes, but often isnt the culprit. If you suspect that you or someone else has been exposed to mold, call your doctor immediately. The symptoms of mold exposure can mimic allergic reactions, include coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headaches, fatigue, skin rashes, eye irritation, and nosebleeds.
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Indoor Air Quality Solutions For Mold
The best way to avoid mold in the home or workplace is to prevent its growth altogether. Because mold thrives in damp, warm environments, you can try:
- Keeping the relative humidity in your home between 30% and 50%.
- Checking high-moisture areas, such as window sills, under-sink cabinets and indoor plants, regularly for visible mold growth.
- Increasing ventilation in your homeespecially in high-moisture areas such as the bathroom, kitchen and laundry room. You can do this by installing an exhaust fan, running your HVAC system or opening windows .
- Adding an air purifier to help remove mold spores from the air in your home. Make sure to follow the manufacturers instructions on cleaning and replacing the filters. The Molekule air purifier with proprietary PECO technology destroys mold spores that pass through the device, instead of trapping them within the unit.
What Medical Tests Are Available To Determine If I Am Allergic Tomold
There are medical tests to determine if you are allergic to a particularsubstance, such as mold. These can be performed on skin or blood. Skin testsare considered more reliable than blood tests to determine allergic reaction toa substance. Skin tests yield results more quickly, are less expensive thanblood tests and are generally considered more sensitive. If an individual hassymptoms year-round, which may indicate an indoor allergy, skin testing may berecommended.
Blood testing called the RAST test can be done to showif you are allergic to a substance. The RAST test detects levels of antibodiesto particular allergens. The test is expensive to perform and results areusually not available for about two weeks.
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Microbial Volatile Organic Compounds
Substances known as microbial volatile organic compounds are powerful irritants associated with mold exposure. This particulate matter is released directly into by fungal organisms, often giving off strong or unpleasant odors. Exposure has been associated with symptoms such as fatigue, nausea, headaches, dizziness, and sinus irritation.
Some of the more common symptoms of mold exposure are nasal congestion, sinus infections, irritated eyes, scratchy throat, fever, headaches, smokers cough, chills, and weight loss.
As an attorney who represents Chicagoland clients in Workers Compensation claims, I fight for victims every day to gain the benefits they deserve. With the risks posed by exposure to toxic mold, I want to offer some suggestions that will reduce the likelihood that you will suffer from such exposure at work.
Treatment Considerations For Mold Toxicity
Since mold toxicity affect people differently, the treatment may vary from one person to another. Thus, more advanced functional medicine testing that look at toxicity levels, nutritional stores, genetics and other factors more may help to personalize the ideal plan for each patient.
Some of the key components of mold toxicity treatment include:
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When To See Your Doctor For Mold Exposure
If your cold or flu-like symptoms persist, it may be time for a trip to the doctor. Even if you arent aware that mold could be causing your issues, a doctor may be able to make the correlations between your symptoms and CIRS. There are a number of more serious side effects of mold exposure that the doctor may ask if youve experienced. These include:
- Confusion and disorientation
- Asthma or chronic respiratory conditions
- Joint pains, cramping, or muscle aches
Though your primary care physician is the place to start for an initial examination and consult for your symptoms, you may be referred to an allergist. There are tests that can be done to test for mold allergies, and these are usually done at an allergists office or allergy clinic.
Those whose immune system has become severely compromised and who have developed serious respiratory conditions may be referred to a pulmonologist. These doctors address problems with the lungs and the respiratory system.
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.
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Coughing And Shortness Of Breath
The irritation and inflammation caused by mold often lead to frequent coughing that is otherwise unexplained.
The throat and lungs are irritated continuously when repeatedly exposed to mycotoxins. If the issue isnt addressed, this coughing can develop into more severe conditions such as pneumonia and bronchitis.
The same inflammation that causes irritated, constricted airways that lead to wheezing and coughing can eventually lead to shortness of breath.
This gives a feeling of tightness in the chest. It may feel like you are unable to take in a full breath.
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.
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Here Are 7 Facts About Mold
Hey, its Dr. Darren Schmidt. Im a chiropractor, but Ive been focusing on nutrition since 1997. Ive been studying it since 1993. And this is the first video in the series of four to talk about mold. In this video, Im going to talk about seven facts you need to know about mold. I think these are the most important seven facts. And then why I know this information.
Types Of Mold Sickness: Signs And Symptoms
Mold exposure has the potential to cause adverse health effects. Many people start researching mold sickness when they are faced with a set of symptoms that have no apparent cause. They begin to wonder, are they being affected by something in their environment? There is a wide range of mold-related illnesses, some of which are difficult or even impossible to diagnose. Below, we discuss the different types of mold sickness and the symptoms associated with each condition.
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Home Environmental Testing Companies
An indoor environmental professional is an industrial hygienist who inspects a wide range of environmental concerns including bacteria, odors, radon, and mold. They determine the problem in the indoor environment and ways to improve the environment for individuals. So in a way, indoor environmental professionals are like a doctor of your home.
Environmental Analytics is an Arizona-based environmental consulting firm that brings an indoor environmental professional to your home to perform an on-site inspection.
Founder of Environmental Analytics, and sick building expert Michael Schrantz advises that you must be careful of companies who call themselves mold testing companies and dont do a proper job of testing. For example, some companies may only test for mold by taking a direct air sample by walking through your home.
While air sampling is beneficial, youre not going to be able to detect all mold through an air sample. Thats because not all mold is the same some molds are heavier than others. Some are stickier than others. If a mold is heavy, it wont stay airborne for a long amount of time and wont be detected by the air sample.
Schrantz suggests that in addition to air sampling, other mold testing needs to be conducted.
Green Home Solutions is another Arizona-based company that tests and inspects for mold, determines a mold remediation plan, mold containment, and mold treatment.
How Mycotoxins Affect Your Body
Like mold spores themselves, mycotoxins are often airborne and enter your body through your respiratory tract. In the short term, this can cause a number of respiratory symptoms including asthma, allergies, sinus infections, and cold- and flu-like symptoms.
If you have a leaky gut, mycotoxins may also pass through your intestinal wall and travel throughout your bloodstream to your skin, brain, and other organs. This can lead to mycotoxins symptoms in any part of your body such as eczema, psoriasis, anxiety, brain fog, and autoimmunity.
One way mycotoxins wreak havoc on your health is by adversely affecting your cells mitochondria. Mitochondria are the powerhouses of your cells, making them essential to nearly every bodily function. They provide your cells with energy. Thats why you can experience chronic fatigue or weakness when dealing with mycotoxin poisoning.
When mitochondria are not functioning optimally, they release free radicals, which are unstable atoms that can cause cell damage. This cell damage, in turn, causes inflammation. The more inflammation you have, the higher up on the autoimmune spectrum you are. This is why its so challenging for autoimmune patients to reverse their symptoms while dealing with mycotoxin poisoning.
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Early Warning Signs Of Mold Toxicity Everyone Should Know
When you hear the word mold, you often think of rotten food or dirty showers in bathrooms, but this very toxic substance is actually everywhereand you are breathing and ingesting it every day, whether you know it or not. It is important to know the signs of mold toxicity.
Mold is not limited to what we can see growing in damp or wet areas in dirty homes or buildings. The truth is that most mold is not even visible. It grows undetected behind your walls, under your floors and even in your food.
And even though you may not be able to see it, you are most definitely being subjected to its toxic, even deadly effects.
When your body becomes overrun by mold, it can literally shut down your immune system and start a cascading effect of illnesses that can take months and even years to be diagnosed let alone cured.
Testing Your Home For Toxic Mold
Remember too, that mold testing is not mycotoxin testing. While there is some value in testing your home for mold, its important to recall that molds are a natural and necessary part of our environment. While mold may be growing in your home as a result of water damage that should be fixed, these molds are not necessarily creating mycotoxins and also dont necessarily have any adverse health effects.
1. ERMI Test
The illnesses associated with mycotoxin poisoning have become such a well-recognized issue that the Environmental Protection Agency has developed a research tool called the Environmental Relative Moldiness Index . Dust samples are collected in a home and DNA from mold in the dust is analyzed. The sample is then compared to the ERMI, an index or scale.
The analysis can be used to determine the amount of mold in an environment, as well as the types of mold. From there you can tell if the mold thats present is the type that can produce mycotoxins.
You can hire a company to do this, or use one of the many kits. Some of these include professional evaluation of the results and some you compare to a chart. Your best results will come from hiring a professional, however, that is also the more expensive option.
Remember that it is not necessarily the amount of mold that can cause problems, it is the type.
2. Spore Capture Test
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Have Your Symptoms Stumped Your Doctor It Might Be Mold
Theres nothing more frustrating than feeling lousy for weeks, months, or even years with no clear explanation of why youre feeling that way. Chronic disease is difficult to live with, but when you have identified whats causing it at least you have some potential solutions.
I know how difficult it can be to be afflicted with a mystery illness. You may begin to think its all in your head. Even worse, your health care practitioner might start to think that way when you KNOW theres something else going on.
So many women show up in my office upset, frustrated, and close to giving up because they just cant get any answers from their conventional practitioner. Theyre given medications that dont help at all or even make the symptoms worse!
When I hear these women tell me about their symptoms chronic respiratory infections, headaches, fatigue, and so much more, I always consider exposure to mold. Mold exposure is almost impossible to avoid, and for some people this can be a huge problem. Lets take a look at what mold toxicity means, what it can do to your health, and what you can do to heal if mold is behind your chronic health issues.