Warning Signs Of Mold Exposure:
- Difficult or irregular periods or difficult menopause
- Swollen glands or joints
The list of symptoms is long and can be pretty confusing.
Theres one crucial thing to note. If any new symptoms start after moving into a new home or after water damage, they are likely related to your environment. It might be new furniture off-gassing, new paint chemicals, and other VOCs, or it could be mold.
Signs Of Mold In Your House
No matter how dreamy the bathroom is if there is water damage, mold forms in 24-48 hours.
The house we moved into was freshly renovated Because a pipe burst, which caused extensive water damage. This damage wasnt handled properly, so the place was infested with toxic black mold.
Our kitchen smelled musty, and our wooden utensils grew mold spots overnight. But the signs not always as obvious as that.
So, before you put your Sherlock Holmes hat on, lets clarify what mold is.
Molds are the most common forms of fungi found both indoors and outdoors. No surface or material is immune to mold. As long as moisture and oxygen are available, mold can and will grow. Mainly, mold reproduces through the formation of spores. These are microscopic cells resistant to drying, and they float in the air.
Once the spores land on a surface, they grow, digest, and destroy the area.
You might be most familiar with the term black mold. But in reality, theres no one type of toxic mold. People started naming indoor molds this, but in fact, theyre referring to any toxic mold. As youll see, not all mold is black, but theyre all toxic.
Mold comes in many different shapes and colors. You can even have more than one type of mold growing in the same spot.
Here are some of the most common types of mold:
Cladosporium is brown, green, or black . This mold can grow in both cold and warm locations. Look for it on carpets, fabrics, wood surfaces, and AC/heating outlets.
Allergic Reactions To Mold
A mold allergy is a bodys response to breathing in or touching mold and happens when your immune system overreacts to this contact.
Coming into contact with mold can lead to symptoms of mold illness that appear similar to hay fever.
If you suffer from an allergy, mold exposure can make you cough, make your eyes itch and cause other symptoms that make you miserable.
For some people, mold allergy is linked to asthma and exposure causes restricted breathing and other upper respiratory symptoms.
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What To Do If You Suspect Mold
The best and most effective way to rid your home of mold is to have a professional perform a thorough inspection of every part of your home. Some experts estimate that your home may contain a single strand of mold in every 10 square feet of the home, however, if you have a mold problem in your home, it will show in your home:
Do You Have Symptoms Of Mold Sickness
If you experience strange symptoms like those found in fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome you may be suffering from mold sickness.
To find out if you have symptoms of mold sickness you can take the questionnaire below. It is the initial screening form I use to help diagnose toxic mold illness. It was devised by Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker the worlds leading expert on mold toxicity, mold illness, and a condition known as Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome .
When youre going through the questionnaire, please ensure you answer the questions in numerical order. Dont skip ahead to other sections.
Now, lets find out if you have symptoms of mold sickness!
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How Does Mold Impact You
Mold can be transmitted in a variety of ways, though most commonly through the respiration of tiny spores or fragments of the fungus. Exposure depends mostly on the quantity of mold in the air, which is determined by several factors, including moisture levels and spore size. Once someone has been exposed to mold, they can experience anything from severe symptoms to nothing at all.
Toxic mold exposure can affect everyone, but certain people are more susceptible than others. People with weakened immune systems , individuals with chronic respiratory conditions like asthma, allergies, or COPD, and anyone in close proximity to an outdoor fungal spore release are at an increased risk for more severe symptoms and mold-related illnesses. Its even possible for someone who is not sensitive to mold specifically to be affected.
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.
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How Do Molds Get In The Indoor Environment And How Do They Grow
Mold is found both indoors and outdoors. Mold can enter your home through open doorways, windows, vents, and heating and air conditioning systems. Mold in the air outside can also attach itself to clothing, shoes, and pets can and be carried indoors. When mold spores drop on places where there is excessive moisture, such as where leakage may have occurred in roofs, pipes, walls, plant pots, or where there has been flooding, they will grow. Many building materials provide suitable nutrients that encourage mold to grow. Wet cellulose materials, including paper and paper products, cardboard, ceiling tiles, wood, and wood products, are particularly conducive for the growth of some molds. Other materials such as dust, paints, wallpaper, insulation materials, drywall, carpet, fabric, and upholstery, commonly support mold growth.
Mold Exposure & Toxicity Symptoms
Water damage in your home can not only leave you with structural damage and lost personal items, but you may also begin to experience symptoms of mold sickness.
Mold can cause upper respiratory issues, sneezing, stuffy nose, irritated eyes, dry skin, and in more extreme cases, bleeding lungs. These issues can abate after a few days away from mold exposure for some, but others may suffer long-term health issues for weeks or months.
The CDC notes that mold can begin to grow in just 24-hours after a water breach, and it can thrive in moist, dark, and warm areas long after the breach is stopped, especially if a mitigation process is ineffective.
At HRS, we use technology like thermal cameras and moisture meters to identify hidden moisture. This is pivotal in limiting health risks associated with mold growth, as fully drying areas conducive to mold stops its spread.
Avoiding the hazards of mold is one of the most important reasons that homeowners in Denver who discover water in their space contact the certified mold mitigation professionals at HRS.
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How Do You Know If Mold Is Making You Sick
Some mold toxicity symptoms resemble seasonal allergies. People also report chronic fatigue, headaches, light sensitivity, abdominal pain, diarrhea, blurred vision, and joint pain or morning stiffness, among other problems. Long-term and psychological effects include mood swings, memory, word recollection, concentration issues, tremors, and vertigo.
With such a wide variety of symptoms, mold toxicity can often go undiagnosed. In fact, its a somewhat controversial diagnosis.
Since were not medical experts, were not wading too deep into those waters. But, the fact remains that mold exposure can trigger allergic reactions and other issues. And, exposure often happens in the home.
< h3> Mold And Sick Building Syndrome< /h3>
Mold contributes to Sick Building Syndrome, which covers a variety of physical symptoms due to poor indoor air quality. Its recognized by OSHA and the EPA and among other health organizations. And while the term usually refers to commercial buildings and businesses, it also applies to homes and dwellings.
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- Hot And Cold Spots In Your Home
- Electric Bill Keeps Going Up
Essentially, youre looking for indoor air quality problems at the same time youre noticing poor performance from your ductless system. That combination of issues indicates that the buildup inside your system is causing it to malfunction.
Symptoms Of Chronic Toxic Mold Exposure
We all know about mold we dont eat it when it grows on our food or touch it when we see it in the wild. So, how would you feel about living with it?
Shockingly, many people do. The term toxic mold is becoming increasingly common in conversations about health in the United States, and this mold may be closer to you than you think.
What do toxic mold exposure symptoms look like over time? How can you tell if you have this uninvited guest growing in your home?
Keep reading as we unpack where it comes from, what symptoms you may already have, and how to test for and remove toxic mold from your home. You might even need to try a mold detox diet.
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How To Treat Mold Exposure Symptoms
If you have been exposed to toxic mold at home or work, medical treatment is available for your specific symptoms. Discuss your health options with your primary care physician.If you notice mild symptoms such as sneezing, running nose, or itchy, irritated skin after being indoors for a period of time, try opening your windows to increase ventilation. Add an exhaust fan to help circulate the air. Seek immediate medical attention for breathing problems or eye exposure. Closely monitor your progress and contact your doctor regularly. If the condition worsens or you develop new symptoms after beginning treatment for mold exposure or fungal infections, contact your physician right away.
Gene Testing For Mycotoxin Susceptibility
If youre aware that you are susceptible, youll know you need to take immediate action, even if no one else has symptoms of mycotoxin poisoning. Youll also be able to quickly identify the signs if it happens again. For example, if you check into a hotel room and begin to feel mycotoxins symptoms within a few hours, youll know to request a different room or even move to another hotel.
If you learn you have been exposed to mycotoxins, you may find HLA-DR testing helpful. As I explained previously, nearly one-fourth of the population lacks the HLA-DR gene, which prevents your body from clearing mycotoxins.
The HLA-DR mold toxicity test is a simple blood test for the immune response genes on chromosome six. Since your genes dont change, you only need to test once in your lifetime. While we cant change our genes, knowledge is definitely power.
Mycotoxin poisoning can decrease the formation of glutathione, a natural antioxidant produced in your body, due to decreased gene expression of the enzymes needed to form glutathione. Compromised glutathione production can result in an excess of oxidative stress that leads to tissue damage and systemic illness.
However, keep in mind that even people without the gene can still be affected by mycotoxin poisoning. Thats because anyone with a compromised immune system can become sick from mycotoxins.
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Watery Or Irritated Eyes
When allergens are present, the body releases histamines as part of its immune response. This histamine release is what causes the eyes to water excessively when exposed to toxins from mold.
This reaction from histamine may be the bodys way of flushing out allergens and toxins. It can serve as a warning to you that your environment may contain dangerous black mold.
How To Get Rid Of Mold
There are plenty of DIY mold removal options for you on the web some more effective than others. These may suffice if the problem is minor. After DIY treatment, it may be good to have an air quality test taken to determine the effectiveness of your work.
If the problem is more than minor, DIY methods will likely only remove the appearance of mold for a short time. If the problem is more serious, the best approach is to hire a certified and reputable local mold remediation company.
Most mold remediation companies will recommend demolition of the infected part of your home to get rid of mold, so keep in mind that you might have additional expenses to restore a portion of your house. Besides that, the process might take several days.
If you are looking into demolition-free mold removal, then look into the companies that use a dry fog technique. When properly done, this method not only kills mold without demolition to your home, but it also takes less than a day to complete.
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How Long Does It Take For Black Mold To Kill You
Black mold, or Stachybotrys atra, has a reputation for being fatal. This is due to reports that black mold was related to infant deaths in the 1990s. Its also been linked to the idea of sick building syndrome and is often called toxic black mold.
But theres no solid evidence proving that black mold is toxic. Black mold, and mold in general, is not deadly.
Still, black mold can cause unwanted side effects, especially those in people who are sensitive to mold. This includes people who are young, old, or have compromised immune systems.
Visit a doctor if you have:
- persistent sinus and nasal congestion
- frequent headaches
- unexplained skin irritation
- more frequent asthma attacks
Sometimes, it can be difficult to know if mold is causing your symptoms. Many side effects of mold exposure are similar to other conditions, like seasonal allergies. Some symptoms also take time to appear.
Your best bet is to see a doctor, even if youre unsure your symptoms are related to mold. They can help you find relief.
The best way to treat mold exposure symptoms is to reduce exposure. Follow these tips:
- Avoid contact with moldy items or surfaces.
- Avoid damp rooms, like basements.
- Remove mold from the home by cleaning surfaces and drying damp areas.
- Increase ventilation by using a fan or opening windows.
- Reduce indoor humidity with a dehumidifier.
The length of time it takes for mold to leave your body will depend on your level of previous exposure.
- a musty, earthy odor
How To Prevent Mold
Whether you just got rid of the mold or you dont ever want to see it in your house you need to know the mold prevention rules. To prevent mold from appearing in your house:
Small investments in prevention can go long waysand keep a lot of cash in your pocket!
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Toxic Black Mold: The Deadly Fungi
Toxic black mold or Stachybotrys chartarum is a group of micro-fungus that is often found is cellulose-rich and nitrogen-low areas such as the fiberboards, gypsum boards and wooden components of water-damaged buildings. It was discovered in 1837 by Czech mycologist August Carl Joseph Corda, on the wall of a house.
S. chartarum is a greenish-black fungal species in the division Deuteromycota, an inclusive group for fungi with unknown sexual reproduction stages. It has a worldwide distribution, although some species limited to the tropical and subtropical regions.
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What Happens If You Eat Food With Mold
The thought of eating something moldy likely makes you want to gag. Most of the time, this is the only symptom youd get after eating moldy food. If somethings not right with your immune system and you eat something moldy, you might experience symptoms like:
- If you had an allergy to mold, then you might have symptoms connected with it as well
If you notice mold on your food that you dont want to throw away, then USDAs guide on handling moldy food will be for you.
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Can Mold Exposure Be Lethal
If you are wondering, can you die from breathing in mold?, you are likely not alone. Mold exposure can be frightening.
It is important to know, however, that most mold exposure is rarely deadly.
Exposure to molds, even some toxic molds, is unlikely to be life-threatening.
Although exposure can present adverse health effects, it is most likely not lethal.
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The Process Of Elimination
As Ive said before, your body knows better than any mold toxicity test. The first step I always recommend is to try to remove yourself from the environments you spend a lot of time in to establish which ones may be the source of your mycotoxins symptoms.
Get yourself out of your home, office, or school and see if your symptoms resolve. Take as little as you can with you from the environment you are leaving, so you dont bring the mycotoxins with you.
Try to remain in the same town you currently live in, so you introduce as few new variables into your life as possible. Stay with a friend or relative nearby or stay in a local hotel or rental for as long as you can, preferably up to two weeks.
If you feel better when you are away from home and worse again when you return, then your house is likely the toxic environment. If you feel better when you are away from your workplace, then that is likely the toxic environment. Its just like an elimination diet. Your body will clue you in.
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