What Is Mold Illness
First, Id like to explain more about what this condition is. What we often refer to as mold illness or mold toxicity is actually a comprehensive and multifaceted syndrome known as chronic inflammatory response syndrome, or CIRS.
CIRS was originally defined by Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker, a former family physician in Maryland.
In the late 1990s, Dr. Shoemaker discovered a connection between a mysterious illness that some of his patients were experiencing and a toxin produced by a fish-killing dinoflagellate called Pfiesteria. Since then, Dr. Shoemaker has linked a similar kind of illness to toxins from a wide variety of microorganisms and chemicals.
How Do You Get The Molds Out Of Buildings Including Homes Schools And Places Of Employment
Mold growing in homes and buildings indicates that there is a problem with water or moisture. This is the first problem to address.
Remove moldy items from living areas. Once mold starts to grow in carpet, insulation, ceiling tiles, drywall, or wallboard, the only way to deal with the problem is by removal and replacement.
It is important to properly clean and dry the area as you can still have an allergic reaction to parts of the dead mold and mold contamination may recur if there is still a source of moisture.
Remove or replace carpets and upholstery that have been soaked and cannot be dried promptly.
Clean up and dry out your home thoroughly and quickly after any flooding. Dig out mud and dirt . Use a wet vacuum to remove remaining dirt. Scrub cleanable surfaces with soapy water and a bristle brush. Thoroughly clean all hard surfaces with water and dish detergent. Dry surfaces quickly and thoroughly after cleaning. If you have a fan, air conditioner or dehumidifier that wasnt affected by flooding use it to help the surfaces dry after you finish cleaning
Mold growth can be removed from hard surfaces with commercial products, soap and water, or a bleach solution of no more than 1 cup of bleach in 1 gallon of water to kill mold on surfaces. Never mix bleach with ammonia or other household cleaners.
If you choose to use bleach to clean up mold:
Is There A Test To Determine If I Have Been Exposed To Mold
Some physicians have recommended testing for mold-specific antibodies. The presence of antibodies only indicates that you have been exposed to a substance at some time. It does not tell you when you were exposed, where the exposure took place, or how much of the mold you were exposed to. Having a positive test for mold-specific antibodies alone is generally considered insufficient to prove that health effects reported by individuals in moisture-damaged buildings are caused by exposure to mold.
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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.
A Qualified Environmental Lab Took Samples Of The Mold In My Home And Gave Me The Results Can Cdc Interpret These Results
Standards for judging what is an acceptable, tolerable or normal quantity of mold have not been established. Sampling for mold can be expensive, and standards for judging what is and what is not an acceptable quantity of mold have not been set. The best practice is to remove the mold and work to prevent future growth. If you do decide to pay for environmental sampling for molds, before the work starts, you should ask the consultants who will do the work to establish criteria for interpreting the test results. They should tell you in advance what they will do or what recommendations they will make based on the sampling results. The results of samples taken in your unique situation cannot be interpreted without physical inspection of the contaminated area or without considering the buildings characteristics and the factors that led to the present condition.
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My Online Vcs Test Results
While the online VCS Test is free to take, I recommend making a small donation, which will unlock more detailed results, allow for multiple tests over time , and give the ability to download reports in PDF and csv format.
I have taken the online VCS Test twice, approximately 14 months apart. Here are the results of my first test:
Here is an explanation of how to interpret the charts:
The charts above plot the results of your contrast sensitivity test for each eye. The left axes represent contrast sensitivity, the right axes represent percentage contrast, and the bottom axes represent the spatial frequency of the parallel bars in the test images . Each plotted circle represents an image from your test, and its position corresponds to its contrast level and spatial frequency. The biotoxin columns 6 and 12 CPD are outlined in blue. A green-filled circle indicates that you answered correctly when asked to identify the tilt of the bars, whereas a red-filled circle indicates that you answered incorrectly. The black tails point in the direction the bars in the test images were tilted in your test, and where you answered incorrectly the red tails point in the direction you indicated.
Air Quality Testing For Mold
Most people are not aware of how severely mold can affect their health. Because mold spores are so small, they can become airborne easily and spread quickly. Just because you cannot see a mold contamination in your home doesnt mean that its not there.
Mold and mildew are the result of moisture and water damage. Rooms that are prone to leaks, condensation and flooding often experience mold growth. These include bathrooms, attics and basements.
Property owners have to be careful because moisture problems are not always obvious or visible. They can remain completely hidden from sight . If left untreated, they will lead to black mold contamination.
Exposure to black mold can cause or aggravate health conditions like asthma and allergies.
Over time, it can also lead to more serious conditions such as chronic bronchitis, problems with the nervous system, cancer and heart conditions.
Luckily, you have two types of air tests to help you detect unseen mold: viable sampling and non-viable sampling. Each has its advantages and drawbacks , but both are effective means of assessing indoor air quality.
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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.
Identify Indoor And Outdoor Mold Allergies
The IgE Mold Profile is a blood test that measures IgE antibodies to 15 common indoor and outdoor molds. The panel also includes a total IgE measurement. Everyone breathes in airborne mold spores, and in people with mold allergies, symptoms mainly affect the respiratory tract. Testing for mold allergies can identify whether mold is causing the symptoms. The patient can experience relief with symptom management, and by avoiding ongoing exposure to the mold source.
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How Do You Test For Mold In Your Home
Do a home mold test or arrange to have an environmental hygienist or mold specialist take samples from an HVAC system, contents or patch of visible mold growth. Lab analysis can determine which species of mold are growing and the severity of an infestation. Professional tests may take place before and after remediation.
Your Guide To Mold Toxicity Test Options And What To Do Before This
If you have been struggling with unexplained symptoms like fatigue, difficulty concentrating, or allergy-like symptoms, you may be wondering if mold and mycotoxin testing can help you find answers.
Testing for mold or mycotoxins may be helpful in some contexts, but its definitely not a recommended starting point in your health journey. Mycotoxin research is still in its infancy and testing is not well validated. Misinterpreting or putting too much weight on test results may distract from identifying other important health issues.
Before considering mycotoxin testing, its essential to explore other factors that may be responsible for your symptoms. Poor gut health is often the reason for unexplained, mysterious symptoms.
In this article, we will break down all of the important points to consider before testing for mold or mycotoxins. Next, we will discuss the most common types of mold tests that are available, including the pros and cons for each and who theyre most suitable for.
First, lets take a quick look at what mycotoxins are.
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How To Treat Mold Toxicity In The Body
Is mold toxicity reversible? Yes, but to recover from mold illness, you need to support your bodys natural detoxification and drainage systems. Its also beneficial to support your immune system, thyroid gland, mitochondria, and oxygen status. Several supplements help with these aspects.
Here are some top supplement strategies to help with your mold cleanse.
What Happens When You Inhale Mold
Breathing in mold spores is the most common way for mold spores to enter your system. Individual spores, unlike colonies of growth, are invisible to the naked eye. This makes it nearly impossible to know if you are ingesting spores into your nasal passages and letting them take root down in your lungs. Though mold will grow on old or decaying food, most people wont purposely eat a rotten tomato or moldy piece of bread. Penicillin is a form of mold that can be ingested, but this only occurs under the guidance of a physician for anti-microbial and wellness purposes. Toxicity levels are more likely to occur through inhaling the spores and creating a buildup that the body can no longer fight.
The body commonly processes toxins out of the body when it eliminates waste. Mold spores arent the only toxins your body has to eliminate, but inhaling heavy doses of mold spores can put a burden on the bodys natural toxin elimination system. When the toxic load gets too high, the body cant detox. Instead, the mycotoxins may be recycled back into the body or reabsorbed until the body can try again. The toxic threshold varies by individual.
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Is Your Home Mold Toxic
Mold loves moisture. Flooding poses a significant risk for mold growth. Landscaping that slopes toward a building instead of away from it encourages water intrusion.
Something as common as a leaky roof, faucet, or dishwasher also invites mold growth. Damp basements and window condensation can also be a haven for mold.
But, how do you know for sure if you have a mold problem?
Often, you can see or smell mold but not always. You may also see areas that have visible water damage. This is a red flag for possible mold growth.
If you suspect you have a mold problem, you can start with a few simple tests yourself. Certified mold inspectors are also available but vary in quality. Heres a closer look at these options:
Regardless of how you identify a mold problem, getting rid of it is essential for your health.
What To Do Next
If you suspect you may have a problem with mold, I suggest the following steps.
Step 2. Test your home for mold. One of the best tests is called an ERMI, and I suggest that you hire an environmental professional to perform a visual inspection of your home and sample several rooms. You can perform an ERMI on your own at a lower price but its only helpful if its positive, in which case youll need to hire an environmental professional. So I suggest skip the self-testing.
Step 3. Work with a clinician trained in the Shoemaker Protocol. on how to find one. You may consider the genetic susceptibility test for mold, which can be performed by Labcorp, panel # 167120.
In the next part of this series on mold illness, Ill describe what happened when I tested my own home for mold. Then Ill address remediation and whats proven to help a person heal from mold illness.
Do you have symptoms of mold illness? Do you know or suspect you live in a water-damaged building? We would love to hear your story. Let me know in the comments below.
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Eating Or Drinking Mold Is The Main Cause Of Illness
Have you ever taken a big bite of bread only to look down and see a little green spot of mold staring back at you? It will turn almost anyones stomach. And the impending thought of food poisoning can cause serious anxiety.
The truth isif youve accidentally ingested some mold, youll probably be just fine. If you have a mold allergy, you might experience the symptoms discussed above, but any nausea or vomiting will likely be a result of the fact that youre totally grossed out by what youve eaten.
So, how does mold most often make its way into the body and cause illness? While ingestion and skin contact are possible routes, the potential for serious health problems is caused by inhalation of airborne mold spores. When spores are inhaled through the nose or mouth and enter the sinuses, lungs, brain, and bloodstream, theyre quite difficult for the body to eliminate. The spores attach themselves to mucous and begin to colonize. Many people are initially unaware that theyve been exposed to mold and its subsequent inflammagens but begin to see a decline in their health over time.
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.
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What Are The Treatments For Mold Exposure
The first step in treating problems with mold exposure is to avoid the environment where the triggers are located. In short, the mold problem needs to be taken care of completely. If not, you will simply be managing the symptoms. It is also difficult to completely avoid any mold exposure, which means some medications or therapies will ease the symptoms rather than offer a cure. However, in conjunction with your physician, you should be able to enjoy an improved quality of life once you have had the mold removed and your immune system set back on track. Here are some of the treatments or medications that are used to address mold exposure.
Lifestyle changes may also need to be made for an individual to recover from mold poison. The primary consideration is removing the source of the toxin, either through mold remediation and cleanup or by taking yourself out of the environment. If you have found mold in your home, dont delay in having it removed. With a serious allergy to the substance, it isnt advised that you undertake the cleaning on your own. Professional help is advised if you want to thoroughly remove the contaminant without making the problem worse.
Difference From Mycotox Profile And Why Both Are Beneficial
IgE looks at immune response to mold exposure.
MycoTOX Profile looks at mycotoxin levels excreted from the body.
Mold allergies and mold mycotoxin toxicity are distinct responses related to mold illness.
70% of patients exposed to mold have positive skin tests to those molds, indicating that testing for IgE antibody in blood will complement the mycotoxin test.
IgE levels predict individual response, mild or severe, to the molds in the environment.
IgE levels may indicate reactivity to mold species whose mycotoxin products were not excreted at the time of the mycotoxin test or are not among the mycotoxins included in the MycoTOX Profile.
The two tests provide a more comprehensive picture of individual mold exposure.
Mycotoxins predict the effects of toxins on multiple bio-systems in the body.
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How Do You Test For Mold Spores In The Air
The most common and reliable way to test for mold spores in the air is through non-viable air sampling. This is also called a spore trap analysis.
A trained indoor environmental professional will collect samples of air, using a calibrated air pump. The air will be collected onto non-viable mediums, called cassettes.
The microscopic airborne spores get pulled into these cassettes, which have an adhesively coated glass slide medium. As mold spores enter in, they become impacted into the glass slide medium.
The cassettes are then delivered and microscopically analyzed by a trained environmental microscopist or mycologist at an accredited laboratory.