Symptoms Of Mold Exposure
People often mistake the symptoms of mold exposure for other things. They might think they are experiencing seasonal allergies, like hay fever. They might wonder if they are allergic to pet dander. They might think they just have a cold or sinus infection, since mold symptoms resemble those common conditions. Of course, if you realize you have a mold problem in your home, you might suspect your symptoms are related to mold. Many people dont realize they have a mold problem until they start getting sick, though. Thats because mold often grows in places where its hard to spot, like inside walls, inside heating ducts, and under flooring.
Why Mold Causes Problems
Molds alone dont usually cause many health problems. Its when they land on damp surfaces and reproduce that you feel their nasty health effects.
Mold spores produce allergens substances that can cause you to have allergic reactions resulting in hay-fever-like symptoms: itchy, red eyes, runny nose and asthma. If these persist, you can develop respiratory infections. Its rare, but exposure to mold spores can eventually cause organ damage, cognitive difficulties and even death.
Whats more, mold spores can irritate your lungs even if youre not allergic to mold. When introduced to your body, spores irritate your airways in your nose, mouth and throat, Dr. Ibrahim says. They can also cause burning and bleeding if they become lodged in your mucus membranes, such as in your sinuses and lungs.
What Are Microbial Volatile Organic Compounds
Another source of irritation from mold exposure comes from substances knownas microbial volatile organic compounds . These compounds are producedthrough fungal metabolism and are released directly into the air, often givingoff strong or unpleasant odors. Exposure to mVOCs from molds can irritate theeyes and respiratory system and has been linked to symptoms such as headaches,dizziness, fatigue, nasal irritation and nausea. The effects of mVOCs are notcompletely understood and research is still in the early stages.
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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.
Mold Exposure Only Triggers A Simple Allergic Reaction
You might be askingHow much mold exposure is harmful? If youre allergic to mold, you could see symptoms similar to hay fever or seasonal allergies immediately. But an allergy to mold is not the same condition as toxic mold illness or CIRS. If you tested negative for mold allergies and were told theres no way mold is negatively impacting your health, youve been misinformed.
If you have a mold allergy and breathe in mold spores, your eyes may itch, your nose water, your throat swell. You may even have trouble breathing. But remove yourself from the area or wait for the rainy season to pass, and your symptoms will clear up until youre exposed again.
While allergies are caused by an overly-sensitive immune system, they signal a properly-functioning response. Your body is doing its job. Most mold allergies are troublesome and can make you feel terrible, but they are usually not serious or life-threatening. Biotoxin illness is not an allergic reaction. Its whole-body inflammation caused by an immune system that is confused and repeatedly overreacting.
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To Find A Mold Remediation Professional
You can find qualified mold remediation professionals near you by following the link. They can find all the hidden mold in your home and remove it safely, without exposing you to further risk. They usually provide free consultations and home inspections, so you have nothing to lose, and even if you do end up deciding to handle the job yourself, you can get valuable information and advice from an experienced professional that will help you with your task.
Why Are Mold Issues Difficult To Diagnose
Conventional medicine recognizes that mold can cause allergies but does not recognize that mycotoxins emitted by some species of indoor mold can cause a problem, says McElroy. This means that doctors unfamiliar with mold and mold treatment may miss one of the main types of mold reactionsthe chemical and inflammatory reaction. This is for a few reasons:
- There is no gold standard in testing for mold
- There is no standardized treatment protocol or drug for mold toxicity
- There are very limited human-based studies looking at the connection between mycotoxins and human health
- The presentation of mold issues is very different among patients
- Not everyone exposed to mold mycotoxins will have a reaction to them
Its no wonder mold illness can be hard to diagnose. Fortunately, holistic medicine providers consider environmental factors that affect health when evaluating patients and may have additional advanced training in treating mold toxicity.
According to McElroy, one of the biggest challenges with mold is that mycotoxins can cause only some people to launch an inflammatory response. This unpredictable response can go on for years after a long-term exposure in a susceptible individual, she explains.
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Signs And Symptoms Of Black Mold Poisoning
Black mold exposure may often present with your typical allergic complaints that are listed above. However, one must be mindful that other non-allergic, mold-related illnesses exist and may present similarly to a mold allergy, but often with more seemingly unrelated symptoms.
Research has found that people who have been exposed to mixed mold, mold spores and mycotoxins have experienced neurological and behavioral symptoms. These symptoms have been corroborated by other studies like Gordon et al. and Rea et al. .
Such non-allergic symptoms to mold may include, but are not limited to:
- Cognitive impairment
Black Mold Exposure Mold Poisoning:
These are molds that are green or black in appearance. The most common species of the black mold isStachybotrys chartarum. It has been speculated that many black molds are toxigenic, which means they release mycotoxins that are particularly harmful to people with preexisting conditions.
When these mycotoxins begin to accumulate in the body, it may lead to a condition known as mold poisoning which affects the upper respiratory system adversely.
Common mold poisoning symptoms are the same as that of mold allergies. People who are suffering from asthma or any other chronic lung disease, these mycotoxins will make their condition miserable. They will exhibit severe symptoms such as:
After becoming conversant with the health issues caused by molds, its high time to discuss how doctors test for mold exposure.
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The Root Cause Of Mold Problems
Here are common sources of mold growth in an indoor space:
Moist air makes it easier for mold to multiply. A damp basement or a humid bathroom can create spores that spread to the rest of the house. Purchasing a dehumidifier and keeping levels around 30-50 percent may be helpful in preventing mold growth. A poorly ventilated bathroom can be a source of high humidity. Using a ventilation fan during showering and for at least 30 minutes may be helpful.
Poorly sealed windows, gaps in walls, improper flashing
Doors windows and walls will all need to be sealed properly to prevent water intrusion.
Common places include under bathroom and kitchen sinks. Wet carpeted areas may need to be removed to prevent mold and bacteria growth.
All leaks need to be fixed as soon as possible. It only takes 24-48 hours for mold to begin to grow from a water source.
Keep a regular maintenance and cleaning schedule for air conditioning and heating. They can be a source of spreading spores.
During winter, the warm indoor air can hit the cold window and create condensation. This in turn can cause mold growth on wooden window sills.
And other sources
This list isnt exhaustive. Mold can commonly be seen throughout a home: in fireplaces, mattresses and bathtubs, just to name a few.
Could Your Symptoms Be From A General Mold Allergy
Regardless of the species of mold in question, symptoms of a mold allergy can appear very similar, especially when looking at many individuals. So if you see black-colored mold and experience allergic symptoms, it could be Stachybotrys, or it could be another species of mold. That said, the same person can react differently to different molds. For example, one person may have severe dry eyes in response to a Cladosporium exposure, while Aspergillus exposure may cause wheezing and asthma-like symptoms.
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Where Does Mold Grow
Mold loves damp, poorly ventilated areas such as bathrooms, basements and anywhere there is water.
It can start with a small leak in your roof or behind your shower. You may have had a flood at one time that was not properly cleaned and mold now lives under your floors in the underpadding of your carpets or behind the drywall.
Sometimes, the mold may even be brought into your home by contaminated materials during construction such as untreated wood or other construction materials. Mold also flourished in places such as a dirty HVAC system, where dust and moisture have been collecting for months or even years.
In many cases, there are even strains of mold that survive and grow in dry and arid climates such that is Arizona or Nevada, where there is a specific mold that causes severe breathing issues for susceptible people.
But your home or other buildings are not the only places this predatory toxin growsfoods can be very susceptible to mycotoxins. Grains, nuts, chocolate, coffee, and wine for instance are vulnerable.
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.
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The Impact Of Mold: 5 Steps To Regaining Health
The impact of mold on health is far reaching, and the occurrence of mold might be higher than you might think. Symptoms of mold exposure go beyond an allergic response and can include a vast range from achy joints to dysregulated hormones, cognitive issues or sapping fatigue.
To complicate matters, you could be exposed to it, and simply not know. Mold could be hidden behind walls or be disguised as a fine powder instead of the striking black spots you might expect.
Curious if mold is playing a role in your mysterious symptoms? Have a hunch you need to address it to achieve optimal wellness but overwhelmed with where to start? Here are 5 steps worth investigating if youre concerned about how a moldy environment might be affecting your health and wellbeing.
What Are Black Molds
Black molds is actually an umbrella term for several mold species bearing a black or dark green color. One of the most common is the Stachybotrys chartarum. But as much as its dark, the mold color has nothing to do with how dangerous it can be.
As with any mold type, black molds like warm, moist, and dark environments. At home, this could easily be your basement, bathroom, kitchen, or hidden parts of your room. Molds also thrive on materials that absorb moisture like paper, wood, and even dirt.
Many homeowners have a firm belief that black molds have an adverse effect on a persons health. This is mainly due to the dark color, but its beyond what you see with the naked eye.
Black molds are dangerous because it produces mycotoxins. These toxins are substances fungi, like molds, produce. Mycotoxins are also the culprit behind mold poisoning.
Also, mycotoxins can go airborne. This will make it easy for a person to inhale it. The bigger the mold infestation is, the higher the mycotoxin levels will be.
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Black Mold Symptoms + 12 Natural Remedies
Black mold exposure and black mold poisoning can cause a wide range of health problems. Some black mold symptoms can actually be really serious. You may have found this article from googling black mold in shower or mold in house. Unfortunately, mold problems are not unusual in the home, and the shower is a classic location to find black mold flourishing. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, molds in general are very common in homes and buildings and they can grow anywhere indoors where there is moisture.
You can help your body recover if youve been exposed to black mold. You can also naturally rid your home of black mold and prevent it in the first place! Black mold symptoms are highly unpleasant so you really dont want to deal with them if you dont have to.
Outdoor Molds Are More Problematic Than Indoor Molds
It might surprise you, but this is another wrong assumption. Indoor molds cause more health issues than outdoor molds. In general, indoor air is two to five times more toxic than outdoor air. While mold and mold spores exist everywhere outdoors, very few people get sick from mold outside. So, why is indoor mold such a problem? The answer is water-damaged buildings .
WDBs are more of a problem than ever before. A change to building standards and an explosion of air-conditioning systems in the 1970s and 1980s is partially to blame. As demand for air conditioning increased, there was an energy shortage. To increase HVAC efficiency, builders began to seal systems, causing air to be recirculated within buildings.
Pair recirculation with poor filtration, trapped moisture, and building materials such as paper, gypsum, fiberglass, and insulation that literally feed mold, and youve got a recipe for water leaks and mold growth. Unfortunately, it only takes 24-48 hours for mold and mildew to form after water exposure, and growth wont stop until the source of moisture is remedied.
The Environmental Protection Agency did a study of one hundred commercial buildings in the 1990s and reported that 43% had current water damage and 85% had past water damage. Studies in the U.S. estimate that 50% of all buildings have water damage. Its no wonder that mold illness has become such a controversial issue in recent years.
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When Should You Test Your Home For Mold Exposure
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency , if visible mold is present on inspection, testing is usually unnecessary. There are no Environmental Protection Agency or government standards that have been established for mold or mold spore levels, so it is impossible to prove that a building or room complies with any health regulations concerning mold exposure. Likewise, the CDC does not recommend routine sampling and testing of mold in the home. Health officials haven’t defined tolerable or acceptable limits of mold exposure for humans, and since individuals vary in their susceptibility to mold, testing cannot reliably predict the degree of health risks from any occurrence of mold.
When mold has previously been identified and cleanup procedures have been undertaken, sampling and testing may be carried out if necessary by qualified professionals to determine that adequate cleaning of a building has occurred.
What About Tiny Mold Toxins Aka Mycotoxins
As mentioned above, though the Stachybotrys spores may be sticky and not easily airborne, there are other airborne contaminants to worry about: tiny fragments of mold and special toxins called mycotoxins. These contaminants may cause illness in those who are exposed, with mycotoxins being the most concerning.
You can think about mycotoxins as the molds defense: they are used for protection from environmental threats. Mycotoxins are minute organic compounds as small as 0.03 microns. These tiny molecules can stick to particles already floating through the air. Studies have found Stachybotrys mycotoxins on mold fragments that have broken off from a mold colony after it has been disturbed . This can be harmfulairborne particles less than 1.0 microns are easily breathed into the respiratory system, where they can cause irritation and potential allergic reactions. If this occurs, mycotoxins could accumulate onto local tissue and ultimately enter the bloodstream. The study by Brasel cited above showed that trichothecenes could be measured in the blood of people exposed to an indoor environment that had Stachybotrys.
Stachybotrys creates a class of mycotoxins referred to as trichothecenes. Trichothecenes have been widely studied and have been proven to be detrimental to the health of humans, animals and plants. In fact, trichothecenes have been investigated for the purpose of biological warfare needless to say, they are not something to which you want to be exposed.
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Reducing The Length Of Quarantine
The CDC provides optional recommendations for the length of quarantine after the last exposure. These two options can help reduce the burden of having to remain away from work for 14 days, while still keeping the public safe.
According to CDC optional recommendations, if permitted by local public health authorities, people who do not have symptoms can end quarantine:
- On day 10 without testing
- On day 7 after receiving a negative test result
Once you stop quarantine, you should:
- Continue to watch for symptoms for the full 14 days after exposure
- Continue to wear a mask, wash your hands, and take steps to stop the spread of COVID-19
- Immediately isolate and contact your health care provider if you develop symptoms of COVID-19
Your local public health authorities will make the final decision about when and how long to quarantine. This is based on the specific situation within your community, so you should always follow their advice first.