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.
So Is Mold Toxicity A Real Thing
Mold toxicitythe idea that mold can produce harmful substances called mycotoxins that can contribute to autoimmune conditions and other chronic diseaseis a bit controversial. Thats because there isnt any kind of test for it or scientific evidence that any kind of disease exists solely because of mold exposure. Keep in mind that theres a lot of misinformation out there, both about the toxicity of mold and the treatment options.
Theres clear, validated proof that breathing in enough mold in your home over a period of time can cause or exacerbate both allergies and asthma, Dr. Parikh says. It can even cause an invasive respiratory infection, she adds, but any chronic health condition resulting from mold hasnt yet been proven to exist.
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.
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What Are The Symptoms Of A Mold Allergy
The symptoms of mold allergy are very similar to the symptoms of other allergies, such as sneezing, itching, runny nose, congestion and dry, scaling skin.
- Outdoor molds may cause allergy symptoms in summer and fall
- Indoor molds may cause allergy symptoms year-round
Mold spores get into your nose and cause hay fever symptoms. They also can reach the lungs and trigger asthma. A chemical released by allergy cells in the nose and or lungs causes the symptoms. Sometimes the reaction happens right away. Sometimes a mold allergy can cause delayed symptoms, leading to nasal congestion or worsening asthma over time. Symptoms often get worse in a damp or moldy room like a basement. This may mean you have a mold allergy.
Rarely, some patients can have a more serious illness called allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis. In this condition, there is both an allergic and an inflammatory response to the mold. Symptoms may include severe wheezing, coughing and shortness of breath, much like asthma.
What To Do If You Breathe In Mold
Of any problem around the house, mold can be one of the most tedious to deal with. Its stubborn, it spreads easily and, without the right knowledge or professional help, it can be difficult to get rid of. On top of all of this, many homeowners live in perpetual fear of mold due to the effects it may have on their health. Over the years, mold has developed a reputation for being toxic, causing chronic diseases and even causing death in some people.
The fact of the matter is, theres a lot more to mold than you might imagine and a lot of misinformation surrounding it. If youre worried about mold growing in your home and what might happen if you and your loved ones breathe it in, this helpful guide can provide you with insight on what youre dealing with, what steps you should take and how to tell if your exposure to mold has become dangerous.
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What Should You Do If Youve Been Exposed To Mold
According to the CDC, there is always some mold around. The first step to prevention is cleaning up the mold and fix the moisture problem as soon as possible. Luckily, the items you need to clean it are likely already in your home. This includes soap and water, bleach, and hydrogen peroxide solution . Be sure to open your windows, dont mix bleach with ammonia, and wear rubber gloves, boots, and goggles while cleaning.
If you have a large amount of mold in your home or you cant reach it, you must call a professional contractor immediately to have it removed safely. Again, mold can grow and spread quickly in 24 hours, so its best to act fast.
Although mold doesnt always cause health problems, it should be removed from your home immediately. Not only can mold cause damage to your home, but it can also be the culprit of severe health concerns for those with mold allergies or respiratory issues.
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.
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How Do You Keep Mold Out Of Buildings And Homes
Inspect buildings for evidence of water damage and visible mold as part of routine building maintenance, Correct conditions causing mold growth to prevent mold growth.
Inside your home you can control mold growth by:
- Controlling humidity levels
- Promptly fixing leaky roofs, windows, and pipes
- Thoroughly cleaning and drying after flooding
- Ventilating shower, laundry, and cooking areas.
Mold Reactions: Who’s At Risk
For people sensitive to mold, inhaling or touching mold spores can cause allergic reactions, including sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and skin rash. People with serious mold allergies may have more severe reactions, including shortness of breath. In people with asthma who are allergic to mold, breathing in spores can also cause asthma attacks.
In addition to people with allergies and asthma, others who may be more sensitive to the effects of mold include:
- Infants and children
- People with chronic lung disease
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Where Is Mold Found In A Home
A research study found that Stachybotrys preferred a very high relative humidity within wallsapproximately 97%which indicates that relative humidity could be an important risk factor . For black mold, you may consider smaller microclimates that may harbor such humidity levels: sweating pipes, under sink cabinets, front loading washing machines, standing water, roof leaks, damp cars, windows with condensation, etc. Generally, common places to check for mold growth include the kitchen, bathroom and laundry room.
However, humidity alone is not the only requirement for mold growthmold requires nutrients to grow. Any environment that has nutrients like cellulose or other organic matter can harbor mold if the humidity level is right. To further enable mold growth, an environment that has poor air flow and minimal disruption is ideal. For example, you can find mold on wallpaper, furniture, drywall, overly-packed bookshelves or overstuffed closets.
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
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Mold Toxicity Symptoms To Watch Forand How To Heal If Exposed
If hearing the words mold toxicity immediately sends shivers down your spine, youre not alone. Getting sick from mold exposure is something we might find interesting on our favorite medical showbut its not something any of us want to experience firsthand. The good news? Symptoms of mold and toxic mold exposure can be combated if you know what to look for.
Mold-related health problems are very real and affect many people every single year. To make matters more complicated, mold issues are often misdiagnosed, undiagnosed, or left untreated in conventional medicine. So, lets break down mold toxicity, what that really means, and how Parsley Health takes a holistic and science-based approach to treating mold toxicity symptoms.
What Happens If You Are Exposed To Black Mold For A Long Time
The most common black mold symptoms and health effects are associated with a respiratory response. Chronic coughing and sneezing, irritation to the eyes, mucus membranes of the nose and throat, rashes, chronic fatigue and persistent headaches can all be symptomatic of black mold exposure or black mold poisoning.
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Perpetuating A Vicious Inflammatory Cycle
Impaired immune function of activated lymphocytes, phagocytic macrophages, and cytokines leads to a state where regulation of cytokine response is totally lost. This leaves you more susceptible to gut infections caused by bacteria, viruses, and parasites.4 MARCoNS, for example, an antibiotic resistant staph, is able to survive in mucous membrane biofilm and produce exotoxins A and B, which cleave MSH5, compounding the MSH deficiency.
With little to no MSH to go around, pituitary production of antidiuretic hormone is diminished, causing thirst and frequent urination. As the cycle continues, lack of MSH causes malabsorption, aggravating leaky gut symptoms such as these:
- Skin problems
- Sleep problems from low melatonin production
For those with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, this is the mechanism at work. Gliadin, a protein found in gluten, releases zonulin, expanding the tight junctions and allowing the gliadin to move through the intestinal wall and into the blood. The immune system tags gluten as a foreign invader and a resulting autoimmune response occurs whenever gluten is ingested.
Sensitivity to any food can result in the same way. If you find yourself reacting to random foods after mold exposure, your practitioner can order an MSH test in addition to other labs to check for leaky gut as well as CIRS. Over 95% of CIRS patients have low MSH.
What To Do For Black Mold
If you see a patch of what you think might be black mold, don’t touch it remember, says Anderson, that disturbing the mold is what causes the spores to release its toxins. “Don’t attempt to wipe it or spray it or put any chemical on itthat’s just going to make it angry,” she says. “The best thing to do is contain it.” She recommends covering the entire area with plastica bag or dropcloth will worksecured around the outer edge of the mold area . “If you have HVAC running into that room, shut the vents so they’re not pulling anything into the other rooms,” Anderson adds.
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What Is A Mold Allergy
If you have an allergy that occurs over several seasons, you may be allergic to the spores of molds or other fungi. Molds live everywhere. Upsetting a mold source can send the spores into the air.
Mold and mildew are fungi. They are different from plants or animals in how they reproduce and grow. The seeds, called spores, travel through the air. Some spores spread in dry, windy weather. Others spread with the fog or dew when humidity is high.
Inhaling the spores causes allergic reactions in some people. Allergic symptoms from fungus spores are most common from July to early fall. But fungi grow in many places, both indoors and outside, so allergic reactions can occur year round.
Although there are many types of molds, only a few dozen cause allergic reactions. Many molds grow on rotting logs and fallen leaves, in compost piles and on grasses and grains. Unlike pollens, molds do not die with the first killing frost. Most outdoor molds become inactive during the winter. In the spring they grow on plants killed by the cold. Indoors, fungi grow in damp areas. They can often be found in the bathroom, kitchen or basement.
I Heard About Toxic Molds And Black Molds That Grow In Homes And Other Buildings Should I Be Concerned About A Serious Health Risk To Me And My Family
There is always a little mold everywhere in the air and on many surfaces.
Certain molds are toxigenic, meaning they can produce toxins . Hazards presented by molds that may produce mycotoxins should be considered the same as other common molds which can grow in your house. Not all fungi produce mycotoxins and even those that do will not do so under all surface or environmental conditions.
Mold growth, which often looks like spots, can be many different colors, and can smell musty. Color is not an indication of how dangerous a mold may be. Any mold should be removed and the moisture source that helped it grow should be removed.
There are very few reports that toxigenic molds found inside homes can cause unique or rare health conditions such as pulmonary hemorrhage or memory loss. These case reports are rare, and a causal link between the presence of the toxigenic mold and these conditions has not been proven.
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What To Do When Toxic Mold Causes Chronic Stomach Problems
Toxic mold exposure can take you from enjoying an unrestricted diet of your favorite foods to suffering from severe stomach problems no matter what you eat. I have patients who can only eat one or two things without bloating, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, or other digestive issues.
If you have a history of mold exposure, toxic mold may be responsible for your stomach problems. Thats because mycotoxins, the toxic byproduct of some molds, as well as the immune response to mycotoxins can cause damage to your intestinal lining and harm your gut microbiome, leading to leaky gut. Leaky gut opens the door for a whole host of other health conditions including autoimmune diseases, chronic pain, chronic fatigue, and environmental sensitivities.
Thankfully, with diet and lifestyle changes, its possible to get better. In this article, youll learn how mold causes chronic stomach problems and how you can heal your gut while detoxing mycotoxins from your body so you can reverse the root cause of illness and restore your joy in livingand eating.
Should I Go To The Hospital
Although the majority of mold exposures are not an emergency, there are a few cases where you should seek immediate medical help.
If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, go directly to the hospital:
- You have significant, prolonged trouble breathing
- You have an asthma attack that wont respond to usual treatment
- Your fever is above 102 degrees Fahrenheit
- You are coughing up blood
- There is a frothy or bloody discharge from your nose
- You are confused or disoriented
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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.