Health Effects and Symptoms of Mold Exposure
Problems of water damage in buildings along with mold growth are on the rise and so are complex health challenges. Could there be a connection? Often times, water damage and related health hazards in buildings are completely concealed. When water damage or mold does become apparent on surfaces or through musty smells, the problems have often been present for a long time.
Some mold species can also invade the human body, causing a multitude of health symptoms that may be associated with many common diseases or conditions. If mold spores are visible, what you see might just be a small example of what lurks hidden elsewhere.
Common Mold Species
Stachybotrys chartarum and Aspergillus/Penicillium, are just two of the most common building-related molds that can cause serious health issues, but there can be many more. In fact, there may be more than 5 million species of mold, most of which have not yet been identified or studied. With this number in mind, it is very possible that there are also toxic mold species that have yet to be identified so they can be tested even if they can be found.
Not All Mold Is Bad
All mold fungi break down organic material, as a part of decomposition. This is nature’s recycling system and it is a good thing for creating soil. We need quality soil to grow food, but the mold fungus found in soil, should not be in our tightly built homes, offices or schools, or in the air we breathe. In human bodies, mold fungus can deplete the immune system, thus supporting and accelerating many diseases.
Breathing toxins like mold or bacteria can place a huge burden on the body’s systems. Since breathing is a critical function, it is possible the immune system becomes overwhelmed and unable to fight other invaders, leading to the complex health issues we see today. This article focuses on the most common symptoms associated with mold exposure and mold illness, as well as solutions we can use to protect ourselves.
The most common symptoms of mold exposure, listed by major health organizations including the EPA and CDC, include:
- Breathing Difficulties
- Colds Flu-Like Symptoms
- Aching Muscles
- Sore Throat
- Sinus Congestion
- Runny Nose
Since these symptoms are very similar to virus or bacterial infection symptoms, as well as the the common flu, possible environmental causes are often overlooked. It is important to keep in mind that when one is exposed to toxic mold on a regular basis, the body can become hyper-sensitive and react everywhere, even though the cause may be from one particular location.
It is also common that when people are exposed intensely to poor air quality in places that they spend lots of time, that it can take days, weeks or even months to notice improvements when those burdens are removed.
These are some more common symptoms of mold exposure which are often overlooked.
- Malaise Nosebleeds
- Eye and Vision Problems
- Hair Loss
- Hearing Loss
- Memory Loss
- Learning Difficulties
- Brain Fog/Focus Challenges
- Difficulty Speaking
- Skin Sores
- Sleep disorders
- Weight Loss
- Weight Gain
- Anger / Rage
- Drug abuse
- Ringing in the Ears
Many diseases have been scientifically linked to mold exposure. Mold exposure compromises the immune system even more when other health challenges are a burden.
Diseases related to the immune system which may be related to mold exposure or made worse by mold exposure include:
- Bleeding Lungs
- Weight Gain
- Weight Loss
- Rage Eczema
- Bi-Polar Disorder
- Drug Abuse
- Chronic Fatigue
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Neuropathy OCD
- Panic Disorder
- Schizoid Syndrome
- Kidney Failure
- Heavy Metal Toxicity
- Lyme Disease
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Hormone Disruption
- Thyroid Disease
Can mold really contribute to all of these health challenges?
Once the immune system is compromised by mold fungus, additional damage by any number of toxins, bacteria or viruses can destroy our bodies, and affect even our brain. Mold commonly enters the body through breathing in spores. However, it can also enter through the skin and even the eyes. Once inside, mold can reproduce itself often using our own bodies, organs, tissues, and even our blood, for food.
More research is certainly needed, however, it is likely that mold fungus in the body creates irritation, which leads to inflammation. Once the body starts an inflammatory process, it often becomes a systemic condition. We must stop the cascading inflammatory process by eliminating mold exposure and then rebuilding the immune system. While more research is needed, it is very possible that mold and other toxins which affect air quality in buildings may even be a significant contributor to all immune disorders and immune system diseases.
INFLAMMATORY IMMUNE DISORDERS AND DISEASES
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Heart Disease
- Bursitis Laryngitis
- Celiac Disease
- Diverticulitis Sepsis
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Unfortunately, few doctors or building professionals know or understand how environment and mold can impact health. There are tests for mold in blood and urine, though these tests are not well known. Thanks to the internet and many avenues of information sharing, more and the numbers of doctors who are becoming aware are growing.
Many of the doctors and other health professionals who are educated on mold and toxins have been affected themselves. They have been frustrated by the lack of information and often this frustration becomes the source of their energy to research to protect their own families or their own health.
The Conventional Medicine Solution
Antibiotics are the typical solutions many doctors have come to rely on regardless of symptoms. However, mold fungus is not a typical bacteria or a bacteria at all. In fact, fungus aretheir own species of living organism that can adapt to antibiotics. Steroids are often prescribed to counter inflammation without considering the cause of the inflammation to eliminate the source.
Steroid use for mold exposure patients can have devastating results, as the steroids depress the body’s natural immune system even further. Imagine, noticing that your car’s engine light is on. Would you go to a dealership to have them cut the wire to the engine light so you don’t see the warning? Or do we try to get to the root cause of the engine light alert to avoid further damage to the engine or other systems? Why has conventional medicine become focused on eliminating symptoms without evaluating causes?
Both antibiotics and steroids depress the immune system, making the body less able to fight off mold fungus invasions, or other bacteria including Lyme bacteria, which is a disease commonly associated with mold exposure. With a depressed immune system, other health challenges get worse and worse, and can adversely affect more systems of the body. And the stronger the antibiotics, and the longer you have to be on them, the worse the side effects. Antibiotics and steroids make the health effects of mold exposure worse, not better.
Get More Information
For additional information, there is more free information available on this website you’re on. Reducing or eliminating mold exposure is critical. Know that often times, mold is completely concealed and there are NO SIGNS but only health effects. Thorough visual inspections are necessary along with other tests that can be done even by educated building owners. I offer virtual inspections of test results, inspection reports and homes using photos and video links.
While stopping water damage and removing mold are always critical components to recovering health. Essential oils are an additional protocol that I have incorporated for the benefit of myself and my family. If you would like to try essential oils to see for yourself what benefits are available, then contact me for more information.
Get your questions answered!
Cheryl Ciecko, AIA, ALA, LEED AP, is a licensed architect who helps homeowners and building professionals create safe homes through online education to prevent mold, water damage, and poor indoor air quality. You can find her video masterclasses, online programs, and education subscription options at https://avoidingmold.com/education .
For detailed answers on your specific situation or building project, schedule your appointment for an individual consultation.
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The information contained in this presentation is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, prescribe, treat, or cure any disease, ailment or injury to the body. It is not medical advice. FDA regulations prohibit the use of medical claims in conjunction with the sale of any product not approved by the FDA. Statements made herein have not been evaluated by the FDA.
Any products, techniques, and/or personal usage tips referred to are not suggested as a replacement for proper treatment from a licensed health care professional. I am not a licensed health care professional and the decision to use or not to use any of this information is the sole responsibility of the listener and/or reader. Everyone is an individual with different body types, different blood types, different body chemistries, and it is important to remember that what works for one person may not work for another person.