What many people don’t realize is that mold can make you extremely sick, or even kill you. Mold illness is the variety of health problems that can occur from any type of mold exposure. Although a mold allergy is the most common problem caused by exposure to mold, mold can cause illness without an allergic reaction. Mold can also cause infections or irritants and toxic reactions. Infections caused by mold can lead to a variety of problems from flu-like symptoms to skin infections and even pneumonia. (Mayo Clinic).
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), all molds have the potential to cause ill health. The type and severity of your symptoms depend, in part, on the types of mold present, the extent of your exposure, your age and general health, and your existing sensitivities or allergies. In the proper setting, fungi can infect nearly every organ system or can become disseminated and lead to fungal sepsis.
Different Types of Mold
Allergenic Molds. Allergenic molds are on the low end of the danger scale. They only cause problems for those with asthma and a predisposed allergy to the specific mold. Children are more likely to have mold allergies than adults.
Pathogenic Molds. Pathogenic molds will cause some infection. This is a big problem for those with a suppressed immune system. An acute response resembling bacterial pneumonia is commonly found with those exposed to these types of mold.
Toxigenic Molds. As the name implies, these molds produce mycotoxins that can cause serious health effects. They have been tied to immunosuppression and cancer. The toxic chemicals found in these types of molds can be absorbed into the body when one inhales them, eats them, or even touches them.
Five of the Most Common Indoor Molds
- Alternaria: Commonly found in your nose, mouth, and upper respiratory tract; can cause allergic responses.
- Aspergillus: Usually found in warm, extremely damp climates, and a common occupant of house dust; produces mycotoxins; can cause lung infections.
- Cladosporium: This very common outdoor fungus can find its way indoors to grow on textiles, wood, and other damp, porous materials; triggers hay fever and asthma symptoms.
- Penicillium: Very common species found on wallpaper, decaying fabrics, carpet, and fiberglass duct insulation; known for causing allergies and asthma; some species produce mycotoxins, one being the common antibiotic penicillin.
- Stachybotrys: Extremely toxic “black mold” that produces mycotoxins that can cause serious breathing difficulties and bleeding of the lungs, among other health problems. Thankfully, less common in homes than the other four, but not rare; found on wood or paper (cellulose products), but NOT on concrete, linoleum or tile.
11 Signs of a Mold Illness
- Brain Fog, Memory Problems, Trouble Focusing, Headaches
- Fatigue and Weakness
- Unexplained Muscle Cramping, Aches and Pains in the Joints, Persistent Nerve Pain
- Numbness and Tingling
- Eye Problems like Red Eyes or Light Sensitivity
- Asthma and Sinus Problems like Cough or Shortness of Breath
- Tremors and Vertigo
- Digestive Issues like Change in Appetite, Diarrhea, Nausea, Abdominal Pain
- Metallic Taste in the Mouth
- Temperature Regulation or Night Sweats
- Excessive Thirst and Increased Urination
You can see the variety of symptoms are quite large and can overlap with other conditions. See a practitioner if you have the underlying conditions that may go along with mold and mold toxicity. It’s not always the food we eat, but it can be the air that we breathe that makes us sick.
Source: Functional Medical Institute; https://fmidr.com/mold-illness/
Photo: Courtesy of getthegloss.com