Have you been experiencing any stubborn, persistent symptoms lately that are seemingly unexplained? Does it seem like you have tried every over-the-counter medicine available to you and yet still get no relief?
You may be one of the many people unknowingly living with or working around toxic mold.
Today I want to walk you through the signs and symptoms of toxic mold exposure, your best treatment options, and how you can best prevent mold from growing inside your home.
Toxic Mold Signs and Symptoms
Many patients are unaware that their home or workplace could be the breeding ground to their symptoms. In fact, it’s estimated that indoor pollutants, including toxic mold, are at a concentration of 2 to 5 times higher than that of the pollutants found outdoors and contributes to more than 50% of patients’ illnesses!1
By far, the most common health issue caused by mold is allergy. Mold-related allergic reactions include:2
- Red, itchy, and watery eyes
- Runny nose
If you’re someone who already has chronic or seasonal allergies, or suffers from a respiratory condition such as asthma or COPD, your allergic reaction to mold may be much more significant. These worsened allergic symptoms can cause:3
- Persistent coughing
- Frequent chest cold
- Difficulty breathing
- Sinus inflammation
- Fatigue and lethargy
In cases of long-term toxic mold exposure, this may lead to more serious symptoms such as:4
- Poor memory and confusion
- Sensitivity to light
- Tingling and numbness in your hands and feet
- Appetite swings and weight gain
- Increased thirst
- Hair loss
- Metallic taste in your mouth
- Abdominal pain, bloating, and diarrhea
- Muscle cramps
- Joint pain
- Difficulty concentrating
What Are the Long-Term Effects of Mold Exposure?
Mold and other fungi are able to mutate rapidly, affecting your immune system and even preventing it from working altogether. This can ultimately cause long-lasting health issues with serious complications.
Some of the diseases related to long-term mold exposure are:5
- Balkan nephropathy
- Reye’s syndrome
- Kashin-Beck disease
- Respiratory infections
- Hepatocellular carcinoma
Is There a Treatment for Mold Exposure?
If you know you’ve been exposed to mold, I recommend the following steps:
- Remove yourself from the environment where there is contamination.
- Avoid being near porous items from the exposed area.
- Clothes, paper, wood, etc.
- Use binders to bind internal mycotoxins in your body.
- Test and be treated for candida overgrowth.
- Common signs of this include yeast infections, oral thrush, and digestive issues.6
- Get treated for colonizations of molds/fungi and bacterial infections in your body.
- The most affected areas are sinuses, bladder, gut, lungs, and vagina.
- Enhance your detoxification.
- Infrared saunas.
- IV immunoglobulin therapy (IVIg).
- Invest in a high-quality air filter for your home and office.
- I personally recommend the Healthmate Plus model from Austin Air. Call Amy at (303) 993-7910 to order!
- Sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT).
- Take antifungal medications and herbs.
- Avoid common foods that contain mycotoxins.
- A few of these include corn, barley, wheat, peanuts, rye, cottonseed, chiles, spices, dried fruit, cocoa, bread, black pepper, and alcoholic beverages.
How Does Mold Grow?
Mold spores, which tend to be harmless on their own, float in the air and occur naturally both indoors and outdoors. We are always breathing them in!
The mold spores we encounter each day outside can attach themselves to people by landing on our clothes, bags, and shoes. They’ll even hitch a ride on our pets! This gives the mold spores convenient access to our homes and workspaces when we go inside.
For these spores to grow into the mold we see in our homes, they need to land on moisture. A few examples of where mold may be encouraged to grow are:7
- Ceiling tiles
- Wet cellulose products (such as paper, wood, and fiberboard)
The most common types of mold found indoors are Penicillin, Alternaria, Cladosporium, Aspergillus, and Stachybotrys chartarum (also referred to as toxic black mold).8
Toxic black mold, while not very common, is dangerous and should be treated for removal immediately. It has a greenish-black color and appears wet or slimy, unless its water source has run out, then it may be dry and powdery. This type of mold has been known to cause:9
- Internal organ damage
- Death, in some instances
How Should You Clean Mold?
Sometimes cleaning mold yourself makes sense, and sometimes it’s highly discouraged.
First, let’s look at some cases when cleaning mold yourself would be appropriate:10
- Only a small area is affected.
- The mold is growing on areas that are easy to clean — like glass or tile.
- There is growth on hard to clean areas, like carpet, that can be removed and replaced.
- You don’t have any current health issues that will be made worse with increased exposure to mold growth.
Call in an expert to clean the mold growth if:
- An area 3 feet by 3 feet or larger is affected.
- A flood occurred that may have been contaminated with sewage.
- There is mold in your HVAC system.
- The mold has grown on wood that cannot be removed.
- You are already experiencing symptoms of mold exposure.
- You have a medical condition, such as asthma, that will be worsened around the mold.
- There is a smell of mold but you cannot find it.
- You aren’t in possession of the correct tools.
- You have any concerns or doubts on how to remove the mold correctly.
If you believe that your mold growth is suitable to be removed by yourself, here are a few household products you can use:11
- Undiluted white vinegar.
- One cup of bleach to a gallon of water — don’t rinse!
- You can add a few drops of dish soap to this mixture to better penetrate porous surfaces. Rinse afterward if soap is added.
- Create a 50/50 mixture of water and ammonia. Spray and then rinse after three hours.
Be sure to take proper safety precautions and wear a mask, gloves, and goggles.
Steps You Can Take to Prevent Mold Growth
As you read earlier, it’s nearly impossible to prevent all mold growth since spores are always floating in the air. However, there are some steps you can take to discourage future growths:12
- Control the moisture by investing in a dehumidifier and keep humidity levels under 60%.
- Dry wet spots quickly.
- Keep areas prone to mold growth cleaned, disinfected, and dry.
- Drain and unclog HVAC units regularly.
- Fix leaks immediately.
- Improve air flow by opening doors and moving furniture away from walls.
- Keep your basement ventilated.
- Leave your bathroom fan on for 30 minutes after showering.
- Dry your bathtub or shower with a squeegee.
- Clean shower curtains, towels, rugs, and loofahs regularly.
- Open a window or turn on a fan while cooking.
I care about you and your health so I created a Low Mold Diet just for you!
Check out my online health store for all the products listed in this article and more!
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The product mentioned in this article are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The information in this article is not intended to replace any recommendations or relationship with your physician. Please review references sited at end of article for scientific support of any claims made.