Mold: What You Need to Know

Mold- if you see it- it’s already too late. That means its been circulating around your house. Mold can get in your body before we even see it. It is estimated that over 50 percent of buildings in the U.S. have water damage and potential mold growth. Anytime water leaks or floods in your house there is the potential for mold growth which means it can get in your body. Is your body home to this silent destroyer and susceptible to mold sickness?

Molds love to grow in warm, fluid-based environments. Do you know what that means?  Your body is a great place for mold. Your body has more bacteria and fungi than it has human cells! That’s a good thing, most of the time, because its good bacteria that helps the body function. Unfortunately, the body can also harbor the bad stuff.

Molds are fungi that you can find everywhere. According to the CDC, estimates to how many species of molds there are range from tens of thousands to possibly over 300,000. (1) This makes understanding molds very complex and leaves much of the public confused about the impacts. Molds left unchecked in our homes can be very dangerous.

Molds reproduce by releasing spores into the air. On the spores and fragments of mold that get into the air we breathe, and into the foods we eat, there is the potential for mycotoxins. Mycotoxins are identified as secondary metabolites produced by micro-fungi that are capable of causing disease and death in humans and other animals.  In acute exposure you can see the body’s response right away. There is also chronic exposure which happens with exposure over time that can result in cancers and other serious illnesses. (2)

If you live (or work) in a home or building that has mold, these mycotoxins can be in the air, dust, your furnishings, and in your clothes, and can potentially have a variety of chronic health effects including respiratory disease, peripheral neurological deficits, chronic fatigue type illnesses and others. (3)

In chronic exposure the cause is harder to identify, and the toxicity suppresses the immune system which can trigger other illnesses. So, people look at their symptoms and the illness and don’t always connect them to mold sickness. In the long term, this can lead to even more serious illness.

Do any of these symptoms sound familiar to you?

Mold Sickness Symptoms:

  • Sneezing and coughing
  • Allergies
  • Eye Irritation
  • Vision problems
  • Rashes
  • Hormonal imbalance (mood swings, irregular cycle for women, libido issues, etc..)
  • Headaches
  • Sore Throat
  • Hair Loss
  • Headaches
  • Memory Loss
  • Rashes
  • Auto-immune Disease
  • Chronic Fatigue
  • Muscle Aches
  • Weight Gain
  • Vertigo
  • Tremors
  • Confusion and disorientation
  • Numbness and tingling
  • Temperature regulation problems

Many of these symptoms are pretty common for a lot of people. They could mean mold toxicity.

Mold Sickness is Commonly Misdiagnosed as:

  • Fibromyalgia
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Depression
  • Stress
  • Allergies
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Somatization
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Attention Deficit Disorder

Is Your House a Home for Mold?

If these symptoms sound familiar and are a regular part of your life, it is important to get tested to get to the bottom of what is causing the inflammation in your body or otherwise causing your body to be out of balance. Chronic symptoms could mean chronic mold exposure. Mold exposure affects everyone differently. Some people will have many symptoms while another resident of the same house will have no symptoms. That’s because 25% of people have a genetic response (HLA–DR) that makes them more susceptible to a mold response.

It is important to recognize places mold can hide and be sure to get rid of the mold before it becomes part of your home. Once it becomes rooted in your home you will need to have professional help to get rid of the mold and some people have even had to move from their homes.

Places Mold Can Be Hiding:

  • Carpet
  • In your coffee maker, water filter, or your Keurig
  • Tubing in your appliances
  • Behind wallpaper
  • On your windows because of condensation
  • In drywall
  • Siding
  • Furnace and filters
  • Crawl Spaces
  • Basements
  • Bathrooms
  • Under your sink
  • Dishes put away wet
  • In your pillow- ever go to bed with a wet head?
  • Anywhere that is left damp or is regularly damp

Mold can also be in your foods:

You should also be aware that that there are foods that are more susceptible to mold contamination then others. Those who are sensitive to mold want to be aware of these so that they can avoid them.

  • Coffee
  • Breads and wheat products
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Corn
  • Sugar
  • Peanuts
  • Hard Cheeses

Don’t Be Moldy

Mold can lead to a variety of symptoms that will be hard to diagnose and mold can potentially trigger a more serious illness. Mold can be a cause of inflammation which we know is the root of all disease!

Get rid of mold and keep it out

  • If you see mold get rid of it. If it is more than a little surface mold you will need a professional remediator, that is ANSI/IICRC S520 Certified, to be sure the mold is out of your house
  • It is important to remove all potentially contaminated furnishings, carpets and clothing
  • Be sure to clean up after any water damage within 24-48 hours
  • Keep your house humidity below 50%
  • Use a good HEPA or MERV 16 air filter (Remember the mold is still in your house so you need to get rid of the source)
  • Get a HEPA Vacuum Filter
  • Invest in an UV light air purifier
  • Check out the Molekule Air Purifier that destroys molds, that sneak into your house on fruits and pets, at a molecular level
  • To remove mold from your body, use a binder like activated charcoal or glutathione that will help to remove those toxins from your body
  • The most important thing is to remove dampness and mold from your house

Mold can wreak havoc on your hormones, immunity and cause serious inflammation so if you are experiencing any of the symptoms you need to get tested to find out what is the cause. If you are just treating the symptoms, or in many cases just living with the symptoms, you are not addressing the issue. That’s why mold can be the silent destroyer.

Written by Dr. Patrick Flynn