5 Common Symptoms of Mold Exposure

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Mold is a common cause of indoor air pollution.


The problem with the most common symptoms of mold exposure is that they are also the symptoms of many common colds, allergies, or illnesses.

While many have been diagnosed with sinus infections or allergies, rarely is mold exposure investigated as a potential underlying cause of these issues. 

However, being aware of some of the health risks of mold exposure can help you to be informed. Being aware of the symptoms allows you to be on alert, should you or your family develop any of them.


Five common symptoms of mold exposure include:

  1. Sinus Congestion
  2. Wheezing or Difficulty Breathing
  3. Skin Irritation
  4. Watery or Itchy Eyes
  5. Coughing


Mold exposure affects everyone differently. Some may experience all of these symptoms while others will have seemingly no reaction at all.


The Dangers of Mycotoxins

Mycotoxins are toxic substances that are produced by a fungus.

These toxins are produced by some species of mold, on the surface of the mold spores. Unfortunately, mycotoxins remain toxic even after the spore itself is dead, causing sickness.

While not all molds produce mycotoxins, the molds that do are extremely dangerous. Mycotoxins can cause serious issues including breathing problems, lung inflammation, and fever. They can also be responsible for a number of acute and chronic sicknesses including cancer, fibromyalgia, heart problems, and lupus.


Who is at Risk?

Mold can cause health related problems for anyone, but some people are especially susceptible to mold exposure problems.

Those with weakened immune systems should take great precautions to avoid molds, as they can cause severe reactions.

Those with asthma or other respiratory disorders should also take care to avoid molds as mold can increase the problems associated with respiratory disease, and cause additional breathing problems.

The elderly should also take care to avoid molds, since their immune systems are often less strong.

If you have young children, especially infants, you should take great precautions to avoid molds. Since their immune systems are still developing, and babies’ lungs are still growing stronger, they can be affected more severely. When small infants breathe in mycotoxins, the blood vessels in their lungs are weakened. Over time, this can lead to bleeding of the lungs or severe pulmonary hemorrhaging.

While those with weakened or compromised immune systems are especially at risk, it’s important to note that even relatively healthy people can be at risk too. In fact, according to Mayo Clinic researchers, most chronic sinus infections are caused by an immune system response to fungus.


What to Do?

While prevention is always best, it can be impossible to prevent mold completely. You can, however take action to proactively combat conditions that are ideal for mold, to decrease the chances of it growing in your home. Leaky pipes, roofs, or damp rooms should all be dealt with and addressed as soon as possible, to prevent the infestation and spread of mold. Take care to clean moldy surfaces, to prevent the mold from continuing to spread.


If you have symptoms of mold exposure, be sure to talk with your doctor and explain the situation to them. However, the only certain way to completely eliminate the symptoms of mold exposure is to rid your house of the mold contamination. If you think you have a mold problem, it’s important to call in a certified mold inspector who can tell you exactly what kind of mold you have, and what measures should be taken to rid your home of it.


Have you found mold in your home? Which measures are you taking to combat it?


Image: Laura Taylor

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