By Jacki Meinhardt, FNP | 01/15/2020

Mold Exposure Symptoms

Mold Exposure Symptoms

Have you experienced any stubborn, persistent health symptoms that are unexplained? Have you tried multiple over the counter medications or supplements with no relief?  Have you been seen by multiple medical physicians who say your symptoms are all in your head?  All the medical testing says you are “normal?” 

You may be one of the many people living with or working around toxic mold. 

Mold can be a big problem. Of course, when we think of mold, we look at the shower curtain, under the sink, or in the basement. However, mold can grow everywhere. Mold can be found in dry wall, roofs (if there is a leak), and air conditioning vents. In fact, there are over 1,000 types of mold that can be found growing in modern American homes. Scientists classify these molds based on the effect that have on humans and other living things. 

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. 

Pathogenic Molds. Pathogenic molds will cause some infection. This is a big problem for those with a suppressed immune system related to autoimmunity, Lyme disease, or other tick-borne vectors. 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 even 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.

Four of the Most Common Indoor Molds

  1. Aspergillus: Usually found in warm, extremely damp climates, and a common occupant of house dust; produces mycotoxins; can cause lung infections.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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. 

Signs and Symptoms of Toxic Mold 

Many people are unaware that their home, school, or workplace could be the root cause of their symptoms. In fact, it’s estimated that indoor pollutants to include 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!

If you’re someone who already has chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, or suffer from a respiratory condition such as asthma or COPD, your reaction to mold may be much more significant. These worsened symptoms can cause:

  • Persistent coughing
  • Frequent chest cold
  • Headaches
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Sinus inflammation
  • Fatigue and lethargy

In cases of long-term toxic mold exposure, this may lead to more serious symptoms such as:

  • Poor memory and confusion
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Tingling and numbness in your hands and feet
  • Appetite swings and weight gain
  • Increased thirst
  • Increase urination
  • Hair loss
  • Metallic taste in your mouth
  • Abdominal pain, bloating, and diarrhea
  • Muscle cramps
  • Joint pain
  • Anxiety
  • Lightheadedness
  • Difficulty concentrating

 

Is there treatment for Mold Exposure? 

If you believe you are being exposed to toxic mold, I recommend the following steps:

  1. Find a medical provider who can properly diagnosis and treat your illness.  Please check www.survivingmold.com or www.iseai.com for a list of medical providers in your area. 
  2. Properly test your environment with an ERMI test or HERTSMI-2 test. Do not try and clean the environment yourself! 
  3. Take the Visual Contrast Test or VCS test through www.survivingmold.com or www.vcstest.com. Bring the results to your next health care appointment. 

Jacki Meinhardt, FNP is a Board Certified Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) committed to the health and wellness of all patients. Recognizing the unique needs of each individual, Jacki emphasizes active patient engagement, proven medical advancements, critical thinking, and patient education to achieve optimum and sustainable results.  In addition to general integrative medicine services, Jacki’s focus at Five Stone Wellness will center on CIRS, Lyme, and tick-borne illnesses, chronic fatigue, chronic pain, hormone management, detoxification, and auto-immune diseases.

References: 

https://www.medicinenet.com/mold_exposure/article.htm

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323419.php

https://www.healthline.com/health/black-mold-exposure#testing-indoors

https://www.cdc.gov/mold/stachy.htm#Q1

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