Before we begin looking at mold exposure symptoms, we first have to understand what mold really is. Mold is a type of fungi that needs a humid and moist environment to grow. When the conditions are optimal for growth, they spread by releasing spores into the surrounding area. You’ll notice this happening in your home when you see separated dark spots in more than one area. There is a common misbelief that mold is always bad, but that’s not entirely true. While mold in your home is an issue, it’s also a normal part of the outdoor natural environment. This fungi is like nature’s clean-up crew and breaks down dead organic matter like fallen leaves and wildlife.
Many unsuspecting people experience breathing problems in their own homes. They may blame other external factors, but fail to take into consideration that they may be subject to symptoms of indoor mold exposure. According to experts in MOLDY, more than half the houses in the U.S. are experiencing mold issues and 28% of the population is highly susceptive to mold-related health problems. As the fungi grow in your home, you may become more susceptible to various illnesses. The College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (ACAAI) found that more than 80 types of mold have been associated with nose, lung, and throat issues further exacerbating mold-related illnesses. One of the biggest obstacles in preventing mold is that it can grow anywhere as long as it is a moist area. You can see it on the ceiling, fabric, wallpaper, carpet, dust, and so on.
Symptoms of mold exposure can be easily confused with those of other illnesses. While you may only experience mild symptoms at the moment, they can get worse. Not to mention that mold can be toxic if it is releasing mycotoxins in your home. Here are some symptoms you may be experiencing if you have mold in your home:
Headaches and Light Sensitivity – Headaches are a common symptom of many negative health conditions so pinpointing it as a result of mold exposure can be difficult. Frequent headaches, however, should be taken very seriously especially if you also have flu-like symptoms. A good way to know if your headaches are being caused by mold is to notice where they occur. If they tend to flare in a specific part of your home or office, the area may have mold growing.
Fatigue and Weakness – This symptom should not be mistaken for tiredness. While tiredness is a result of poor sleep or running your energy levels until they hit the floor, fatigue stems from complete exhaustion. It is not only limited to physical weakness but also emotional and mental. When you suffer from fatigue, you’ll need much longer periods of rest than normal to recuperate.
Aches and Pains: By far one of the most impairing symptoms of mold exposure, aches and pains are caused by allergies from the mold. A lifestyle change or mild over the counter medicine like Antihistamines are easy ways to combat these symptoms, but it is a better idea to find the source of the issue. If left untreated, mold can be a trigger for chronic inflammatory response syndrome (CIRS) or mold biotoxin illness. Check with a doctor to run blood tests to find the root cause.
Fever-like Symptoms: These symptoms are very common, especially during the winter months and could easily be mistaken for other illnesses. Mold allergies are irritants to your upper respiratory system which results in you feeling like if you have a cold or fever. The symptoms include:
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Itchy through, eyes, and nose
- Dry skin
- Chest congestion
The severity of the symptoms varies from person to person, but can usually be pinpointed to a certain area of the home or workplace if it is mold exposure. Check the space these symptoms begin to flare up in and you may find mold.
Skin Rashes: Dermatitis is also a common symptom of mold exposure because Inhaling spores can cause an allergic reaction that affects your skin. According to The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, a girl with a 15-year history of battling with a pustular facial rash was removed from her home for 7 months within the testing period. During that time frame, she was taken completely stopped taking her antibiotic medication. Researched noted that her allergy-induced facial skin rashes didn’t return for the entire 7 months. When she returned home, the skin rash returned within a week. The researchers concluded that her skin irritation stemmed from mold exposure within her home.
Wheezing and Shortness of Breath: If you suffer from asthma, you should be very careful if being exposed to mold. The allergens can actually kickstart asthma episodes and have you wheezing. You’ll notice that you take fast short breathes as your respiratory system tries to go back to normal. If experiencing this, immediately get out of the area and somewhere with fresh air.
Since mold irritates your nasal and throat passages, people are more susceptible to developing asthma, bronchitis, and other similar illnesses. About 40% of asthma episodes are triggered by the presence of mold, rats, or dust mites in your home’s environment.
Moisture is key in the development of mold so if you live in a much more humid environment, regularly inspect your home. Begin by checking your bathroom, attic, and basement as these areas tend to have humid environments. You should also check your air ducts, vents, and be attentive if there is an ominous smell. If you begin feeling any symptoms of those mentioned above, consult a doctor or an air duct cleaning specialist if you know there is mold in your ducts.
What Should I Do If I’m Experiencing These Mold Exposure Symptoms?
We always recommend visiting your doctor first ensure your wellbeing. A medical professional will be able to asses your situation and rule out any other possible health problems. After a check-up, you will need to have your home thoroughly inspected for any mold growth. Check with your family and note if they are also suffering from mold exposure effects. While not everyone has the same sensibility to the fungi, it is a starting point for diagnosing.
Mold exposure doesn’t get the awareness it needs. Millions of Americans suffer from its effects daily. Having 5 Star Air professionals inspect your home regularly through maintenance can help you minimize the chances of mold growing in your home.