5/11/11

Toxic Mold Symptoms: How A Dirty Home Can Make You Sick

Mold can grow anywhere in the home, so identifying symptoms of toxic mold exposure can help you determine if a dirty house is making you sick. Mycotoxins produced by black mold and other common molds can lead to upper respiratory illnesses, including pneumonia, and exacerbate symptoms in asthma sufferers. However, there are many more symptoms of toxic mold exposure that can tip you off to a mold problem.



Mold can thrive using almost any carbon-based substance for food, and needs a moist, temperate place in order to grow. These conditions are fulfilled in most households, and bathrooms, refrigerators, and areas near pipes or air conditioners are places where mold is most commonly found. Below, you will learn what are the common symptoms to look out for.

The most common short term exposure symptoms can include:

• Sneezing and stuffy nose
• Watery, red eyes
• Itchy, red skin, in the cases of mold allergies

Repeated exposure to mold, even if it is not constant, can create a host of new symptoms. These include:

• Frequent nosebleeds
• Constant headaches
• Feelings of fatigue
• Respiratory problems, including difficulty breathing, tightness in the chest, or frequent illnesses like pneumonia
• Increased asthma symptoms in asthmatics
• Gastrointestinal problems, including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or a lack of appetite
• Glandular swelling, particularly in the glands located under the chin and under the armpit
• Neurological deficits, including memory loss

The Center for Disease Control notes that some people, either exposed to extreme amounts of mold or that have compromised immune systems, may show severe reactions to mold, including:

• Chronic respiratory illnesses, particularly including fever and difficulty breathing
• Fungal infections in the lungs
• Anxiety and possible emotional changes

Toxic mold exposure in humans occurs when there is an excessive level of mold spores, or Stachybotrys chartarum.

Keep in mind that while any mold problem that has reached the capacity to affect your health is large enough to be seen or smelled, some of the places mold can grow are not easily spotted. This means that you may not make an immediate connection between these symptoms and an infestation. If multiple members of the household (including pets) are coming down with one or more of these symptoms, it is possible that mold could be the culprit.

Remember that it's good to be aware of the symptoms to look out for, but its better to solve the problem from its cause - eliminating the source of toxic molds from your house.

by Scott J. Alexander

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