What are molds?

Molds are fungi that can be found both indoors and outdoors. No one knows how many species of fungi exist but estimates range from tens of thousands to perhaps three hundred thousand or more. Molds grow best in warm, damp, and humid conditions, and spread and reproduce by making spores. Mold spores can survive harsh environmental conditions, such as dry conditions, that do not support normal mold growth.

How does toxic black mold enter the body?

There are three ways in which Stachybotrys spores and mycotoxins can enter the body, and they are equally dangerous. The most common method of entry is through the lungs. Black mold toxins easily become airborne and circulate through enclose spaces by way of air handling systems. This makes it all too easy to breathe in toxic black mold. If you handle a material that is infested with toxic mold, then it can enter your body through your skin. Additionally, black mold toxins can enter the blood stream through the lungs, as well as through the mucous membranes of the nose, eyes, and mouth.

How do molds affect people?

According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control) some people are sensitive to molds. For these people, exposure to molds can cause symptoms such as nasal stuffiness, eye irritation, wheezing, or skin irritation. Some people, such as those with serious allergies to molds, may have more severe reactions. Severe reactions may occur among workers exposed to large amounts of molds in occupational settings, such as farmers working around moldy hay. Severe reactions may include fever and shortness of breath. Some people with chronic lung illnesses, such as obstructive lung disease, may develop mold infections in their lungs.

What are the symptoms of black mold poisoning?

The scariest thing about Stachybotrys exposure is that it can affect every single system of your body. Symptoms are so various that it’s often difficult to pinpoint the culprit until damage has been done. They include sore throats, difficulty breathing, rashes and other skin irritation, coughing and wheezing, depression and anxiety, nausea, memory loss, heart arrhythmia, high blood pressure, and internal bleeding, among other things.

CDC Recommendations:

  • Keep humidity levels as low as you can – no higher than 50% – all day long. An air conditioner or dehumidifier will help you keep the level low. Bear in mind that humidity levels change over the course of a day with changes in the moisture in the air and the air temperature, so you will need to check the humidity levels more than once a day.
  • Use an air conditioner or a dehumidifier during humid months.
  • Be sure the home has adequate ventilation, including exhaust fans.
  • Add mold inhibitors to paints before application.
  • Clean bathrooms with mold killing products.
  • Do not carpet bathrooms and basements.
  • Remove or replace previously soaked carpets and upholstery.

What type of doctor should I see concerning mold exposure?

You should first consult a family or general health care provider who will decide whether you need referral to a specialist. Such specialists might include an allergist who treats patients with mold allergies or an infectious disease physician who treats mold infections. If an infection is in the lungs, a pulmonary physician might be recommended. While seeing your primary care physician is a good first choice, and Environmental and Occupational physician would be the next choice.

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