It might be difficult to tell the difference between the symptoms of mold exposure and those of allergies or an infection.
While most healthy people may only experience symptoms for a short time, those with a compromised immune system are more likely to become ill as a result of mold exposure. The elderly, pregnant women, newborns, small children, and people with chronic health concerns all fall under this category.
Mold exposure can induce a number of dangerous illnesses, but each has its unique set of symptoms that distinguishes it from the others. Remember that a fever is the most common indicator of infection, so take your temperature frequently if you think you might be unwell.
Mold can lead to the following:
Aspergillosis is a fungal infection caused by exposure to molds belonging to the Aspergillus genus. Molds like this can be found in decomposing plants like dead leaves, compost piles, and stored grain. People with weakened immune systems and those with damaged lungs are the most prone to get aspergillosis. Coughing (often with blood or mucus), fever, chest pain, difficulty breathing, chills, shock, or kidney/liver disorders are all common adverse effects.
Farmer's Lung is a condition caused by exposure to particular types of mold that develop on crops on a regular basis. Farmers, as the name implies, are the most susceptible to contracting Farmer's Lung due to the continual inhalation of dust particles from hay, animal grain, and various pesticides. Dry cough, fever, chills, fast heart rate, aches and pains, shortness of breath, and decreased appetite are all common adverse effects.
Mucormycosis is an uncommon but life-threatening infection caused by molds known as micromycetes. Molds like this can be found in decaying things, including soil, rotting wood, and compost piles. Depending on how the mold spores enter the body, mucormycosis can impact a variety of organ systems.
In any of these scenarios, you should take the following steps: Make an appointment with your doctor right away. Keep track of any symptoms you've experienced and how they've changed, and provide as much information as you can to your doctor. Prescription drugs can be used to treat the majority of mold-related disorders. Some more serious illnesses may necessitate surgery, but this isn't extremely common.
Mold Exposure: Is It Dangerous?
This is one of the most common areas where information becomes jumbled. Some sources of information will tell you that any type of mold exposure can be fatal, while others will tell you that only toxic molds can cause major injury.
Fortunately, mold exposure (even toxigenic mold) is rarely fatal to a healthy individual. Higher-risk groups, on the other hand, can suffer significantly more catastrophic health consequences as a result of exposure to pathogenic and toxigenic molds.
Those at Risk Include:
- Women who are pregnant
- Infants and small children
- Senior citizens
- People who suffer from a chronic disease
- People who have recently undergone substantial medical procedures or treatments (like chemotherapy)
- Immune-compromised or immune-disordered individuals
What's the Deal with Black Mold?
The image of black mold that comes to mind is most likely of Stachybotrys chartarum. This mold has a greenish-black appearance and prefers to grow on cellulose-rich materials such as paper, fiberboard, and drywall. Because black mold requires a constant source of moisture to grow and spread, it's more common in places where there are water leaks, water damage, condensation, or floods.
Stachybotrys chartarum is one of the most dreaded molds, frequently referred to be the most deadly and potentially fatal mold in homes around the world. This was significantly influenced between 1993 and 1996, when ten premature infants in Cleveland, Ohio, all had an idiopathic pulmonary hemorrhage, a dangerous disorder (bleeding in the lungs). This sickness claimed the life of one of the infants. According to a study undertaken by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each of the youngsters lived in families with extremely high levels of Stachybotrys chartarum. People all throughout the country determined that black mold was exceedingly harmful and perhaps death once the CDC's research was released.
The CDC, on the other hand, was unable to prove a relationship between mold exposure and idiopathic pulmonary hemorrhage. The occurrences of this condition in the affected newborns were not consistent with previous human or animal exposure to black mold or other related fungi, and clusters similar to this one had not happened in other places with high quantities of black mold. In fact, just one such occurrence was discovered — research on another group of children infected with the same ailment was undertaken in Chicago in 1992, and seven children were infected. After several days of antibiotic treatment, one of the patients died, while the others recovered. The presence of mold in the residences was not even a factor in this case study.
In the end, today's evidence demonstrates that black mold poses roughly the same health concerns as practically every other type of mold. Exposure to black mold is not considered deadly in people who are otherwise healthy. Nonetheless, continuous exposure to this or any other sort of mold can produce unpleasant symptoms. If mold is spreading in your home, it's usually a good idea to do some research and seek a professional for assistance if the outbreak is really large.
Is it Possible for Mold to Grow in Your Lungs?
Unfortunately, certain infections, particularly aspergillosis, can cause this. However, it is usually curable with some oral drugs and, in rare situations, surgery.
Mold spores spread in the air, so whenever you're near a mold colony, you're inhaling some of them and exposing them to the sensitive tissue inside your trachea (windpipe) and lungs. The longer you breathe them in, the more time the spores have to settle down and colonize in an open space in your lungs. In most people with healthy lungs, there isn't much open space inside; therefore, the chances of this happening are slim. The risk is substantially higher for people who have recently undergone surgery or who have other disorders that might produce open cavities in the lungs (emphysema or tuberculosis).
Thankfully, your doctor can prescribe oral corticosteroids to assist you in minimizing inflammation and symptoms. An oral antifungal may be administered for more invasive cases of this disease. In the most severe cases, surgery to physically remove mold from the lungs may be required; however, this is uncommon and usually only done when side effects become hazardous (causing excessive internal bleeding, for example).
How Can You Tell If Your Lungs Have Mold?
If you've been exposed to mold for a short period of time, you're unlikely to notice any symptoms. However, there are clear markers that mold spores are present in your lungs in cases of exposure.
The problem is that all of these symptoms can be present in a number of illnesses or allergic reactions, so pinpointing mold exposure as the cause can be challenging. Keep track of your symptoms, including when they first appeared and how they changed. Take note of any time you saw mold developing near you in the past, how long it took for you to be exposed to it, and if any protective clothing was worn (e.g., medical face covering). If you have concerns about contracting mold in your lungs or other areas of the body that are difficult to see, like bones or joints, work with a physician immediately and explain what's going on so precautions can be taken. It is always better safe than sorry!
Mold exposure has the potential to create major problems, but most healthy people will just experience some unpleasant, brief symptoms. If you're concerned about mold in your house, speak with a local professional to find out what you can do.
If you are in the Hendersonville, NC area and are having issues with mold in your home or business, CONTACT No Mold WNC today!
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