Add moisture to a dark environment and….. MOLD

Mold and Health

A wide range of health impacts can result from exposure to molds. Common symptoms include headaches, chronic sinus infections, breathing issues, skin irritation, allergic reactions, and asthma. All molds have the potential for causing health problems, though susceptibility to these effects varies widely among individuals. Health effects of molds fall into three categories: Immunologic effects, toxic effects, and infectious disease.

Immunologic Effects:

In sensitive individuals, inhaling or touching mold spores causes various immunologic effects. Most common are allergic reactions, such as (sneezing, runny nose, cough, and eye-irritation / Hay fever type allergies) and dermatitis (skin rash). These allergic reactions can be either immediate or delayed, and they may result from exposure to mold that is either alive or dead. Mold spores can also trigger or worsen asthma, particularly among people allergic to mold. Repeated exposure to mold spores or even a single large exposure may cause previously non-sensitive individuals to become sensitized, or it may increase their sensitivity. Hypersensitivity pneumonitis is an immune-mediated disease that may occur after repeated exposure to mold allergens. It produces flu-like symptoms and can result in permanent lung damage.

Toxic Effects

Molds may produce toxins as a defense strategy to fend off competition from other molds, fungi, and bacteria competing for the same resources. Some of these toxins can affect humans. A toxic effect is different from an immunologic effect in that it can be immediate and non-permanent. Many symptoms have been attributed to toxic effects of molds, including fatigue, nausea, headaches, respiratory irritation, eye irritation, and inability to concentrate.

There are two severe illnesses attributed to the toxic effects of molds: organic toxic dust syndrome (OMS) and pulmonary hemosiderosis (AME). OMS describes an abrupt onset of flu-like symptoms (including fever and respiratory symptoms) following a single heavy exposure to dust contaminated with mold. AME is not as kind and tends to shutdown one’s liver.

Immunologic effects

In sensitive individuals, inhaling or touching mold or mold spores may cause various immunologic effect to have suggested a link between pulmonary hemorrhage / hemosiderosis in infants and “Black mold”.

Infectious Disease

Though rare, some opportunistic infections can result from exposure to mold spores among people with weak immune systems. These diseases, normally referred to as fungal pneumonia, involve mold growing in the body. People on immunosuppressants are at the greatest risk for infections like Valley Fever and Gilchrist’s disease.