Mold and Mycotoxins can be the driving factor behind your illness.
We can be exposed to mold through skin contact, inhalation, or ingestion. Exposure to these molds and toxic byproducts are known to suppress the immune system and even destroy its capacity to function over time. They may not always cause symptoms in in everyone but can drive symptoms in those who are susceptible. One’s level of susceptibility is based on their genetics, total toxic load (accumulation of toxins/chemicals in body), and timing and length of exposure to moldy environment.
With Summer temperatures rising so is the humidity. The combination of high humidity combined and hot temperatures can be a bad one for indoor environments because it encourages mold growth.
Molds are part of the natural environment, and can be found everywhere, indoors and outdoors (3). Molds are a type of fungi that play an important role in nature’s recycling system by breakdown organic waste (i.e. plant debri, leaves, woods, dead animals, etc.). For most people mold only becomes problematic when it begins growing indoors (3). This can occur with water leaks, high humidity, poorly sealed doorways, windows and vents, in addition to maintenance issues with heating and air conditioning systems.
Mold will grow in places with a lot of moisture, (e.g. around leaks in roofs, windows, pipes, or where there has been flooding) and grows well on virtually any organic material as long as moisture and oxygen are present. So mold can grow on paper products, cardboard, ceiling tiles, wood products can also grow in dust, paints, wallpaper, insulation, drywall, carpet, fabric, and upholstery.
Exposure to damp and moldy environments can be harmful to our health due to production of toxic byproducts by toxigenic molds. These toxic byproducts include spores (fragments from mold colonies), mycotoxins (metabolic byproducts of mold – think ‘mold farts’), and volatile organic compounds (harmful gases released by mold giving its musty smell).
Symptoms of mold/mycotoxin illness (from exposure) can vary from person to person, including but not limited to:
- Allergies (including coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, irritated throat, sinus issues, etc)
- Heightened sensitivity to foods and chemicals
- Urinary changes, frequent urination
- Weight gain or Weight loss
- Digestive Issues (abdominal pain, bloating, changes in bowel habits, etc)
- Joint pain
- Brain fog
- Lethargy and chronic fatigue
- Headaches or migraines
- Lowered immune function
- Rashes or itchy skin
- Mood Swings (including anxiety, depression, panic, irritability, etc)
- Extreme cases have been linked to cancer, Parkinson’s and dementia
- Static Shocks or metallic taste in mouth
- Poor memory or difficulty concentrating
- Vision changes
- Eye irritation or tearing of the eyes
If you suspect that you have been or are being affected by mold, here are some steps that you can take:
*Control moisture: reduce indoor moisture and humidity by increasing ventilation, using air conditioner, using exhaust fans, using de-humidifiers, using air filters, etc.
*Have your home properly inspected and tested: have a professional assessment of your home by a local inspector (www.puremaintenance.com is a great mold-related resource if you’re local to Jacksonville, FL.)
*Get testing for yourself: contact Balanced Healing today! We are the premier mold and mycotoxin clinic in NE Florida. We can help you learn more about some of the test we use to help determine if you are dealing with mold toxicity and how to address it.
Elena Alisma, ND