Some types of mold are toxigenic and are commonly found in a damp and moist environment. You can inhale or ingest mold spores accidentally when they are lingering around the air in your home. Mold takes a short time to grow and can mutate rapidly as long as there are favorable conditions for growth. It may enter your house through open doorways, air conditioning systems, heating, and ventilation. Since they are microscopic, it is quite difficult to notice the effect of mold spores until you see visible mold or start suffering from its effects. This article looks at some of the health issues linked to mold.
- Respiratory Infections
Mold causes allergic reactions, which may affect the upper respiratory system. This usually happens when you accidentally inhale mold spores that float around in the air. Allergic reactions caused by mold along the respiratory tract include sneezing, runny nose, persistent cough, and throat irritation. Individuals that already suffer from allergies or have a compromised immune system are at high risk of developing health complications. The symptoms of mold allergy may vary from one person to another and may range from mild to severe. Symptoms that flare up only when you are in the house but improve when you are away from home indicate the presence of mold.
- Skin Infections
Mold produces toxins, allergens, and irritants, which may cause adverse reactions when they encounter your skin. The level of severity may vary depending on how long you are exposed to mold. Long-term mold exposure can cause scaling skin or rashes that may take a brown or pink appearance. Mold-induced skin rashes can go and come back periodically depending on your frequency of exposure. Systemic infections may be a significant threat for people with a suppressed immune system. The best way to reduce skin irritation is to improve the air quality in your home by addressing the source of your mold problem.
- Intensification of Asthma
Mold spores are often quite small but can have a massive impact on your asthma symptoms. Common signs of asthmatic attacks include difficulties in breathing and other respiratory problems. Long-term mold exposure can act as a trigger for people with asthma and may worsen their symptoms because of high sensitivity to mold. Individuals who are at high risk include infants and children, the elderly, people with a weakened immune system and those with pre-existing skin conditions such as eczema.
Aspergillosis is an allergic reaction caused by different kinds of mold. It is caused by a type of mold known as Aspergillus fumigatus and affects people who have a weakened immune system or those with chronic lung problems. Other individuals who are at high risk of developing Aspergillosis include patients who have had organ transplants or those taking chemotherapy. Mold can start to grow inside your lung cavities forming a lump that combines with blood clots and white blood cells. The ball of fungus or lump created by mold is known as mycetoma or aspergilloma and may be present in other organs of the body. Invasive Aspergillosis is the most severe type where the infection shifts from the lungs to the bloodstream. This may affect other major organs such as the brain, kidney, or liver.
- Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis
Hypersensitivity pneumonitis is a rare condition that usually comes about because of long-term exposure to mold spores causing inflammation of the lungs. The initial symptoms of hypersensitivity pneumonitis are very similar to flu but may develop after several months of mold exposure. The symptoms usually vary in intensity and can range from mild to severe health complications. However, hypersensitivity pneumonitis is reversible during its early stages and the best way to avoid worsening your situation is by limiting your exposure to mold. If you do not receive early treatment, it can cause lung scarring and other lung problems. The tiny air sacs inside your lungs become inflamed and may fill with fluid. Lung scarring may lead to other health complications such as breathing difficulties due to blockages in the air sacs.
Every person responds differently to mold and there is no level of mold that is considered safe. People with asthma or compromised immune systems are more predisposed to mold symptoms, which may worsen because of long-term exposure. The best way to avoid health issues linked to mold involves taking necessary measures to prevent mold growth. It is also important to go for medical checkups if you start experiencing any allergic symptoms since some mold-related illnesses are only reversible with early treatment.