Toxic mold illness (mycotoxicosis) is often times misdiagnosed as Fibromyalgia, Lyme’s Disease, Lupus, MS, CFS, Colds, Flu, even Cancer. Toxic mold illness can happen when you live in or spend time in an environment, which is contaminated with mold. It happens in buildings where water damage has occurred and has not dried properly.
Drywall, once infested with mold has to be taken out and replaced. It should be done professionally by a company that does mold remediation so as not to spread the spores or to breathe it in directly.
The problem is that often you may not realize you even have this issue in your home or place of work. Black mold often doesn’t outwardly show and often doesn’t really smell moldy unless you are close up to the source itself.
It may lurk behind tile, under corners of rugs or carpeting, ceiling tiles, furniture, ductwork, roofing, paneling, wallpaper, and the areas around plumbing pipes in back walls of closets where you often don’t look and the lighting is shadowed. Basements are also a hot spot for mold growth as they aren’t generally air conditioned or regulated by heat and moisture can infiltrate boxes stored, going unnoticed for long lengths of time.
Though it occurs mostly in humid environments it can grow in virtually any home in any state.
How would you know if you had mold in your house?
Well of course visual inspection – looking in air vents, popping a tile off in the shower… But your body will also begin to tell you. You may start feeling generally badly, getting chronically sick, having lower and lower energy levels, having issues with sinus infections coming and going.
Molds produce irritating substances that can act as allergens. Some kinds of mold produce toxic substances known as mycotoxins, though mold itself is not poisonous or toxic.
“Stages of Mycotoxicosis: For Inhalation of Mycotoxin (produced from mold)”
- burning sensation in the mouth, tongue, throat, palate, esophagus, and stomach
- burning within the eyes, ears and nose
- tongue feels swollen and stiff
- vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain
- Excessive salivation
- fever and sweating
- mental depression
- loss of short-term memory
- loss of problem-solving ability
- various neuropsychiatric manifestations
- meningism – the triad of nuchal rigidity (neck stiffness), photophobia (intolerance of bright light) and headache.
- severe malaise and fatigue
- loss of temperature control
- hyperesthesia or numbness of body areas
- cerebellar dysfunction including hypotonia, attitude and gait, dysmetria, asthenia, vertigo, disturbances of speech, and loss of balance
- visual disturbances, floating objects, light sensitive, lack of tears, burning and itching
- Ears: burning, itching, and loss of hearing
- Immune and hematopoietic: progressive loss of white and red cells including a decrease of platelets and hemoglobin, and high susceptibility to bacterial, mycotic and viral infections, debilitating chemical and allergies
- Gastrointestinal: metallic taste in mouth, tooth loss, gum problems, stomatitis, sores in gums and throat, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or constipation, excessive flatulence, abdominal distention, hepatitis, pancreatitis, and diabetes mellitus
- Respiratory : burning and bleeding from nasal membranes, respiratory difficulty, asthma, extreme susceptibility to cold, flu and pneumonia
- Skin: thinning of hair on head, burning on face, rashes, irritation, and edema
- Renal: proteinuria, possible hematuria
- Reproductive: irregular ovarian cycles, increased menstrual flow, fibroid growths in uterus, cystic development inmammary glands, and tumors of mammary and prostate glands
- Musculoskeletal : somatitis, muscle weakness, spasms, cramps, joint pain, enlargement of joints in hand, and clubbing of fingers.
- Cardiovascular: chest pain, palpitations, ruptures of atrial walls, myocardial infection and aneurysm of arteries
- The skin and mucous membranes may be icteric, pupils dilated, the pulse soft and labile, and blood pressure may decrease or increase
- Visible bruises may appear on the skin
- Thoughts of suicide may be prominent
- Degeneration and hemorrhages of the vessels marks the transition from the second to the third Stage of the disease and may not be consistently observed.
- The degeneration of the vital organs including serious respiratory insufficiency or asthma and CNS degeneration will take the patient into Stage three along with development of necrotic angina.
- The transition from the second to the third Stage is sudden.
- resistance is already low, and violent severe symptoms are present, especially under the influence of stress, or associated with physical exertion and fatigue
- lung, brain or heart failure (heart attack), with or without the appearance of petechial hemorrhage on the skin of the trunk, the axillary and inguinal areas, the lateral surfaces of the arms and thighs, the face and head, and in serious Cases, the chest
- Aneurysms of the brain or aorta may be observed by angiography
- Hemorrhages may also be found on the mucous membranes of the mouth and tongue, and on the soft palate and tonsils
- severe interstitial thickening or scarring of the lungs, or respiratory failure
- Nasal, gastric and intestinal hemorrhages and hemorrhagic diathesis may occur.
- Severe degeneration of the skin on the face, eyelids, and loss of lashes is also often present
- difficulty and pain on swallowing
- Necrotic lesions may extend to the uvula, gums, buccal mucosa, larynx, vocal cords, lungs, stomach, and intestines and other internal organs such as the liver and kidneys and are usually contaminated with a variety of avirulent bacteria
- Bacteria infection causes an unpleasant odor from the mouth due to the enzymatic activity of bacteria on proteins
- Regional lymph nodes are frequently enlarged
- Esophageal lesions may occur and involvement of the epiglottis may cause laryngeal edema andaphonia (loss of voice). Death may occur by strangulation
- Bronchopneumonia, pulmonary hemorrhages, and lung abscesses are frequent complications
- Tumors may develop of various organs, including skin, urinary bladder, brain, mammary gland, bone, immune, liver, prostate, possibly resulting in death.
- The most commoncause of death is brain failure due to both direct effects of the mycotoxin on the central nervous system and indirect effects due to respiratory failure or lack of oxygen to the brain caused by the severe caustic inflammation (fibrinous exudation) reaction with the lung tissue, rendering it non-functional.
- The course and duration of this Stage 3 depends on the intensity of the poisoning and complete removal of the patient from the premises or source of mycotoxin. Therefore, the duration of the recovery period is variable. There is considerable cellular necrosis and scarring to all major organs of the body in which cells will not regenerate, including the brain, spinal cord, eyes, lung, heart, liver, pancreas, kidney, adrenal, and blood vessels. If the disease is diagnosed during the first Stage, hospitalization is usually unnecessary, but allergies and asthma should be monitored closely. If the disease is diagnosed during the second Stage and even at the transition from the second to third Stages, early hospitalization may preserve the patient’s life. If however, the disease is only detected during the third Stage, death cannot be prevented in most Cases.
*Toxic mold can make pets sick as well as humans.
*The above is a list of the symptoms described in the paper “Stages of Mycotoxicosis: For Inhalation of Mycotoxin” By Dr. William Croft.
Even in some non-allergic individuals, mold can irritate the eyes, skin, and airways. It can sometimes be mistaken for chronic seasonal allergies.
Sometimes, people may develop severe reactions to mold exposure. Symptoms of severe reactions, which are uncommon, include fever and difficulty breathing. People with compromised immune systems or people with chronic lung illnesses, such as obstructive lung disease, may develop mold infections in their lungs.
The medical community has downplayed the issues associated with mold for years now often making patients feel as if these symptoms could be all in their head, even attempting to medicate mental illness, when the fact is that the sickness is very physical and very real. It can be debilitating and become life threatening if not diagnosed and treated.
How can people decrease mold exposure?
Sensitive individuals should avoid areas that are likely to have mold, such as compost piles, cut grass, and wooded areas. Inside homes, mold growth can be slowed by controlling humidity levels and ventilating showers and cooking areas. If there is mold growth in your home, you should clean up the mold and fix the water problem.
Mold growth can be removed from hard surfaces with soap and water, Apple Cider Vinegar or Regular Vinegar, Baking Soda, Borax, Tea Tree Oil, even Ammonia…. please do not use bleach. It only bleaches the mold so it can’t be seen. It does nothing to ‘kill’ or neutralize the mold/spores which then end up being spread into the air during cleaning.
1. Open windows and doors to provide fresh air.
2. Wear non-porous gloves and protective eyewear.
3. If the area to be cleaned is more than 10 square feet, consult the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guide titled Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings. You can get it by going to the EPA web site at http://www.epa.gov/mold/mold_remediation.html
1. Keep humidity levels as low as you can—no higher than 50%. Use an air conditioner or a dehumidifier during humid months.
2. Be sure the home has adequate ventilation, including exhaust fans.
3. Add mold inhibitors to paints before application.
4. Clean bathrooms with mold killing products.
5. Do not carpet bathrooms and basements.
6. Remove or replace previously soaked carpets and upholstery.
What do you do if you already have been exposed to mold and are sick?
1st and foremost – eradicate the source. Get rid of the mold and if that is not possible. Move. Continual exposure will make you sicker over time.
Medical doctors will most likely recommend antibiotics, nasal steroid inhalers, cortisone, anti fungal drugs and even antidepressants. There are inherent problems with each of these.
Antibiotics work on bacteria – Not fungus.
Nasal Steroid & cortisone inhalers – It may decrease inflammation making you feel temporarily better but they also suppress the immune system. When your immunity is down it actually increases the fungal growth.
Anti-Fungal Drugs – highly toxic and possibly damaging to your liver.
Anti-Depressants – Many anti-depressants have a wide range of side effects which can add to the problems.
A better suggestion:
Change your diet and starve the mold out.
Cut out foods that feed fungal growth—sugars and grains
They need sugar in order to survive.
Also remove Milk, Fruits, Alcohol, Rye, Peanuts, cottonseed oil, Corn, Barley, Sorghum, hard cheeses as these may reintroduce molds into the body unwittingly.
The closer you stick to a basic diet of fresh organic vegetables, lean organic meats, and fresh, pure water while recovering, the less risk you’ll have of additional mold exposure and reactions.
Additional to do’s:
Add in fresh juice to your daily diet. Juicing helps alkalize your body, and for the most part, fungi can’t grow in an alkaline environment.
Garlic – is a potent antifungal, antibacterial, antiviral, immune system stimulant, and detoxification agent..
Ginger – is also an antifungal and antibacterial. It helps dislodge congestion in your respiratory tract, and is also a great digestive aid.
Cayenne – is a catalyst for the other herbs.
Goldenseal, with its active ingredient berberine, has antibacterial and immune-enhancing properties.
Glutathione maximizes the activity of all the other antioxidants. The best way to increase your glutathione level is by consuming a high quality whey protein. It should be cold pressed, undenatured, derived from grass-fed cows, and free of hormones, chemicals and sugar.
Omega-3 fats are also very important, from a mixture of plant and animal sources. The best source of animal-based omega-3s comes from krill oil.
Artichoke leaf extract: is toxic to many types of fungi, including both molds and yeasts.
Research suggests vitamin D may prevent mold allergies
Air purification: To ensure you are breathing the cleanest air possible
Provocation neutralization: This is a little-known treatment strategy that Dr. Doris Rapp describes as “one of the best hidden secrets.” Provocation neutralization (PN) offers allergy sufferers permanent relief with virtually no side effects, whether the allergy is to mold or something else. The success rate for this approach is about 80 to 90 percent for allergies, and you can receive the treatment at home. It is certainly worth a try if your sensitivity is related to mold.
Provocation refers to “provoking a change” and neutralization refers to “neutralizing the reaction caused by provocation.” During provocation neutralization, a small amount of allergen is injected under your skin to produce a small bump called a “wheal” and then monitored for a reaction. If you have a positive reaction, such as fatigue or headache, or a growth in the size of the wheal, then the allergen is neutralized with diluted injections (drops that go in your mouth) of the same allergen.
Is the damage permanent?
Once a person is no longer around toxic black mold their symptoms should gradually lessen. Some of the health problems caused by toxic black mold can be permanent. A person has lived with toxic black mold their immune system won’t be as strong as it used to be and they’ll be more sensitive to mold and mycotoxins in the future. The longer you are exposed, the greater the chance of more serious damage…
If you have unexplainable symptoms and suspect a mold problem please look into it and get it taken care of right away.
A wonderful reference I came across for all kinds of information – Please visit:
http://gsgrl2000.wordpress.com/ “Mold can make you sick!”
For amazingly helpful additional information, thanks to Patricia Lawson – Research Coordinator with the National Contractors Association of America – please visit:
Mold: Signs, Types of Mold, Clean-up, Effects on Health, Toxins, Mold Prevention and more
In addition you can find more info on the topic below:
Mold and Moisture in Homes – Minnesota Department of Health
Mold: Standards, Hazard Recognition, Detection Methods, Control and Clean-up – U.S. Department of Labor
Molds and Your Home: What You Need to Know – New York State Department of Labor