Have you been feeling under the weather, not quite your best, for what seems like too long? Well it might not be a cold, stress, allergies or any of the common culprits that are blamed; you may actually be suffering from exposure to mold. Mold can be anywhere and everywhere, in places we assume (near the shower, maybe under the sink), or places we totally forget about. Either way, if left unchecked, mold can cause some serious side effects and leave you feeling seriously ill.
Read on to find out if this menace is to be blamed for your frequent headaches, fatigue, runny nose, and more, as well as what you can do about it.
Mold grows in areas that are moist, warm, and damp and is found in places such as your showerhead, around your toilet and sinks, and even in your air conditioning system. Even if you are very careful to keep an eye out for mold in your home, it is likely that you may be exposed to it in public or in your workplace. When mold is allowed to grow, it releases spores into the air, which are then inhaled by humans.
So the majority of humans inhale (or even ingest) it, what’s the big deal? Prolonged or excessive exposure to mold can result in Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS). Certain people (about 95% of the population) actually have a gene that that makes them more susceptible to CIRS and to experiencing more serious side effects. Even if you are one of the lucky few whose genes do not make you more susceptible to mold illness, you are still at risk.
Mold Illness is a serious and common problem that completely disrupts the immune system and leads to chronic inflammation. This is something that will not simply heal on its own, especially if your DNA is hardwired to result in a case of CIRS, and the symptoms can continue for years if not treated.
So how can you identify illness that is caused by exposure to mold? Some of the most common symptoms include:
- Memory problems (brain fog, difficulty focusing)
- Fatigue and weakness
- Muscle cramping
- Aches and pains
- Joint pain or nerve pain
- Numbness and tingling
- Frequent headaches
- Blurred vision and/or sensitivity to light
- Red eyes
- Sinus problems (similar to symptoms of asthma)
- Abdominal pain or discomfort and change in appetite
- Metallic taste in mouth
- Unexplained weight gain or weight loss
- Night sweats
- Excessive thirst
- Increased urination
- Shortness of breath
Clearly, it is easy to write off this illness as a hundred other things, but it is extremely important that you take the necessary precautions if there is any possibility that you may be suffering from it.
Below is a checklist from www.ehcd.com that might indicate mold sensitivity or exposure:
- Do musty odors bother you?
- Have you worked or lived in a building where the air vents or ceiling tiles were discolored?
- Has your home been flooded?
- Have you had leaks in the roof?
- Are you fatigued and have a skin rashes?
- Do you experience recurring sinus infections?
- Do you experience unusual shortness of breath?
- Do you experience recurring respiratory infections and coughing?
- Do your symptoms worsen on rainy days?
- Do you have frequent flu-like symptoms?
- Do you have frequent headaches?
- Have you noticed water damage or discoloration elsewhere?
If you believe you are suffering from mold illness, there are some simple yet important steps to follow. First, learn everything you can about mold illness—Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker has an excellent website on how to survive mold. Next, test your home for mold (it is safest and most effective to have a trained environmental professional perform the test), and remove yourself from the contaminated environment. Also, stay away from contaminated materials such as clothing and paper from the moldy environment.
The last thing you need to do is to work with your herbalist or clinician to reverse the damage the mold has caused to your immune system; again Dr. Shoemaker’s website has great advice for this step. The Protocol has been used for years to help individuals identify and treat mold illness.