Has your nose been stuffy for a long time and nothing seems to help? It may be the result of mold in your home, but can mold cause sinus infections? It can cause significant damage to your home and even lead to serious health problems, including sinus infections. But what exactly is mold? Can it really cause sinus infections? And how do you prevent mold growth in the first place?
In this blog post, we will explore these questions and discuss professional services for removing and preventing mold growth in your home so you don’t have to worry about whether or not mold causes sinus infections again.
What is Mold?
Mold is a type of fungus that can be found both indoors and outdoors. It grows in damp, warm environments, such as bathrooms or basements, and reproduces by releasing spores. These spores are invisible to the naked eye but can cause serious health problems if inhaled. While spores are always in the air we breathe, it's a matter of the concentration of mold spores in the air that matters.
This is what makes moldy homes such a dangerous place to live. The concentration levels could be several orders above safe limits in a home infested with hidden mold. Not a great situation to be in.
Can Mold Cause Sinus Infections?
It can cause serious health problems, including sinus infections. Mold exposure has been linked to an increased risk of sinusitis, inflammation or infection of the nasal passages and sinuses. Specifically, it can cause fungal sinusitis; unlike bacterial sinusitis, antibiotics do not work on it.
What is Fungal Sinusitis?
Fungal sinusitis (also called fungal rhinosinusitis) is a sinus infection caused by a fungus. You can have a fungal sinus infection for a long time and not realize it's different from a regular bacterial sinus infection because the symptoms are the same.
You're not likely to get a fungal sinus infection unless you have an immune deficiency or a condition that causes your immune system to be weakened, such as diabetes, HIV, cancer, etc.
Fungal sinusitis can be more dangerous than bacterial sinusitis because it can not only destroy the lining of your sinuses, but can also spread to the brain and lead to death.
Types of Fungal Sinusitis
There are 3 basic types of noninvasive fungal sinusitis and 3 types of invasive fungal sinusitis.
We'll cover the noninvasive types first here:
- Mycetoma (fungal balls): a ball of fungus forms in the sinuses and grows into a ball. As it gets bigger, it can block your sinuses and cause breathing issues. Surgery may be required to remove it.
- Allergic fungal rhinosinusitis: the result of an allergic reaction to fungus and its spores inside the nose and sinuses. You're most likely to develop this if you have asthma or existing allergies.
- Saprophytic fungal sinusitis: This infection isn't as serious because it only grows on the mucus in your nose. When the mucus and its hard crusty layer on top are removed, the infection is also removed.
Invasive fungal sinusitis infections can be life threatening if it isn't treated promptly. They are aggressive and can move from your sinuses and into your brain.
Here are the 3 types of invasive fungal sinusitis:
- Chronic invasive rhinosinusitis: This is can be associated with intranasal drug use, diabetes, and other health conditions that compromise the immune system. It progresses slowly, but can cause nasal tissue death and the need for surgery and long term antifungal therapy.
- Granulomatous invasive fungal sinusitis occurs when your body recognizes the fungus inside it and launches an immune response that results in granulomas. it is rare and not typically seen in the United States. Surgery to remove the granulomas is often necessary because it can destroy the nasal cavity and spread to the brain.
- Acute fulminant invasive rhinosinusitis: This is most common in people with a compromised immune system due to cancer, chemotherapy, etc. Because the sinuses are close to the eyes and brain, it can spread quickly to both and cause the patient to go blind and die.
Symptoms of a Sinus Infection Caused by Mold
Mild symptoms associated with fungal sinus infections include:
- Facial pain or pressure
- Sore throat
Serious symptoms include:
- Decreased sense of smell
- Change in behavior
- Numbness of the face
- Changes in vision
- Swelling in cheeks or behind the eyes
- Protruding eyeballs
You should see your doctor if you have any combination of the mild and serious symptoms listed above. Invasive fungal sinusitis can be life-threatening and should be treated as soon as possible. A specialist called an ENT (Ear Nose Throat) doctor is the best to see concerning this type of issue.
If your doctor prescribes you antibiotics for a sinus infection that doesn't improve (or worsens), your infection may be fungal.
How to Diagnose a Sinus Infection Caused by Mold
Only your doctor can diagnose a fungal sinus infection. If you suspect a sinus infection caused by mold, you should see your doctor.
A doctor will take a mucus sample from your nose and send it to a laboratory. There, it will be examined for evidence of mold and other fungi. From there, your doctor may order a CT scan, MRI, or x-ray to determine how invasive the infection is.
How to Prevent Mold Growth in Your Home
If you want to avoid the health problems that can come from mold growth, then prevention is the game's name. To prevent mold from growing in your home, it’s important to understand the conditions that lead to its growth and take steps to control them.
Controlling Humidity Levels in Your Home
Mold thrives in humid environments, so controlling humidity levels is key for preventing mold growth. The ideal relative humidity level should be between 30-50%. You can monitor this with a hygrometer or use dehumidifiers or air conditioners to keep humidity levels low.
Proper Ventilation and Air Circulation in Your Home
Poor ventilation and lack of air circulation create an environment where moisture builds up easily, which leads to mold growth. Ensure you have adequate ventilation throughout your home by opening windows when possible, using exhaust fans while cooking or showering, and running ceiling fans during hot summer when the air is more likely to become stagnant indoors.
Mold is a type of fungus that can cause serious health problems if it grows in your home. It’s important to understand the types of mold, where it grows, and how to prevent its growth. Mold can also cause sinus infections with symptoms such as headaches, congestion, and fatigue.
If you suspect you have a sinus infection caused by mold exposure, seek medical attention right away.
To help prevent mold growth in your home, ensure humidity levels are controlled and proper ventilation is maintained throughout the house. Regular cleaning and maintenance should also be done regularly.
Lastly, professional services for water damage restoration and mold remediation may be necessary depending on the severity of the problem.
FAQs in Relation to Can Mold Cause Sinus Infections
Can mold in your house cause sinus infections?
Yes, mold in your house can cause sinus infections. Mold spores are microscopic and can easily be inhaled into the nasal passages. These spores can irritate the nose and throat lining, leading to inflammation and infection. Additionally, some molds produce toxins that may further aggravate symptoms such as coughing or sneezing.
It is important to prevent or remove mold growth from your home if you have recently experienced water damage or black mold growth to protect yourself from potential health risks associated with exposure.
How do you know if mold is making you sick?
Mold can cause various health issues, including allergies, asthma attacks, respiratory infections, and skin irritation. Symptoms vary depending on the type of mold present and the individual's sensitivity to it. Common symptoms include coughing, sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, or irritated throat.
If you experience any of these symptoms after coming into contact with mold in your home or workplace and they do not subside within a day or two, you should see your doctor.
If you notice an unusual musty smell in your home or see visible signs of black mold growth on walls or other surfaces, this could be a sign that there is a problem that needs to be addressed by professionals trained in water damage restoration and mold remediation services.
How long does a mold sinus infection last?
Mold sinus infections can last anywhere from a few days to years, depending on the severity of the infection. Generally speaking, milder cases may resolve within a few days with proper treatment. More severe cases may require more intensive treatments and take longer to heal.
In fact, you may not realize you have a fungal sinus infection for years. It is important to seek medical attention if you experience any serious symptoms of a mold sinus infection, such as facial numbness, nasal congestion, postnasal drip, fever, headache, or fatigue.
With prompt diagnosis and appropriate treatment, your mold sinus infection should be resolved in no time. If you wait too long, surgery may be necessary.
How do you treat a moldy sinus infection?
Moldy sinus infections can be treated with a combination of antifungal medications and nasal irrigation. Antifungal medications, such as nystatin or clotrimazole, are taken orally to reduce the amount of fungus in the body, but only your doctor can determine what antifungal medication your specific infection needs.
Nasal irrigation is also used for flushing out any remaining fungal particles from the nose and sinuses.
Maintaining good hygiene practices can help prevent further infection. This includes washing hands regularly, avoiding contact with people with colds or other respiratory illnesses, and avoiding exposure to mold spores in damp environments.
With proper treatment and prevention methods, it is possible to manage a moldy sinus infection successfully.
Damage Control 911 is a water damage restoration and mold remediation contractor in Orlando, Florida. We understand that mold can cause various health issues, including sinus infections. If you or someone you know has suffered from sinus infection from exposure to toxic black molds, we urge you to contact us today for an inspection and assessment. Our team will work with your insurance provider if needed, so don’t hesitate – Damage Control 911 helps restore your home back to its original condition quickly and safely!