The destructive capabilities of mold are well known. Mold is a substance that is capable of causing significant damage to any home in which it is found. However, many people are unaware that mold also has a destructive effect on a person's health.
Mold can be found in numerous places in one's home. Mold is most commonly found in places in the home with active plumbing. These are the kitchen, laundry room, washing machine, and bathroom. Showers are a huge hotspot.
Mold requires both moisture and nutrients to grow, and whenever there is a leak or an overview, it creates the conditions necessary for mold to grow.
Mold spreads in the home by emitting microscopic spores into the air. When this happens, there is a major possibility that you or your loved ones can inhale the mold spores. This can cause severe respiratory illnesses along with other problems.
Symptoms of Mold Exposure
Mold exposure has many symptoms ranging from mild to severe if left untreated. The symptoms are usually along these lines:
- Respiratory issues – Difficulty breathing, coughing, chest pain
- Allergic reactions and sinus issues
- Sore throat
- Other irritations – Irritated skin, rashes
What Causes A Sore Throat From Mold Exposure?
A sore throat from mold exposure is typically the result of the person with the sore throat having a prior, potentially unknown, allergy to mold. Mycotoxins in the mold trigger the immune system response in the mold-allergic person.
Mold travels by emitting spores, often inhaled by those unaware of what they are breathing. This is how mold makes its way into someone’s system, to begin with.
What Else Causes a Sore Throat?
Numerous other things can cause sore throats. Most commonly, sore throats can be caused by viruses or bacteria. These are different from the sore throat caused by mold exposure because mold is neither a virus nor a bacteria; it is a fungus.
This means that the treatment you would use for a sore throat caused by a virus or bacteria may not necessarily work because they do not address the same cause.
Who Is At Risk for Mold-Related Sore Throat?
Let's be clear: Mold spores are always in the air, and we all breathe them in and have no issues until we hit a certain concentration of mold spores in the air. This is why mold in the home devastates people's and pets' health. It's growing, enclosed, and has optimum circumstances for proliferation, it increases the parts per million drastically. In most cases, it “sneaks up” on you. Could mold cause random cases of diarrhea or headaches? Absolutely! Could it cause neurological issues in people more susceptible? Yes, it can. It can be a trigger for mild to severe sinus infections.
This is not normally a huge threat to the average American, but to the ones it does affect with less mold than average, it can be life-changing, but not for the better.
Those who are most at risk for mold-related sore throats are individuals with mold allergies, compromised immune systems, children, and the elderly.
How to Diagnose the Cause of a Sore Throat
It is not too difficult to tell whether or not you have a sore throat. However, should your sore throat become chronic or unresponsive to normal sore throat treatments or medications, it would be wise to speak with your doctor to determine a cause.
If normal medications are not treating sore throat issues, then it is entirely possible that the sore throat was brought upon by mold exposure.
How to Treat a Mold-Related Sore Throat
If you suspect that your sore throat was caused by mold exposure, you should first speak with your doctor to confirm or deny your suspicion. Suppose your sore throat was brought on by mold exposure. In that case, your doctor will likely recommend antifungal medications specifically to combat illnesses brought on by mold exposure.
It needs to be said that certain over-the-counter medications can help to alleviate symptoms temporarily. Home remedies, such as warm water mixed with honey, can help soothe your throat, even if temporarily.
How to Prevent a Mold-Related Sore Throat
To begin with, it is difficult to prevent a mold-related sore throat if you are in an area that you are unaware has mold. However, if you are entering an area or environment that you know has mold growth, there are things you can do to protect yourself. First of all, you need to wear some form of facial covering.
Preventing mold growth in your home in the first place is your best defense against mold-related illnesses. The best way to prevent growth in the home is to fix water leaks, no matter how small, use dehumidifiers when humidity is high, inspect your roof and attic for any potential leaks, and to remove any mold that may be in your home.
Having a mold-related illness is not something that a person plans. However, by utilizing the proper protections, forward-thinking, and scientific knowledge, you can give yourself a better fighting chance if you develop such an illness.