Treating Mold Exposure: What To Do And Why


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If you've ever been in an old basement or a damp, dirty bathroom, you probably know what mold smells like. But did you know that exposure to mold in high concentrations or chronically can cause health problems? In this article, we're going to go over what can happen when do not actively pursue help for your mold exposure treatment.

Mold Exposure and Its Potential Health Risks

Mold exposure is exactly what its name implies. It is the level to which a person has been exposed to mold. Mold exposure typically happens in a person's home, or it can happen in the workplace. Anywhere in which mold has the chance can grow can be a place where a person can get mold exposure.

Most molds are not typically dangerous for humans. However, molds such as black mold or Aspergillus can be quite harmful to a person to be exposed to. Mold is unique because it is not a bacteria, but a fungus. Fungi spread by emitting microscopic spores into the atmosphere. When that happens, you may accidentally inhale some of the spores, and this can lead to all sorts of respiratory (and other) illness symptoms such as:

  • Stuffy nose
  • Itchiness
  • Dry eyes
  • Skin irritation
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing

These are relatively mild symptoms to deal with, but that does not mean that prolonged mold exposures are something to be played around.

Importance of Seeking Treatment

As stated, mold exposure may start with mild symptoms, but those symptoms can get out of control quickly. The worst part is that seeking out typical medicines will only momentarily treat symptoms. The fact that mold is a fungus and not a bacteria or virus means that specific, anti-fungal medication must be used in treatment to be completely safe.

Common Symptoms of Mold Exposure

Respiratory Issues

As inhaling mold spores is one of the most common ways of being exposed to mold it is only natural that the first thing that gets attacked is your respiratory system. This causes coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath.

Allergy-like Symptoms

One of the reasons mold-exposure illnesses go undetected for so long is that they can initially present themselves as no different from the symptoms of allergies. You can expect sneezing, runny nose, and itchy eyes to be part of your symptoms. Pair that with the prior-mentioned respiratory issues and you are in for a miserable experience.

Skin Irritation

Mold exposure does not only affect your respiratory system and sinuses. Mold spores come into contact with your skin, as well. When this happens, it is common for your skin to break out into rashes and hives. This can cause your skin to become itchy and irritable.

Other Potential Symptoms

Other symptoms, such as chest pains, fever, vomiting, diarrhea, and nausea, are possible mold-induced afflictions. You should keep track of every symptom you have so that when you speak with a doctor, you can present them with every symptom you are dealing with.

Mold exposure can cause diarrhea in adults and babies due to allergens, irritants, and mycotoxins. Parents should not dismiss mold as a potential cause, as infant diarrhea can lead to dehydration and complications. To prevent mold-related issues, maintain a clean, dry living space and consult a healthcare professional if problems persist.

Conventional Treatment Options

Medications for Allergies, Asthma, or Other Respiratory Issues

Because mold-induced illnesses tend to present themselves as respiratory or allergy-like afflictions, one of the ways that you can treat the symptoms is to utilize allergy medications. Nasal corticosteroids may also be a necessity. These medications can temporarily alleviate some of the symptoms. It needs to be said, however, that such measures will not necessarily rid you of the problem permanently.

Antifungal Medications to Treat Mold Infections

As previously mentioned, what sets mold exposure-based illnesses apart from others is that mold is a fungus rather than a bacteria or a virus. Not understanding that leads many people afflicted with mold-induced illness to seek antibiotics. Antibiotics cannot treat mold-induced illness because it is not from bacteria.

If you have a mold infection, your doctor will likely prescribe you anti-fungal medications. These medications will kill the mold in your system and treat the actual cause of the illness rather than the mere symptoms.

Immunotherapy or Allergy Shots

Immunotherapy can be effective in helping one recover from a fungal infection, but such measures are usually only effective in conjunction with, rather than apart from, fungal treatments. Allergy shots can be effective as well.

Alternative Treatment Options

Essential Oils For The Environment

Numerous options are available if you want a more natural way to treat mold exposure. Certain essential oils, such as tea tree oil, clove oil, and even lavender, can have strong anti-fungal properties and can be used in essential oil diffusers to kill mold in a space.  You can also use mixed essential oils to create an effective mold-killing cleaning spray if you so desire. There are also other products available to help control mold.

Alternative Natural Therapies

Believe it or not, there are other non-medication-based options that you can turn to to relieve yourself of mold exposure symptoms. One such alternative is acupuncture. Some will no doubt tell you they would rather stick with the effects of mold exposure than needles, but acupuncture has been shown to reduce inflammation in nasal airways.

Chiropractic care is also important as it can help open your airways and improve your breathing. These methods will not cure the infection, but they will help to alleviate the symptoms and make them more tolerable.

Nutritional Supplements

Other tools that can help to relieve symptoms are nutritional supplements. In addition to garlic, you can also use activated charcoal, chlorophyll, Vitamins A, B, and C, and Citrus all have nutritional properties that can help you to ease the discomfort of mold exposure symptoms. Just remember that they are not a cure.

Lifestyle Changes and Prevention Tips

Improving Air Quality

If you were to ask any wellness expert about the benefits of taking a few good, deep breaths, they would all tell you about the calming benefits. They will tell you how being able to take those breaths will help you recenter. However, that effect is lost on anyone who is breathing mold-exposed air.

To improve the air quality you breathe, you need to enlist the aid of proper ventilation and maybe even an air filtration system. Mold is not able to thrive in dry, properly ventilated areas. Investing in a good air purifying system is also a good idea. An air purifier can catch nasty particulates in your home's air, including mold spores.

Fixing Leaks and Water Damage Promptly

One of the most prominent causes of mold growth in a home or workplace is leaks and water damage. Mold growth is caused when mold has the right balance of moisture and nutrients to feed on. Inspect your home's plumbing to ensure that all pipes are properly tightened.

If there is water damage in your home, the affected area can be a veritable feeding ground for mold. You should speak with a water damage specialist in your area who can assess the damage and determine how best to get rid of it.

Keeping Indoor Humidity Levels Low

If you want to prevent indoor mold, lowering humidity levels in your home will get that job done. One of the ways to lower humidity in your home is to reduce the temperature. A more effective way to lower humidity levels is to use a dehumidifier. The Mayo Clinic says the best humidity levels lie between 30 and 50%.

Regularly Cleaning and Maintaining Indoor Spaces

The best way to prevent its growth is to be committed to performing regular maintenance on your home. Regular maintenance on your home will help you track what parts of your home need attention and what parts of your home are doing just fine. Regular cleaning will also help to curb any potential mold growth in your home.

Working with A Healthcare Professional

Importance of Seeking Medical Advice and Guidance

As useful as resources on the internet may be, you should never mistake them as being just as good and viable as the advice of a real medical expert. A doctor will be able to diagnose your condition properly.

Developing a Personalized Treatment Plan

Another benefit of seeking out a professional's opinion is their ability to develop a personalized treatment plan for you. By getting to know you as a patient and how you have responded to mold exposure, your doctor can devise a treatment plan that works for your lifestyle, body type, and current condition.

Monitoring Progress and Adjusting Treatment as Necessary

The job of a healthcare professional is not only to diagnose your ailment and give you treatment options but to track your progress. If a part of the treatment is not working, they will advise you on how best to proceed for maximum effectiveness.

Additional Resources and Support

National Organizations and Resources for Mold Exposure

When dealing with mold exposure and damage, getting the needed help can become difficult. Sometimes it can feel like you do not know where to start. Fortunately, numerous organizations can tell you everything you need to know about mold in your home or workplace and what mold is afflicting your area.

  • CDC
  • Center for Disease Control
  • FEMA
  • National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)
  • National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)

Online Support Groups and Forums

If you are currently dealing with mold exposure, then it is understandable that you will want the help of other people who have been through it. With a quick search online, you can find many groups and forums of people who have been through your current predicament. Other users can give you advice and relay their own experiences with mold exposure. A small warning, however: Do not misconstrue someone's anecdotal evidence as empirical evidence for what you should do regarding your medical treatment for mold exposure. Always consult your doctor when making any medical decisions.

Professional Services for Mold Remediation

If you want mold exposure-free, your home or business likely needs mold remediation. Find a business in your area that specializes in mold remediation. Talk to them about their rates, whether or not homeowners insurance covers the cost, and how long the process will take. Going through this process will ensure that your home is mold-free. You also need to know if they are licensed and insured by the State.

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