While some of us might know what causes mold to grow and what it can do to our bodies and buildings, we’re not exactly familiar with the different species of mold that exist in the world. Not all mold species grow effectively indoors, but aspergillus is a genus of mold that does quite well in that area. Depending on the species, some aspergillus molds can be harmful to human beings and some can cause any number of conditions that are collectively known as aspergillosis.
Aspergillosis is not a single disease, it is what many of the different diseases caused by infection of Aspergillus fungi are called.
Non-Invasive Aspergillus Infections:
- Fungal sinusitis
Invasive Aspergillosis Infections:
- Chronic Pulmonary Aspergillosis
- Allergic Bronchopulmonary Aspergillosis
- Acute Invasive Aspergillosis
In its allergic form, these symptoms can include coughing up blood or brown mucous, weight loss, shortness of breath, coughing, and fever, among others.
What Is The Cause of Aspergillosis?
Aspergilloma, which are fungus growths in the body that are caused by mold, are typically found growing in the lungs, but can also grow in other parts of the body. They are usually found growing in pre-existing cavities in the lungs or other organs, such as when a person has had lung cancer, tuberculosis, cystic fibrosis, or other infections that cause them. A lot of the time when a person actually has aspergilloma somewhere in their body, they have no symptoms.
What Are The Symptoms of Aspergillosis?
When symptoms do finally show up, they sometimes include coughing up blood, fever, weight loss, and shortness of breath. Wheezing can also be heard in some patients. Some tests that can be done to test for aspergilloma are a chest x-ray, a bronchoscopy, or a blood test that can be done to find antibodies to fight off aspergillus mold.
What Is Aspergillosis of the Lung?
Chronic pulmonary aspergillosis of the invasive type is known to occur in people who have weakened immune systems.
- Blood in the urine
- Chest Pain
- Shortness of Breath
Chest x-rays, skin tests, and blood counts are a few of the methods that can be used to test for it.
It causes some inflammation of the esophagus and the air sacs located within the lungs. Aspergillus mold is a common genus and so infections that are a direct result of touching it or inhaling it are possible, but rare. Some people are hypersensitive to the presence of aspergillus mold and have an allergic reaction and this may imitate such conditions as pneumonia or even asthma because a lot of the time patients that have allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis (ABPA) also have asthma.
How To Prevent Aspergillosis
It's believed that the concentration of the airborne spores of Aspergillus species molds is almost always higher indoors than it is outdoors. It occurs in almost all climates, so it's always going to be present in some capacity.
The best way to help prevent aspergillosis is to have any mold removed from your home as soon as you discover it. You can have your home tested for mold to determine if you have a problem that you cannot see directly or if your mold problem is obvious, samples can be taken to test what the species may be. What species of mold you have in your home can help determine whether you may need to see a doctor and a proper species identification can help your doctor give you the right treatment if he/she determines that you need one.
How To Cure Aspergillosis
The treatment for aspergillosis is typically voriconazole and liposomal amphotericin B. This is typically combined with surgical removal of unhealthy tissues. Steroids are also sometimes used in less aggressive cases. Other medications used are itraconazole, amphotericin B, caspofungin, and flucytosine.
What no longer works for most cases of aspergillosis is fluconazole, because the species that infects most frequently is resistant to it.
There is no known effective home remedy for aspergillosis and treating it yourself is not recommended in any way. Please see your doctor if you suspect you have aspergillosis in any capacity.