Is It Allergies or Is It Mold? Part 2

mold

While many of the symptoms of allergies and mold illness overlap, you can often tell the source of your symptoms by when they occur. Seasonal allergies usually happen between late February and early September. If you experience symptoms year-round, it may be due to mold exposure.

If you have symptoms after being outside, or when your windows are open, it’s likely caused by allergies, particularly pollen. On the other hand, symptoms experienced indoors with closed windows may indicate mold, especially in bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, or basements where mold tends to thrive.

Certain health effects are more likely due to prolonged mold exposure, rather than seasonal allergies:

  1. Chronic Sinus Problems: Mold could be to blame if you have a chronically stuffy irritated nose, or a perpetual series of sinus infections, especially if you don’t have any other symptoms.
  2. Nose Bleeds: Nose bleeds can be caused by something as simple as dryness in your home. However, they can also be a sign of mold exposure if they suddenly develop following a change in your environment.
  3. Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis: This condition is an immune disorder that inflames your lungs. It can be caused by breathing impurities, including mold.
  4. Mold-Induced Asthma: According to the Mayo Clinic, people with asthma can have a flareup if they breathe in airborne mold spores. Even if you don’t have asthma, airborne fungus can cause breathing problems.
  5. Skin Infections: A particular mold called Sporothrix schenckii can cause a skin infection called sporotrichosis by entering the body through a puncture wound. In some rare instances, cats can carry the fungus, and the spores could be inhaled.
  6. Neurological problems: Prolonged mold exposure can mimic symptoms of depression and anxiety, as well as other neurological diseases. Other symptoms include pain syndromes, movement disorders, delirium, dementia, and disorders of balance and coordination.
  7. Rashes: Exposure to black mold can show up as mild to moderate pink and brown skin rashes and other skin symptoms. The rash may come and go for no apparent reason.
  8. Aches and pains: Mold toxicity closely resembles pain from other conditions, including fibromyalgia, migraines, rheumatoid arthritis, celiac disease, and irritable bowel syndrome. It’s often overlooked as the culprit.
  9. Sore Throat: While allergies can give you a sore throat, a persistent and severe sore throat can be a sign of mold toxicity.

Some people are more susceptible to mold toxicity due to specific genetic variants. Variations in the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) genes are associated with Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS), impacting the body’s ability to recognize and eliminate biotoxins effectively.

Test Yourself

If you think you may be suffering from mold illness, test yourself and your home. Different physical assessments and skin tests can discover allergic reactions. Blood tests, such as the radioallergosorbent test (RAST) and Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA), delve deeper, checking your immune system’s response to mold by measuring specific antibodies like immunoglobulin E (IgE).

Test Your Home

Call a professional and test your home for mold. Inspections should include a visual assessment, a top to bottom infra-red camera inspection, moisture meter readings and air, tape, or bulk sampling. Ask for all the laboratory reports and an interpretation of the results. Most proper inspections will take at least two hours to perform.