Mold and Health

Mold is an unwelcome occupant in every household. In the air we breathe, in our refrigerators, and in showers and basements, mold makes itself at home and we just clean up after it if it becomes an issue. It seems harmless enough, and mold often is just that - a minor inconvenience, a difficult pest. After all, mold is used in medicines and food making processes. It helps flavor delicious cheeses and expensive dry aged steaks and mold is used to fight all sorts of bacteria in the human body. However, in certain cases, mold is known to cause health issues, can further complicate ongoing concerns, and can even contribute to death.

When a concentration of mold spores (the airborne mold that allows reproduction) becomes extremely high it can impact many parts of the normal bodily function. Mold can have a negative effect on plenty of human systems. It can trigger asthma attacks and allergic reactions, disturb normal nose, eye and throat functions, and raise the level of susceptibility to a myriad of harmful illnesses.

In addition to the impacts on healthy individuals, mold can cause any number of complications that add more difficulty to people recovering from or living with an illness. The weakened immune systems that these people possess allow mold to grow on living tissue. These molds can grow in sinuses, the digestive system, and sometimes on the skin or the lungs! When a person has a weakened immune system, from current illness or a long term condition like asthma, HIV, or AIDS, these molds can be life threatening. Fungal infections also come in a more common and irritating form. This other type of fungal infection is most often called athlete’s foot, and the burning and itching can afflict even the healthiest of people.

Mold can often be the cause of the sensitivity in the first place. Mold allergies do not always manifest in life threatening ways. They often cause runny noses and puffy, watery eyes. These allergies are pretty common and also fairly innocent, but can weaken the body and allow other bacteria to the chance to take root and multiply.

Mold also releases dangerous compounds called mycotoxins. These are naturally produced toxins that, in a high concentration, can endanger humans and animals. Prolonged, daily exposure is the most harmful and it is extremely rare for these toxins to be in a strong enough concentration to kill someone in a short amount of time. However, regular exposure can cause neurological issues and even death. These toxins are also linked to a disease called sick building syndrome. This is an ailment caused by spending a large amount of time in one space. This syndrome is understood to cause small health problems and issues that can all be linked to time spent within the same structure.

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