Person With Mold Sickness

What Are the Symptoms of Mold Sickness?

Mold is a microscopic fungus that grows everywhere, both outside and within indoor environments. It loves moisture and will thrive in damp, poorly ventilated areas.

The fungus spreads by releasing spores, and when people inhale these spores, then they can become sick. Low levels are not usually harmful, but a higher and more prolonged exposure can trigger a reaction in some people.

Anyone can develop mold sickness, but you are more prone if you are allergic or have certain pre-existing health conditions or illnesses.

If you’ve been experiencing flu-like symptoms or allergic reactions but don’t know the cause, it could be mold. Learn what the symptoms of mold sickness are and what you can do to eliminate it in your home.

How Quickly Can Exposure to Mold Make You Sick?

Mold sickness won’t kill you, but it can make you pretty ill. Certain groups of people are more vulnerable, not just those with asthma or allergies.

How quickly you get sick depends on your environment and overall health. Everyone reacts differently to mold exposure; your personal sensitivity will dictate how quickly you get sick.

If you have a mold allergy, your immune system will respond to the spores as invaders or allergens. An estimated 5% of Americans have an allergy to mold.

When you inhale the spores, your body will react with a typical allergy response. Common reactions include sneezing or nasal congestion.

This response can be almost immediate or can take several days. It’s individual to the person.

Some people who don’t have an allergy will still respond; others will not. Your response is like your fingerprint—unique to you.

Unsurprisingly, the size of the infestation is also relevant to how quickly it takes symptoms to appear. The more mold there is, the more likely you are to develop symptoms and the quicker they will appear.

The duration of exposure is also essential, as is the proximity to the source. The closer you are, the more spores you will inhale.

For people with inherent sensitivity to mold, a small exposure in terms of duration and proximity will be enough to cause symptoms.

What Are the Symptoms of Mold Exposure?

The symptoms of mold exposure may vary from person to person but generally include:

  • Itchy, watery eyes
  • Red eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Nasal irritation
  • Sneezing
  • Nasal congestion
  • Blocked sinuses
  • Nose bleeds
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Wheezing
  • Asthma attacks
  • Sore throat
  • Coughing
  • Skin irritation (e.g., rashes or hives)
  • Headaches

If exposure persists, then the effects can become more severe. Symptoms of severe exposure include:

  • Fatigue
  • Upper and lower respiratory reactions
  • Organ damage
  • Legionnaire’s disease
  • Developing mold allergy

In people with asthma, mold can create mold-induced asthma, which is a severe form of an asthma attack. An inflammatory reaction to fungus in the sinuses will cause allergic fungal sinusitis.

Allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis can occur in the lungs as a reaction to the fungus. This risk is most common among people with asthma or cystic fibrosis.

Symptoms of mold exposure vary significantly from one person to another and depend upon sensitivity, other underlying health conditions, duration, and proximity of exposure.

Person Suffering From Mold Sickness

Who’s Most at Risk for Developing Symptoms From Exposure to Mold?

Anyone can develop symptoms from mold exposure. However, some people are more susceptible.

People with chronic respiratory conditions like asthma will experience worsening symptoms. The same heightened reaction will also occur among those with allergies.

Older people are more likely to react to mold toxicity, but it can also affect babies, children, and pregnant women.

Those with conditions that weaken the immune system, like HIV or cancer, are also at risk.

People in good health who do not fall within one of these categories may be able to tolerate low levels of exposure without developing any symptoms or problems. However, prolonged or proximate exposure can eventually cause problems in even the healthiest individual.

How Long Does It Take for Mold to Get Out of Your System?

The short answer is that it depends on how long the exposure lasted, the level of infestation, your personal sensitivities, and your response.

Sometimes, it can be hard to tell when the exposure began if the spores remain hidden or your symptoms have been confused with other illnesses or seasonal viruses. The exposure could have been on a low-key basis for much longer than you thought.

There is no benchmark for how long it takes for mold to leave your system based upon the absence of symptoms. Everyone’s reaction is different, which also applies to recovery and the disappearance of symptoms.

If you have other conditions like allergies or asthma, it will generally take longer to recover, and you may need support from your doctor.

How Do You Treat Exposure to Mold?

Treatment requires tackling the issue at its source and taking care of your health. Follow these steps to treat mold exposure:

Step 1: Eliminate the Mold

The first thing is to remove the source of the mold. It might sound obvious, but mold can lie hidden, underneath baths or shower floors, in pipe boxes, or behind walls.

If the infestation is not visible, then contact a professional who will be able to track down and treat the growth and spores which are making you unwell.

Step2: Clean the Infestation

Avoid contact with moldy items or surfaces until you or a professional have thoroughly cleaned them. Don’t go to damp locations and rooms like basements.

Spores can travel through your home and could be present in other rooms, even if it is not visible. Clean surfaces with an anti-mold cleaner, but always ensure you wear a mask and dispose of or wash cleaning cloths thoroughly and safely.

Step 3: Prevent Spores Spreading

Seal the room while you clean it. It might seem common sense to ventilate it, but you will just spread the spores throughout the house. Only do that when you have thoroughly cleaned and decontaminated the home.

Step 4: Circulate Air

Only do this after you have cleaned the spores. Increase ventilation in rooms where infestation has been present and create air circulation throughout the house. Open windows or use a fan and reduce indoor humidity with a dehumidifier.

Step 5: Call the Remediation Experts

The Environmental Protection Agency recommends that you seek professional help for mold cleanup in the home. If a householder finds an area of mold bigger than three square feet, it’s time to call in the experts. Cleaning up small areas is safe, but tackling larger problems in the wrong way can be very harmful to your health.

Step 6: See Your Doctor

Seek medical advice if your symptoms are sufficiently uncomfortable to interfere with your daily life, and you are certain mold is the cause. Many symptoms will subside once you have thoroughly removed the infestation.

Your doctor may recommend over-the-counter allergy medicine, which you can take if the symptoms persist. Your doctor may also prescribe allergy medication.

Symptoms caused by mold can be confused with other illnesses, diseases, and seasonal allergies. Sometimes, it can be hard to determine the cause, so if in doubt, speak to a doctor or healthcare professional.

Need Help? Contact All Dry USA for Mold Removal & Remediation Services

Don’t make the mold problem worse in your home by trying to tackle it yourself. Call the experts at All Dry USA for 24/7 mold removal and remediation. We can make an assessment of your home, test the air for spores, help identify the sources of moisture and decontaminate the building, removing all traces quickly and safely.

All Dry USA can also consult on keeping your home with the proper moisture level. The best treatment is prevention, and we can help you in just a few simple steps.

Ben Suiskind
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