The majority of common molds are not a concern to someone who is healthy. However, for those who have existing health concerns, you may be sensitive to mold exposure. The population at risk are: elderly, infants, asthmatics, and individuals with compromised immune systems.
Most Common Effects
- Skin rash and itching
- Running nose
- Eye irritation
- Aggravation of asthma
- If you have an immune suppression or underlying lung disease, you may be at increased risk for infections from molds.
- Flu-like symptoms
- Respiratory dysfunction (including coughing-up blood)
- Frequent and excessive nose bleeds
- Liver damage
- Severe reactions may also occur among workers exposed to large amounts of molds in occupational settings, such as farmers working around moldy hay. Such symptoms may disappear when exposure to mold no longer exists. Other health problems may be permanent
Microbial Volatile Organic Compounds
Substances known as microbial volatile organic compounds (MVOCs) are another source of health problems caused by mold exposure. These compounds are produced by fungal metabolism and are released directly into the air, often giving off strong or unpleasant odors. Exposure to MVOCs from molds can irritate the eyes and respiratory system and cause headaches, dizziness, fatigue, nasal irritation and nausea. It’s important to realize that research in this area is still in the early stages.
When necessary, some resourceful molds produce toxins in defense against other molds and bacteria called mycotoxins. Depending on exposure level, these mycotoxins may cause toxic effects in people, also. Some symptoms may include fatigue, nausea, headaches, and respiratory and eye irritation If you or your family members have health problems that you suspect are caused by exposure to mold, you should consult with your physician.
Having any of these symptoms does not guarantee you have a mold problem, nor should you automatically assume it is a severe problem. Best practice – have a professional conduct a full examination, especially if you are experiencing severe issues.