As it heats up this summer we tend to spend more time indoors with the air-conditioning running and the windows closed. Let’s take a moment to talk about some tips to keep you feeling your best.
Can mold cause Illness?
We can tell by just smelling a musty room or by seeing dust and other particles in the rays of sunlight streaming through the windows- there are many microscopic particles present in the air. When indoor humidity levels are high, recirculating air can enable airborne mold spores to grow and spread within as little as 24hrs. Exposure to Biotoxins like mold spores, bacterial endotoxins, parts of cell walls, and volatile organic compounds or gasses can cause chronic inflammation in the body. Biotoxin-caused inflammation can increase the levels of inflammatory mediators like TGF-β or IL-1B which can cross the blood brain barrier and cause inflammation in the brain as well. Many people with chronic mold exposure have nonspecific symptoms including: fatigue, weakness, memory problems, headaches, cough, shortness of breath, or abdominal pain. These symptoms can mimic other conditions, such as Fibromyalgia, Lyme Disease and MS, to Anxiety, Depression, or ADD/ADHD and may go untreated.
What can I do if I have been exposed to mold?
Some people have a genetic susceptibility due to how their immune system detects or responds to foreign substances. This is caused by a mutation in the HLA gene. This mutation can impair their ability to produce antibodies to help clear the substance from the body; however, the first step in treating any mold-related illness is to remove the exposure. It is important to remove any water damage by repairing plumbing leaks, fixing a leaky roof, or keeping the gutters clean. Remember, Mold likes wet places. There are home inspectors who can do a visual inspection as well as place detectors in an affected area. However some tests are better than others. The best tests, developed by the EPA, use a DNA based method and test both the air and dust to determine what species of mold are present. Air Conditioners can also be inspected and maintained to avoid standing water or obstructed drain lines. General cleaning and vacuuming around the house can reduce mold growth, and paying particular attention to keeping the kitchen and bathroom clean and dry may be a good idea. Other measures to reduce mold exposure include using a high quality air filter or air sanitizer.