There are a lot of things that make us sick. From the common cold to more serious viruses, every year brings new germs. But what if it isn’t a germ that is making us sick? What if it is something else? What if it is something growing in our homes? When a person feels ill they may not immediately consider the cause to be mold. Mold can and does cause serious health problems in many people. It helps to understand the symptoms of household mold exposure so that you can recognize them should they emerge in you or a member of your family.
Exposure to mold has several symptoms including:
- Eye irritation: Eyes are a sensitive organ, and they can easily be affected by mold. Mold can cause both redness and watering of the eyes when exposed. During the spring months, many people associate this with seasonal allergies when in actuality the cause is the mold within their home or office. If your eyes do not clear up when the weather changes, mold could possibly be a culprit.
- Headaches: Breathing in mold can cause headaches in some people. This is especially true of people who suffer with migraines. They are very sensitive to certain stimulants and mold can be one of them. If you get recurring headaches and can spot a trend (such as your headache lifts when you leave your home in the morning and returns when you get home), mold could be the cause.
- Feeling tired: When our bodies aren’t feeling well or are fighting something off, fatigue is often a symptom. If you have been exposed to mold, fatigue may show up. While we all get tired from time to time, long term fatigue typically is pointing to something deeper. Feeling tired for several days in a row, even when you are getting adequate sleep can be a symptom of mold exposure.
- A sore throat: Strep throat or household mold exposure? Experiencing a raw feeling when swallowing, or hoarseness when speaking, are both indicative of mold exposure. Mold spores can become lodged in the throat and irritate the sensitive membranes leaving you with a raw and scratchy throat. If your sore throat doesn’t clear up after a week or two, it may be time to head in for a checkup from your doctor.
- Shortness of breath: Breathing in mold spores can cause respiratory difficulties in some people. This is especially prevalent in those with allergies as well as in those with weakened immune systems. The very young and very old are also at greater risk for respiratory upset due to household mold exposure. They may even develop asthma or may have asthma and not realize that their asthma attacks are being triggered by the mold in their homes.
- Runny nose or sinuses: If you are constantly reaching for a tissue to catch your runny nose this can also be a strong symptom of mold exposure. This can be triggered either by an allergy to the mold spores or the membranes of the nose become irritated by the spores. In either case, you may again misdiagnose yourself as having a head cold or seasonal allergies, but if the runny nose persists, consider that the source may indeed be mold. Consider having a visit to your family physician or one who specializes in allergies.
- Bleeding nose: Although this symptom is rare, it does occur. Some people are more sensitive to certain allergens and those offending irritants cause severe reactions. One of these reactions can be damage to the membranes of the nose resulting in regular bleeding. If this is happening to you, it can be caused by mold within your home.
- A skin rash: There are many reasons you may develop a rash, and household mold exposure is one of them. Although you may think that the skin can only become inflamed by direct contact with the mold, this isn’t always the case. You can develop redness in your skin simply from inhaling the fumes from the mold. If you develop a rash on your skin and don’t have an answer as to what caused it, don’t rule out household mold exposure. Head on over to a dermatologist who can help diagnose your condition.
Do You Suffer From Household Mold Exposure Symptoms?
If you realize that you suffer from several or all of these symptoms on a regular basis, it is advisable that you inspect your home for mold. Household mold exposure is no joke. It can seriously affect your health.
Because the symptoms will likely be worse when you are close the mold itself, it is also wise to track how your symptoms occur. This will help your doctor diagnose the problem. If you leave your home each day to go to work and notice that you feel better during the day, this can be a clear indicator that something in your home is causing your distress. Take note of when your symptoms start and stop each day.
The same can be said if you travel and find yourself in better health after you’ve been gone a day or two. Your home shouldn’t make you sick and finding and treating the mold problem will ensure that doesn’t happen.
Track your symptoms over the period of a week or two. If you notice a pattern, it may be time for a professional mold inspection. The sooner you find and remediate the mold, the less damage it will do to your house and your body. Remember that mold isn’t always visible. Just because you don’t notice any mold in your home doesn’t mean that you don’t have it growing somewhere. Also, don’t make the mistake of assuming because your home is new or in good shape that it doesn’t have mold. If there is or has been a source of moisture, the conditions may have caused mold growth.