We all know the danger of toxic black mold exposure and how it is detrimental to our health. However, most of us would assume that a little exposure to mold would do negligible harm to our body so long there are no symptoms like runny nose, watery eyes, cough or itchy skin. In reality, this tiny microorganism brings a lot to the table where many people are unaware of the hidden signs that directly or indirectly contributed to your health downfall. As always, prevention is better than cure and in this post we listed all the symptoms that is associated with mold-illness ranging from common types to the more uncommon signs and the health effects it bring. At the end of this post you should have a clearer idea on how severe is your mold condition and what’s need to be done to rectify this problem. Intrigue? Here is the complete list of black mold poisoning symptoms and health effects you should look out for.
Different people might experience level of mold poisoning, Nasal congestion, runny nose, sneezing and cold/ flu is usually the earliest signs from toxic black mold poisoning. This is follow by postnasal drip coughing and dry/ sore throat. Itchiness and rashness on skin is also very common along with red, bloodshot and watery eyes. Headache is the final straw that would lead to other known symptoms like tiredness, weakness and drowsiness. With your mental health disturbed, mood swings, loss of memory, disorientation and insomnia would follow suit.All the mentioned symptoms above would bring in health risks of chronic coughing, sinusitis, migraine, eczema, vision problems and weight/ hair loss. Mold illness would also cause muscle numbness, joint and abdominal pain that in long-run affect the neurological system. Abdominal pain would also affect digestive system like loss of appetite, dehydration to bloating, diarrhea, nausea with the risks of liver disease. Lung infection and respiratory damage is also another known long-term health effects from signs of chest pain and breathing difficulty. On a more severe scale, Mycotoxins from black mold could lead to internal hemorrhage, weaken immune system, heart damage, reproductive system failure,coma and eventually death.
- Symptoms –Stuffy/ runny nose, excessive sneezing, dry throat, postnasal drip coughing, wheezing, chest tightness, breathing difficulty
- Health risks – Asthma exacerbation, chronic coughing and sneezing, epistaxis, sinusitis, sinus headache, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), pulmonary edema, hypersensitivity pneumonitis, pulmonary fibrosis, respiratory tract damage
The #1 most common black mold poisoning symptoms is through inhalation. When we breathe in/ inhale, our lungs expand, diaphragm contracts, and air is suck downward through the airway. Black mold spores that travel with air would touch on our nose, mouth and lungs causing many respiratory related diseases. For most people, the first signs is usually sneezing, nasal stuffiness (stuffy/ running nose), dry throat, follow by postnasal drip cough from the excessive mucus. Others especially asthmatic person would further experience burning feeling in the air passage, chest tightness, breathing difficulty and wheezing (high-pitched whistling sound). If the situation remains unchanged, a person would suffer from mild cold/ flu, chronic cough, sinusitis (sinus infection), sinus headache, Epistaxis (bleeding from nose) and asthma attack. Prolong inhaling Mycotoxins from black mold can lead to the toxic stucked in the mucus membranes, resulting internal damage to respiratory system such as COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), respiratory tract infection, Pulmonary Fibrosis (scarring in the lungs), Pulmonary edema (fluid accumulation in tissue and lungs), Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis (lungs inflammation from allergies) and Pulmonary haemorrhage (acute bleeding from the lungs).
Mental Health Problems
- Symptoms – Mood swings, easily agitated, aggression, forgetfulness, poor memory, difficult to concentrate, shorter attention span, loss of interest, headache, dizziness, confusion
- Health risks – Chronic headache, chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), migraine, vertigo, memory loss, impair learning, disorientation, insomnia, anxiety, depression, hallucinations, malaise, seizures
Black mold is also linked to mental illness that most would least expect. Exposure to the lethal Trichothecene Mycotoxins toxic would start off with symptoms like headache, dizziness or even confusion where you will have a difficult time understanding a simple question. Slowly creeping in is the poor memory along with lack of focus and attention span. People around you might also notice the personality change where you easily get agitated or aggressive with uncontrollable mood swings. Pro-long exposure to Trichothecene Mycotoxins can permanently destroy neurons in the brain and lead to health risks like chronic headache, migraine, vertigo (spinning dizziness) to the extent of sudden blackout. Children in particular would be greatly affected with impair learning ability. You might also experience mental disorder like disorientation, malaise (feeling uncomfortable yet unable to identify the reason), difficulty to fall asleep or wake up often during the night, anxiety even on the littiest things and even lead to hallucination or depression.
- Symptoms – Joint pain, weak aches, abdominal pain, twitching, trembling, numbness, tingling, morning stiffness, muscle pain, tiredness, weakness
- Health risks – Partial or complete paralysis, epilepsy, parkinson’s disease, stroke, fibromyalgia, chronic widespread pain (CWP)
Joint pain, weak aches, abdominal pain, twitching (short jerky movement), trembling (quivering), tingling (needles stinging sensation) or the opposite numbness (lack of sensation), morning stiffness that is unrelated to poor sleeping posture, muscle pain without any strenuous activity or exercise, this could be the neurological symptoms of mold related illness. Chronic exposure to the Mycotoxins toxic would bring in the health risks of partial or complete paralysis and Epilepsy (unpredictable, recurrent seizure disorder). Black mold toxic is also linked with Parkinson’s disease (degenerative nervous system disorder) and can trigger mild to severe stroke particularly for elderly that has suffer from acute stroke previously. There is also distinctive connection between neurological and mental disorder where damage to the central nervous system would lead to tiredness, weakness, seizure, Malaise, Fibromyalgia or Chronic widespread pain (CWP).
- Symptoms – Rashness, itchiness, night sweats, abnormal body temperature
- Health risks – Dermatitis (eczema), jaundice
Another common mold-related problem, the mycotoxins toxic from black mold can be absorbed through our skin and trigger many allergic reactions. Common irritant symptoms include itchiness, rashness from scaly, crawling skin or blister. While Dermatitis aka Eczema is probably the only side effect that causes skin inflammation, Some people might experience night sweat or abnormal body temperature while in rare cases, black mold would also lead to jaundice (yellowing skin from the excess pigment bilirubin). As always, children or people with sensitive skin has a higher percentage of reacting to skin allergies compare with adults.
Vision and eye problems
- Symptoms – Redness in eyes, bloodshot eyes, watery eyes
- Health risks – Conjunctivitis, uveitis, blurry vision, poor eyesight, permanent eye damage
The spores of black mold usually do not spread through air or stay airborne for long due to its heavy weight. Nonetheless Mycotoxins toxic from black mold can still cause irritation to eyes and temporary vision problems. Bloodshot/ red eyes is usually the first symptom when in contact with the allergies where the blood vessels in the eyes would become enlarged and obvious overtime. Watery eyes is also a very common sight as the eye would produces excess tears to counter the irritation and dryness. Contact lenses wearer, children or people with pre-existing condition would take a greater hit. If the situation does not change and your eye conditions become progressively worse, black mold toxic could lead to health risk of Conjunctivitis aka pink eyes, hazy, blurry vision, reduced eyesight, Jaundice (yellow eyes), Uveitis (uvea inflammation) and permanent eye damage. There are reports that extremely high exposure to Mycotoxins could resulted Glaucoma and blindness however, it is on a very rare basis.
- Symptoms – Loss of appetite, bloated, diarrhea, nausea, vomit, dehydration, frequent urination, bad metallic taste, burning sensation in mouth
- Health risks – Weight loss, hair loss, tinnitus, hearing loss, anorexia, abnormal liver, liver failure
Black mold can play a significant negative role in your health physically and psychologically. Unintentional mold digestion would can leave a bad metallic taste or slight burning sensation in your mouth, cause abdominal pain and leaving you sick to your stomach with the feeling bloated, dehydrated, nausea and vomit. What follow is the loss of appetite, weight loss or even some cases weight gain (due to the body producing autoantibodies) and lead to the risk of eating disorder or Anorexia. Unresolved exposure to Mycotoxins toxic would have a health effects of liver diseases or liver failure. Ear infection is another symptom of mold poisoning where the risk of Tinnitus (ringing, hissing, buzzing sound) or permanent hearing loss is in place. Black mold can also cause hair loss to the extent of baldness because of the immune system produces mast cell called Histamine. Histamine cause inflammation that effectively disrupts blood flow in your hair capillaries (tiny blood vessels that provide nutrients to hair).
Circulatory system and Immune system problems
- Symptoms – Heart pain, heartburn, irregular heartbeat, fatigue, difficultly in performing simple action, vomiting blood
- Health risks – Hemorrhage, heart attack, low blood pressure, heart inflammation, heart damage, blood clotting or not clotting properly, bone marrow disruption, weaken immune system, rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
Our circulatory and immune system can be undermined by black mold poisoning through inhalation, ingestion and absorption. Circulatory system (also known as cardiovascular/ vascular system) is a network of veins, arteries, blood vessels and heart that circulate nutrients, oxygen, blood cells and hormones to other part of the body. When the oxygen-rich blood is contaminated with black mold fungal, different parts of the organ system will be directly exposed to Mycotoxins toxic resulting many circulatory system diseases. Most people would experience symptoms like fatigue, heart pain, difficultly in performing simple action like walking to the severe vomiting blood, heart attack. If left untreated, the person is in risk of irregular heartbeat, hemorrhage, low blood pressure, heart inflammation, heart failure, blood clotting or not clotting properly and bone marrow disruption. On the other hand, our immune system is network of cells, tissues, and organs that work together to defend against microbial invaders such as bacteria and viruses. Mycotoxins toxic would not only weaken the immune system defence, it can cause autoimmune disease where the immune system mistakenly attacks body healthy cell.
Reproductive system problems
- Symptoms – Indirectly
- Health risks – Infertility, impotence, fetal development problems, miscarriage, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
A known issue where many cases of marriage ruined because it, reproductive system problems are associated with Black mold where the outcome is irreversible and cause unimaginable damage to you and your loved one. Primarily because of the Mycotoxins released from black mold is teratogenic: a toxic that may disturb the development of an embryo or fetus. Mycotoxins is also cytoxotic (kill cells) and mutagenic (cell mutation) that add up resulting birth defect in the child. To make matter worse, there is no direct symptoms to show that a person is badly affected by black mold poisoning until it is too late. Indirectly women might experience signs from hormone change e.g. weigh gain, skin allergies, thinning hair or irregular/ painful periods to no periods at all. For men reduce sexual desire, testicle swelling/ pain, troubles with erection or ejaculation could also be some indirect symptoms. Typical reproductive system health risks include infertility (inability to conceive), impotence (inability to achieve an erection or orgasm), fetal development problems, miscarriage and SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). Men, women, expectant mother, stay clear of mold.
Cancer with Mold
There are no or concrete evidences that directly links cancer with mold although there are reports suggesting that Aflatoxin toxic from Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus mold can increase the risk of developing liver and gallbladder cancer. What is certain that black mold poisoning can aggravate asthma, cause brain damage, progressive organ failure, destroy your immune system which all would lead to the only outcome: death.
How to Get Rid of Black Mold In House
Most black mold symptoms are not permanent and will gradually disappear when you are no longer around black mold. Health problems might be a different story as long exposure to Mycotoxins toxic will cause permanent damage to your lungs, liver or immune system. If you are experiencing signs and irritation related to black mold poisoning, here’s what you need to do. Find out what causes the moldy spot in your room and fix it before it’s too late. Black mold grows on high dampness area particularly if there is any leakage, repair any leaky pipes by yourself or hire professional plumber to do it. Check HVAC system or air conditioning pipes that is often the source due to the high condensation. If the room humidity level is too high, use a dehumidifier to reduce the room humidity or simply open more windows to keep the room well-ventilated. Air purifier can also be used to stop airborne mold from spreading to other area. Lastly, scrub away existing moldy spot if is less than 10 square feet with bleach and water or throw away any mold contaminated items that has no sentimental value. You can also hire mold specialist to perform a full mold remediation clean up if the mold problems cover the entire home.
The Easy Ways
- Dispose mold contaminated items in your home such as plastic containers, paper boxes, picture frames
- Vacuum with HEPA vacuum cleaner to remove non-airborne mold stuck on wall, carpet or floor
- Kill mold with Detergent and water
- Kill mold with Chlorine Bleach
- Kill mold with Hydrogen Peroxide
- Kill mold with Ammonia
- Kill mold with Talcum powder
- Kill mold with Borax
The Natural Ways
- Kill mold with Vinegar
- Kill mold with Baking Soda
- Kill mold with Grapefruit Seed Extract
- Kill mold with Tea Tree Oil
- Kill mold with Cinnamon essential oil
- Kill mold with Oregano essential oil
- Kill mold with Thyme essential oil
- Kill mold with Clove essential oil
- Kill mold with Lemon Juice
- Kill mold with Vodka
The Professional Ways
- Hire mold remediation specialist or certified mold contractor for mold remediation and cleanup
- Separately hire HVAC technician, carpenter, plumber or painter for dedicated task