How do molds affect people?
Some people are sensitive to molds while others have a higher tolerance. For those people with sensitivities, common symptoms of mold exposure include nasal stuffiness, eye irritation, wheezing, or skin irritation. Symptoms of exposure to more toxic molds include:
- Immune system suppression
- Respiratory problems including asthma and infections
- Eye irritation with burning, watery or reddened eyes
- Cough – dry and hacking
- Nose or throat irritation or both
- Skin rashes or irritation
- Memory impairment
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Body aches and pain (Chronic Fatigue)
- Food Intolerances and allergies
- Mood swings
- Nasal and sinus congestion
In 2004 the Institute of Medicine (IOM) found there was sufficient evidence to link indoor exposure to Mold with upper respiratory tract symptoms, cough, and wheeze in otherwise healthy people; with asthma symptoms in people with asthma; and with hypersensitivity pneumonitis in individuals susceptible to that immune-mediated condition. The IOM also found limited or suggestive evidence linking indoor Mold exposure and respiratory illness in otherwise healthy children. In 2009, the World Health Organization issued additional guidance, the WHO Guidelines for Indoor Air Quality: Dampness and Mold
Allergenic molds are not typically considered life-threatening and are most likely to affect those who are already allergic or asthmatic. The human system responses to allergenic molds tend to be relatively mild, typically producing sore or scratchy throats, eye and nose irritations and rashes.
Pathogenic Molds tend to be associated with some type of infection. Those who suffer from a more suppressed immune system, those who are pregnant and the elderly are mostly likely to experience more sever heath effects from these molds. Healthy people can usually naturally resist infection but in rare cases, high exposure to these molds has been known to result in severe health problems.
Toxigenic molds can cause the most serious health effects. Mycotoxins have toxic effects ranging from short-term irritation to immunosuppression and possibly cancer. Therefore, when toxigenic molds are found, immediate remediation is recommended.