What is a mold?
mold is a type of organism that is in the fungus family. Both molds and
yeasts can affect a person’s health. There are other organisms that are
also types of fungus but these usually do not affect health.
What is the difference between a mold and a fungus?
The difference between the two groups mainly has to do with whether they produce spores. Molds produce spores and fungi do not.
Are molds and fungi always bad?
and fungi are both naturally occurring organisms. It is expected to
have some exposure to them in the normal course of events. Problems can
occur when molds or fungi are present when and where they should not be,
or when a person has an exaggerated reaction to the molds or fungi.
What are some of the illnesses caused by mold?
of the ways that molds can cause illness is in people who have mold
allergy. In this situation, an individual has developed a heightened
sensitivity to mold spore. A second way that mold or fungus can cause
health problems involves infection.
What are the symptoms of mold allergy?
who have allergies to mold spores typically will have signs of
respiratory allergy such as itchy/watery eyes, runny/stuffy nose or
asthma type symptoms.
more severe cases of asthma, there is a condition called ABPA (allergic
bronchopulmonary aspergillosis) that involves severe, usually steroid
dependent asthma that is caused by mold hypersensitivity. A person can
also have an allergic fungal sinusitis which is a severe fungal
infection of the sinuses that is complicated by fungal allergy.
What can you do to decrease the mold in the environment?
people who have mold allergies, decreasing the amount of mold exposure
can be quite helpful. Some molds grow outdoors on vegetation such as
rotting tree stumps. These molds usually have a season in which their
spores are released into the air (typically in the autumn). The
important thing to remember about these outdoor mold spores is to
prevent their intrusion into the indoor environment.
molds grow in damp indoor environments, either from increased humidity
(50% or greater) or from water leakage problems. Controlling water
leakage and decreasing indoor humidity to prevent mold growth as well as
removal of visible mold is important.
When should I worry about mold or fungus infection?
infection usually occurs in the yeast form. This usually occurs on the
skin or mucus membranes either when the local environment is overly
moist or if the normal bacteria of the body are disrupted by
medications. Also, yeast infections can occur at other times when there
is an abnormality in immunity. This may range from more common
perturbations such as diabetes or extremes of age to more rare
immunodeficiencies or in cancer patients. In these situations of
immunodeficiency, the yeast infection can range from mild skin/mucus
membrane problems to more severe organ infection that is difficult to
treat and may become life-threatening.
I’ve heard about toxic mold in buildings. What can I do to protect myself?
phenomenon of toxic or black mold has gained great attention lately,
particularly in the media. However, careful review of the scientific
findings has brought much of these findings into question. At this time,
the true nature and extent of toxic mold syndrome remains quite
controversial and difficult to truly prove.
I’ve heard about total body mold overgrowth. Should I be concerned about this?
are rare disorders such as CMC (Chronic Mucocutaneous Candidiasis).
However, there is a popular theory that vague symptoms such as fatigue,
memory loss and other nonspecific symptoms are caused by yeast
overgrowth. This is another controversial area in which the scientific
findings are limited and the “illness” remains difficult to truly prove.