Is mould bad for my health?

Is mould bad for your health by Jean Jarrett

Is mould bad for my health?  What are the symptoms of mould exposure?

With the recent severe wet weather conditions you are probably seeing mould pop up around your home.  No matter how clean or new your house is, mould can be a problem in these extreme damp conditions.

Like other environmental toxins we can’t always avoid exposure to mould but “is mould bad for us?”, and “if we are exposed, what can we do?” 

What is Mould?

Mould is a fungus that begins life as a single spore.  It needs water to grow and it thrives in damp, warm and humid environments.  When you see mould on your bathroom tiles, clothing or walls, you’re actually seeing colonies of thousands of mould spores growing together. 

Mould reproduces by releasing mould spores into the air. The dangerous by-product of mould,  the thing that can makes us sick, is called a mycotoxin.  You can be exposed to mycotoxins through inhalation, ingestion or by direct skin contact. 

Mould is categorize in one of three ways:

Allergenic – This mould can cause or exacerbate allergy symptoms, gut symptoms, skin issues, asthma and respiratory conditions. 

Pathogenic – This mould can cause infection in people with compromised immune systems.

Toxigenic –  This mould is toxic to all who come in contact with it.

The most common indoor moulds in Australia are:

Trichoderma, Alternaria, Stachybotrys Chartarum (Black mould), Ulocladium, Aspegillus and Penicillium

Mould-Related Illnesses

For some people mould may cause mild symptoms such as:

  • Sneezing, a running nose
  • Abdominal discomfort 
  • Thrush
  • Mild lethargy 

But for others it is more serious.  If you have a mould allergy, your immune system overreacts when you breathe in mould spores.  Symptoms of a mould allergy can be the same those for other airborne allergies such as:

  • Runny, stuffy or itchy nose
  • Sneezing
  • Itchy or scratchy throat
  • Red, itchy or swollen eyelids
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing 
  • Diarrhea, wind and abdominal pain 

If you have been exposed to mould I recommend to you take steps to help your body eliminate the mould.  This process may vary depending on your symptoms and current health status, but essentially the goal is to reduce exposure and detoxify the mycotoxin.   

  • Raw garlic – garlic is such as amazing food, it is antifungal and can help break down mould.  If raw garlic is too much for you, choose a fresh garlic capsule. 
  • Binders – medical grade binders are an efficient way to support the detoxification of mycotoxins from your body and relive symptoms.  These practitioner products need to be prescribed by your health care practitioner and should be taken away from medications and some supplements. 
  • Detoxification support – taking a supplement like NAC or glutathione will support your detoxification systems to eliminate the harmful mycotoxin
  • Anti-fungal herbal medicine such as  may be indicated depending on your symptoms.  This can be helpful when there has been long term exposure. 
  • Probiotics – specific strains of probiotics and fermented foods such as sauerkraut help to break down persistent  mycotoxin which can then be eliminated. 
  • Infrared sauna – sweating it out supports detoxification 
  • Drink lots and lots of water– to further support detoxification pathways.  Your body can’t eliminate any toxins if you are not drinking sufficient water. 
  • Eat an abundance of green leafy vegetables and/or take a good quality greens powder – to support your detoxification pathways. 
  • Fibre – is also essential for detoxification, insufficient fibre in the diet can result in toxins being reabsorbed in the bowel instead of being eliminated.    

If you suspect you have a mould allergy you would benefit from working further on your immune health, gut health and reducing your specific symptoms.   

If you would like to discuss your concerns about mould exposure please contact Jean at info@jeanjarrettnaturopath.com.au  or make an appointment by calling 0424407560.