Mold and its associated illnesses can have minor or devastating impacts on a person’s health. With a compromised immune system, the threats can be even more serious. Combine those risks with mold’s tendency to grow in places outside of human view, and you have a recipe for poor health, including autoimmune dysfunction.

Some molds produce dangerous byproducts called mycotoxins. They are chemicals that specific species can excrete and when in contact with the human body, can produce different symptoms that can mimic other disorders.

Mycotoxins interact with the body in different ways. Symptoms such as brain fog, body pains, depression, fatigue, unexplained rashes, psychiatric disturbances, and problems with breathing are all signs of mold toxicity. It can exacerbate autoimmune conditions and prolong recovery from illness. However, once an individual is properly treated for mold toxicity, symptoms from autoimmune disorders tend to decrease significantly.

One major concern is understanding if symptoms are actually being caused by mold. Most healthcare practitioners are not trained in mold awareness and how mycotoxins affect the body. Assessing your environment for possible exposure to mold is important.

Questions to ask are:
1. Where might mold hide in my house? The presence of water and moisture are indicators that mold is inside your house. Though mold can grow in all kinds of conditions, many molds prefer a consistently damp area to grow. Oftentimes, homeowners will renovate their house to find mold growing between or under the walls. After the walls are knocked down, the direct exposure can contribute to a worsening of symptoms. Do you have a leaky faucet or fixture? Have you ever had a leak I your roof or basement? These are places where the risks are higher for mold growth.

2. What is the weather like today/this week/this month? Again, moisture makes it easier for many species of mold to grow and humidity contributes to the moisture content in the air. A towel dries faster in less humid air, but a slow-drying towel will often carry a smell after a few uses. The reason? Some type of mold has taken advantage of the moisture to grow. While this mold might not produce the most dangerous mycotoxins, the best thing to do would be to wash it or get rid of it. The fall in most parts of the country tends to be worse for mold-allergic sufferers since a leaf mold called Stemphyllium is highly allergenic and is high when leaves start to fall of the trees.

3. Do I happen to live in a moldy part of the world? Other factors from the weather include wet, rainy seasons and hurricanes. Weather-related factors can create neighborhood-wide potential problems. For instance, the storm surge from Hurricane Sandy caused water damage to thousands of homes, forcing them to all be renovated. The water damage from the storm surge, plus the general quality of the water, developed conditions that contributed to mold growth within the structures. Houses had to be gutted and renovated. You can go online to find out if where you live happens to have higher mold counts than other places.

These questions should help you spot potential problem areas that contribute to mold growth. Also, knowing the history of your house helps to identify places where mold could grow or why it might. This is especially important when you are looking to begin renting a new apartment or buying a home. If you have concerns about mold in your home, I highly recommend getting a professional mold inspector to test your home properly so that you can make a good decision on the best to remediate the problem.

There are options to treat mold-related illnesses and to get rid of it in your homes. Awareness of the presence of mold is the first step in the process of treating, and recovering from, mycotoxin toxicity and mold-related illness.