I recently reconnected with a fellow whose sister developed a life-altering illness years ago.
She became severely fatigued – to the point of not being able to care for her small children. She was bedridden for most of the day. It lasted more than five years.
It turns out she had candidiasis, a systemic yeast infection.
The cause? Toxic black mold (Stachybotrys chartarum).
Antifungal medications turned her life around. She’s now nearly back to her old self. But she’ll surely never forget this terrifying experience.
Mold affects millions of Americans, causing everything from allergies and chronic conditions to, sadly, death. While treatment is possible with the right information, prevention is key.
Read on for some tips to keep you and your family safe.
The Enemy Inside
More than 1,000 different types of mold have been found in homes across the U.S. Close to 50% of houses have mold – and up to 85% of commercial buildings.
What’s scary is mold spores are so small they can often go undetected. You can be exposed for long periods of time before you ever see physical signs of mold growing on drywall, wood, baseboards or ceiling tiles.
Indoor molds (toxigenic molds) release toxins. These toxins – called mycotoxins – act to suppress our immune system, causing illnesses and even death. More than 200 species of mycotoxins have been identified.
One in four people are very sensitive to mold and can experience of range of health issues: chronic coughing, chronic fatigue, fever, immunosuppression, chronic lung or sinus infections, nausea, rashes, sore throat, and even cancer.
There are also serious neurologic issues that can result from mold exposure: anxiety, depression, foggy thinking, memory loss and multiple sclerosis symptoms.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to prevent serious issues.
Clean Up and Prevention
As most folks know, mold grows in damp areas of the house. A telltale sign is a musty odor.
It’s wise to keep indoor humidity below 50%. Make an effort to regularly check behind and under appliances (dishwashers, refrigerators, washing machines, etc.) for any spores. Attics, basements and crawl spaces are also ideal breeding grounds. Watch out for leaks around windows and the roof.
You can clean up minor mold growth in the shower with vinegar, a diluted bleach solution, or baking soda and hydrogen peroxide.
When cleaning up, wear a mask to ensure you do not inhale mold particles.
For large areas of the home in need of remediation – be sure to check if it is covered under your homeowners insurance – you need the professionals. Treat this as the hazmat mission it is.
You want a team certified by either the IICRC (Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification) or NORMI (National Organization of Remediators and Mold Inspectors). There are other organizations, but these two are standouts.
There are many horror stories of people who believed they had remediated their mold issues only to have them resurface.
Protect Your Health
Millions of Americans suffer from chronic sinusitis. If you’re one of them, you may have become frustrated when your symptoms didn’t improve after antibiotics or steroids. The Mayo Clinic determined sinusitis can often be a yeast issue rather than a bacterial issue. Antibiotics and steroids will not kill the yeast. You need an antifungal medication.
Anyone suffering from COPD can develop fungal infections too. Print out the article linked here and take it to your primary care physician if you have COPD.
There are natural supplements you can take that act in an antifungal manner, including garlic (either raw or in pills), grapefruit seed extract, coconut oil, oregano oil, and olive leaf nasal spray.
Having proper vitamin D levels (50 to 85 nanograms/ml) will dramatically help you with mold defense as will having the proper amount of B vitamins.
As always, coordinate a plan with your medical team. Talk to your functional doctor (the newest member of your healthcare team). They may refer you to a member of the American Academy of Environmental Medicine. Many of these practitioners have been trained in provocation neutralization, which offers allergy sufferers permanent relief for allergies or mold.
Since indoor pollution is worse than outdoor pollution, here some proactive strategies to consider.
- Get a high-quality air purifier to help control mold toxins.
- Flu season is upon us. Those with chronic sinusitis and planning to fly should consider using Olive Leaf Nasal Spray by Seagate Products. I have used this product for a long time. It’s 100% natural and kills MRSA, fungus and other bad bugs in minutes. I keep a bottle in my travel kit. Spray in each nostril when you’re feeling ill, before or after a flight, or when you feel a sinus infection coming on.
- Many functional physicians conduct an annual one-month yeast eradication program with their patients.
While mold is common, both indoors and out, there are simple steps you can take to make sure it doesn’t affect your health and your life. Always talk to your doctor about any concerns you have and know your options for treatment.