Exposure to household mold can cause many health problems, including asthma due to mold exposure. There is some disagreement among health care professionals about whether or not exposure to mold can actually cause asthma, but there is definitely a link between mold and asthma. Exposure to household mold can make asthma worse in people previously diagnosed with the condition and it can cause asthma-like symptoms in people that did not previously have the condition.
If you were previously diagnosed with asthma, exposure to mold may make your symptoms worse. You may begin having asthma attacks more often(1), attacks may last longer, and they may seem more severe. Medications that previously helped may not seem to work as well anymore.
If you were never diagnosed with asthma before, prolonged exposure to mold in the home may cause you to develop asthma-like symptoms. Your chest may feel tight, you may have difficulty getting enough air, and you may begin to wheeze loudly.
See your doctor right away or go to the nearest emergency room if you have trouble breathing, if you’re experiencing symptoms of asthma when you haven’t had such symptoms before, if your asthma seems to be getting worse, or if medications that used to work do not seem to be helping anymore. Let your doctor know if you’ve been exposed to mold or if you think your symptoms might be mold-related.
Treatment for mold-related asthma is similar to the treatment for any other kind of asthma and may include medications taken regularly to prevent symptoms, like inhaled corticosteroids (such as beclomethasone, budesonide, ciclesonide, fluticasone and mometasone) and long-acting beta agonists (such as salmeterol and formoterol), as well as medications taken on an as-needed basis when symptoms flare up, like short-acting beta agonists (such as albuterol and levalbuterol). While these medications can make breathing much easier, they can also have unwanted side effects. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.
In order to reduce or eliminate symptoms of mold-related asthma, you’ll need to avoid further exposure to mold as much as possible. In fact, continued exposure to mold may cause symptoms to get worse and asthma attacks to increase in both frequency and severity. If your symptoms are severe, your doctor may recommend that you not return home until the mold has been removed from your home. Ask your doctor about the link between mold and asthma symptoms and what you can do to best manage and reduce your symptoms.
Since mold-related asthma or asthma-like symptoms will likely just get worse without treatment, and without addressing the mold that is causing the symptoms, we encourage you not to delay seeking medical treatment or taking care of the mold cleanup. Asthma can become quite serious and permanent damage to the bronchial tubes (called airway remodeling) can result from uncontrolled asthma, causing permanent breathing problems. Note that other health problems can also result from exposure to household mold, which can complicate matters. Getting prompt medical treatment can prevent life-long problems.
If you’re experiencing symptoms of asthma due to mold exposure, you should not attempt to clean up the mold yourself. The cleanup process stirs up mold spores, increasing your exposure, which can make symptoms significantly worse. Hire a mold removal professional instead. A trained professional will know how to do the job safely and will have all the equipment needed to make sure mold spores are not spread to other areas of the home during the cleanup process. Click here to find qualified mold removal professionals near your home.
(1)EPA: Asthma Triggers