Poisonous mycotoxins are naturally occurring chemicals produced by some types of mold. According to the Food Standards Agency in the UK(1), mycotoxin poisoning has been found to cause numerous health problems in both people and animals, including kidney damage, digestive problems, liver cancer, reproductive problems, and poor immune system functioning.
Numerous health problems can be caused by different mycotoxins and some people are affected more than others. Generally speaking, the very young and the elderly are more susceptible to health problems caused by exposure to mold, but people of any age can get sick from exposure to mycotoxins.
Health problems that can be caused by mycotoxins include:
If you are experiencing health problems you think might be caused by exposure to mycotoxins, you need to see your doctor. Let your doctor know about your concerns. The symptoms listed above can all be caused by things other than mycotoxins, so it’s important to get an accurate diagnosis.
Not all types of mold produce poisonous mycotoxins and not all mycotoxins are known to cause serious health problems. Knowing whether or not you’ve been exposed to mycotoxins and what kinds may help your doctor make an accurate diagnosis and prescribe the most effective treatment for you. For that reason, you may benefit from having a certified mold tester come in and test your home for mold. Most certified mold testers are engineers and they can verify whether or not you have mold in your home, and if so, tell you what kind and whether or not the amount of mold found is above the safe limits. For a list of certified mold testers near you, follow the link.
Treatment for health problems caused by exposure to mycotoxins varies depending on the problems you are experiencing. For instance, antibiotics may be prescribed to treat pneumonia. In severe cases, hospitalization may be required.
In addition to receiving the appropriate medical treatment, you’ll need to eliminate the poisonous mycotoxins in your environment if you want to recover. Even with medical treatment, if you continue to be exposed to the mycotoxins that made you sick in the first place, you will probably continue to experience symptoms and your condition may even worsen. If you have mold growing in your home, you’ll need to get it removed as soon as possible.
Doctors usually recommend against cleaning up household mold yourself if you are experiencing mold-related health problems, because the cleanup process itself significantly increases your exposure to mycotoxins and can make you even sicker. If your mold-related health problems are severe, your doctor may even recommend against returning home at all until the mold has been removed. Talk with your doctor about whether or not it’s safe for you to clean up mold or to remain in your home until you can have the mold removed.
You can schedule a free consultation with a mold removal professional to discuss your options for mold removal. The professional will visit your home to assess the situation; if you are unable to be in the home due to mold-related health issues, have someone else accompany the professional to the home and then meet with him or her in another location. Even if you plan to handle the mold removal yourself, you can benefit from some free expert advice. To find professional mold removers near you, click on the link.
(1) Food Standards Agency UK: Mycotoxins