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How does mold cause health problems?

Mold can cause health problems via four major methods: allergy, toxicity, colonization and infection.

Mold allergy: Seventy allergens have been found in spores of mold. These allergens can cause your immune system to react in similar ways as to other allergens like pollen or dust. Symptoms can range from coughing to asthma attack to to watery, itchy eyes to headaches.

Mold Toxicity: Many molds generate mycotoxins as a secondary metabolite. In this case, removing the mold may not be sufficient to cure the symptoms, since toxins have already started the process of inflammation that can continue in the body even after exposure ends. This is why thinking back to previous homes and other exposures is important.

Mold Colonization: Mold is a type of fungus. Fungus is part of our microbiome along with viruses, bacteria and other microorganisms. Mold can colonize the surfaces of the body in the sinuses, lungs, GI system, and/or on the skin. Even if the environmental source has been removed, exposure continues inside the body.

Mold Infection: If there is sufficient fungus in the body or the immune system is down, mold may infect tissues deeper in the body than what is seen with colonization, causing severe acute infectious disease.

These various ways in which mold affect the body are part of why mold related illness is a challenge to diagnose and treat!

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