Black Mold Is A Worldwide Problem, But How Do You Know When You’ve Been Affected, And What Should You Do?
Toxic black mold is a secret danger in many homes and buildings.
Feeling achy and run-down with a headache and fever? Are you congested with a runny nose? Odds are you or your doctor will diagnose you with the flu. A few days of rest on the sofa, plenty of fluids and perhaps — yikes– an antiviral like Tamiflu, or worse, an unnecessary antibiotic, will help you recover. But then, a few months later, you get the flu again and again again! Each time out becomes more infuriating. But if you do not know any better, you may not conclude that your so called flu is really caused due to toxic black mold.
Toxic black mold can cause serious health complications and even death, if left untreated. Exposure and illness from toxic mold is different than a mold allergy, which, while unfortunate, does not result in the same level of illness. Common symptoms of toxic mold exposure include sinus infections, asthma, ear aches/infections, headaches, nausea, diarrhea, skin rashes or lesions, acne, body pain, chronic fatigue, vision problems, and more. Advanced mold exposure can cause blindness, brain damage, long term memory loss, bleeding lungs, cancer, and, as mentioned before, death.
It’s All About Genetics
“When you inhale mold spores and mycotoxins, if the immune system is suppressed enough, you can develop a systemic infection, meaning the mold goes throughout the body, not just the gut,” explains Dr. Tim Jackson, who combines his background in integrative health and wellness with the emerging field of epigenetics to help others. Jackson also specializes in therapies to detoxify mold from the body. “Approximately 25 percent of the population has some form of a gene (HLA-DR) that prevents us from detoxing mold toxins, also known as mycotoxins, in our bodies. When you can’t detoxify mycotoxins, it disrupts every system in the body.”
For the other 75 percent of the population, inhaling mycotoxins is not as much of a problem. Your immune system will recognize the mycotoxins, which will then be sent to the liver and gall bladder and be excreted. While it is not ideal for anyone to inhale toxic black mold or other mold, it can become dangerous for those with this “genetic glitch,” creating inflammation throughout the body, decreasing blood flow through the frontal lobe of the brain (the part responsible for reasoning and rationalizing), and causing fatigue symptoms throughout the body. The “genetic glitch” is called HLA-DR, and a blood test can reveal if you have this condition.
So, how do you determine if your body contains dangerous amounts of mold toxins, and what do you do about it? It is important to test for toxic black mold in your body. You can either take a blood test (HLA [Human Leukocyte Antigens]), available through Lab Corps, to identify indirect markers of inflammation that are caused by mold or take a urine mycotoxin test through Real Time Laboratories or Biosign Labs to verify that mold is in the body.
Once you have identified a mold infection in your body, you need to remove the mold from your environment. Usually, the problem is in your home.
This Mold House
“The EPA has said that the air in our homes is two to five times more polluted than outside,” explains Moe Bedard, owner of Mold Safe Solutions, a nationwide business offering mold testing, inspections, consultants and education.
If you smell mildew in your home, you are actively breathing in millions of spores in every single breath. Your body is telling you by that smell that there is a problem. Unfortunately, people don’t look into the toxic black mold issue, and within six months to a year, the smell goes away because they become immune to it.
Another way to detect if you have a mold problem is to observe whether any weird symptoms, such as allergies disappear or ameliorate when you leave the house.
Determining the location and then treating the mold is not always as simple as it seems. If you can visibly see mold or mildew, such as in the shower, on tile or around the toilet, don’t turn to bleach, as “it doesn’t effectively kill the mold.” Bedard recommends a filling a spray bottle ¾ with warm water, adding a small amount of natural dish or laundry soap, a bit of white vinegar, and several drops of tea tree oil – this is a biocide that will kill 99.3 percent of all micro organisms, whether bacteria or mold fungus.
If mold is in your walls, it can be more difficult to determine. Call a professional mold inspector who can use an infrared thermal camera to detect mold in the walls or drain pipes. A mold professional will then treat the mold in the home. Take the time to ensure you hire a professional who will do the job properly — check references. If the mold is not properly removed, then it will continue to wreak havoc on your body. Depending on the amount of mold present, it may be necessary to leave your home for several days or weeks while the mold is removed. Once the home has been cleaned and continued exposure has been eliminated, then you can begin to treat the body.
Cleanse Your Body
Detoxification treatments and length of time depend on the person and type of mold and severity. For those who are bedridden or wheelchair bound, treatment will progress slowly, compared to those who are mobile. It is important to work with a doctor who specializes in fungal infections, as there are many things to consider and monitor when treating for mold toxicity.
When I learned about the results people had with hyperbaric oxygen, we decided to give it a try. Mold eats all of the nutrients in, and sucks the oxygen from, your body – it’s a parasite. The day after his first treatment, he was walking again. But it took many more sessions for him to begin to really get better, and we paired it with other natural treatments.
While treatments such as hyperbaric oxygen are a possibility, there are also more cost-effective ways to detoxify. Numerous anti-fungal medications are available that will kill the mold inside the body. Bedard also used Cat’s claw, which has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties, and grapefruit seed extract, which Bedard says works as a powerful anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory, to help remove the mold from his son’s body.
According to ToxixBlackMoldSyndrome.com, some common treatments include brown seaweed, a centuries-old remedy to remove toxins from the body, and zeolite, a natural crystal that forms when volcanic lava mixes with seawater. Dr. Jackson recommends lipid exchange protocol, which flushes out fat-soluble toxins, making the cell membranes healthier. This can be taken orally or through an IV.
It is essential to also take a binder, such as activated charcoal, in combination with any anti-fungal you use. If the toxic black mold is not excreted, then it will get reabsorbed and continue to cause illness. The binder will bind the mold together, push it through the GI tract, and eliminate the poisons through urine or bowel movements. It’s also vital to drink plenty of water to help the binder work properly.
Mold toxicity does not usually appear alone in the body. “In my eight years of practice, when I test for infection, I’ve never seen someone just have one pathogen,” Dr. Jackson recalls.
They come in groups – they are synergistic and work together. Often, mold toxicity is paired with infections, and silver – a broad-spectrum antimicrobial – can be an effective treatment. It’s known as nature’s antibiotic, and can work to remove the other pathogens in your body, such as yeast.
Speak Your Mind, Mold Your Life
Understanding that your flu-like symptoms are the result of mycotoxins (mold), is not an easy or quick process. According to Bedard, it usually takes patients several months or years to understand that their symptoms are not the result of an infection. He regularly counsels people who have received incorrect information and, once they understand the source of their illness, aren’t sure what to do. If untreated, toxic amounts of mold in the body can cause serious health problems, and can even lead to death.
“People are afraid to rely on themselves and information they learn,” Bedard cautions. “It is important to gather all of the information you need, and then rely on that knowledge to get the proper care.”
It is always important to be your own advocate. While it may take time to properly research your condition and know when to seek additional help, in the end, it could save your life.
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Gia Miller is a freelance writer living in Katonah, New York. She finds science fascinating, health & wellness essential and laughter necessary. Always asking “why,” Gia strives to learn something new everyday, passing this information on to readers whenever she can. She believes in the importance of appreciating life and taking care of yourself – the mind, body and spirit. When not writing, you can find her having fun with her kids, dancing with her friends or relaxing in her hammock.
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