Mould Illness: Is your home making you sick?

Have you become unwell after moving into a new home or office? You might have experienced sudden onset of symptoms, however, you may also find that symptoms develop slowly and progressively get worse. This may include the following symptoms:

  • fatigue
  • weakness
  • difficulty concentrating
  • memory impairment
  • joint pain and morning stiffness
  • shortness of breath
  • sinus congestion
  • excessive thirst
  • appetite changes
  • difficulties regulating body temperature
  • increased urination
  • blurred vision
  • tearing
  • ice-pick pains
  • static shocks
  • vertigo

You don’t need to be experiencing all these symptoms, but if you have a number of them, the answer may be due to mould exposure.  If you have already considered this but think it’s unlikely as others in the house are not unwell, think again. Approximately 25% of the population are genetically susceptible to becoming sick from mould. So, it’s common for one member of a household to be affected, while others remain well. Just because you can’t see mould doesn’t mean it’s not there. And if you review with your GP, it’s common for standard pathology results to come back looking pretty normal. These facts often mean that mould exposure is often not an initial consideration. But if you have a number of the aforementioned symptoms, it’s worthwhile investigating further.

The problem with mould is that it is often not visually apparent. Common signs beyond visually detecting mould growth include:

  • A mouldy odour
  • Moisture or condensation inside
  • Water leaks
  • Past flooding
  • Peeling, bubbling or cracking paint
  • Discolouration of walls, ceilings, floors
  • Air-conditioning units – particularly those not recently serviced
  • Your bathroom fan does not work
  • Outdoor planters that are against an exterior wall
  • Water features outside an exterior wall or internal water features
  • Poor drainage outside the home
  • Lumpy insulation in the ceiling
  • Water-damaged rugs, curtains or soft furninishings

Even if the above signs aren’t present in your home, you may wish to consider mould as an issue if you do experience a range of the discussed symptoms. There are further ways to test for mould, including home testing and specific pathology investigations to clarify whether mould is causing your symptoms. Even if mould is not the issue, there are other sources of biotoxins that can cause a similar symptoms picture. These include algae, dinoflagellate, and bacteria, such as Borrelia and Babesia.

So, if you do have an issue with mould or another biotoxin, what can you do about it?

There’s a whole range of natural approaches to address mould and other biotoxin sources. This includes dietary approaches, herbal medicine, and nutritional supplements to clear mycotoxins from the body and restore the balance of health to the body. It’s really important to remove yourself from the exposure, but that is often easier said than done. However, there is a lot you can still do whilst you remain exposed to reduce symptoms and prevent further progression of illness. If you have removed your exposure, but still aren’t getting well, it may be that you’re not clearing mycotoxins, which is common for those genetically susceptible. It may also be due to small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), which is commonly caused by mould exposure and can continue to drive many of the inflammatory symptoms even when the exposure is removed.

If you are questioning whether mould is an issue, then it’s most likely worth investigating further. Illness from mould and water-damaged buildings is common in Australia and when you have the genetic susceptibility it can make you very unwell. To find out more on how you can assess whether mould is causing your health problems and what to do about it, book an appointment.