Is CIRS Caused by Mold? What Are the Symptoms?
Updated: Jan 25
Do you feel tired or short of breath all the time? Do you have allergy or flu symptoms that never seem to go away? You might be suffering from mold exposure. At least 1 in 4 people can develop CIRS mold symptoms if they live or work in a building contaminated with toxic mold. Recognizing the symptoms of Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS) and taking swift action could greatly improve your health and quality of life.
What Is CIRS?
Also known as Mold Biotoxin Illness, CIRS is a multi-symptom condition that affects multiple systems in your body. CIRS is caused by toxic biological agents (biotoxins) that you breathe, ingest, or encounter from an insect bite. Although exposure to toxic molds is the most common cause, CIRS can also be triggered by other types of biotoxins.
Causes of CIRS include:
Recluse spider bites
Bites from ticks with Lyme disease or co-infections
Exposure to infected blue-green algae
Poisoning from shellfish infected with a dinoflagellate
Inhaling toxic mold spores
Some people are more vulnerable to CIRS, depending on their genetics. If your immune system does not have the ability to make the right antibodies to fight the biotoxins, you can develop CIRS. About 25% of adults and children are susceptible to CIRS mold symptoms. However, prolonged exposure to toxic mold can overwhelm even a healthy immune response.
If you live or work in a water-damaged building, chances are you’re getting exposed to biotoxins from mold on a daily basis. Your body will react by making cytokines—the proteins that fight biotoxins. Over time, the constant production of cytokines will weaken your immune system and cause chronic inflammation, or CIRS.
What Are the Symptoms of CIRS?
Because CIRS affects multiple systems in your body at once, it causes a wide variety of symptoms. There are 13 different symptom clusters that can indicate CIRS. If you have symptoms from at least six of those categories to get a positive CIRS diagnosis.
CIRS mold symptoms can include:
fatigue, weakness, stiffness
shortness of breath, coughing, congestion
headaches, body aches, joint pain
confusion, disorientation, difficulty concentrating
light sensitivity, red eyes, blurred vision
skin tingling, numbness, static shocks
difficulty regulating body temperature, appetite swings, mood swings
frequent urination, diarrhea, abdominal pain
excessive thirst, night sweats
Because CIRS mold symptoms can indicate a fairly wide variety of other illnesses, it often gets misdiagnosed. Your doctor will need to rule out conditions like fibromyalgia, ADHD, chronic fatigue, Alzheimer's, leaky gut, and more. However, several specific tests can help determine whether or not you have CIRS.
Tests for mold-related illnesses include:
Blood tests for a deficiency of VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor)
Hormone testing for low levels of MSH (melanocyte stimulating hormone)
Visual Contrast Sensitivity (VCS) testing to check your neurological responses
Mold Testing and Remediation
Recognizing CIRS mold symptoms and getting tested can help you get treatment, but you’ll also need to deal with the mold itself. For mold testing and remediation services in Santa Clara and San Francisco, California, call on the experts at My Pure Environment. Our complete inspection includes full lab testing for toxic mold, and our mold removal services are quick and demolition-free. Start breathing easier—schedule a free initial inspection today.
Photo by Doğukan Şahin on Unsplash used with permission under the Creative Commons license for commercial use 11/27/2021.