Your Immune System and Mold Infections: What You Need to Know
Updated: Apr 27
Mold can cause a significant amount of damage, not only to your home but to your health. Black mold can invade in as little as 24 hours after water damage occurs, and fungal exposure can be dangerous and even fatal to immunocompromised individuals.
Keeping mold out of your home is crucial when it comes to keeping yourself and your family healthy. Water damage significantly increases the risk of indoor mold exposure. The CDC is urging physicians to keep the possibility of mold infections in mind when treating individuals who show symptoms after a flood.
Who Is at Risk?
Although they are rare, invasive mold infections can be life threatening. They are difficult to diagnose, and most commonly affect individuals with weakened immune systems. Aspergillus, a genus of fungus that includes black mold, is the most common culprit, which is why mold infections are often referred to as aspergillosis.
People with major risk factors for developing a mold infection include:
Organ, blood, or stem cell transplant patients
Individuals with cancer, especially leukemia or lymphoma
People taking medications that affect the immune system (like corticosteroids and biologics)
If you or your family members are immunocompromised in any way, it is essential that you take measures to prevent mold growth in your home.
Invasive Mold Infection Symptoms
Both the patient and the type of mold affect the way an invasive mold infection presents. While the signs may vary, the following symptoms often indicate an infection from mold exposure:
Fever or night sweats
Coughing and sneezing
Shortness of breath
Dark scabs, blisters, or skin ulcers
If you experience any of these symptoms and believe you’ve been exposed to toxic mold, call your doctor immediately. The only way to determine for sure if you have an invasive mold infection is through medical testing.
Your doctor may issue blood and tissue tests, CT imaging, and a biopsy to obtain a culture specimen to determine if you’re suffering from a mold infection. If you have symptoms that affect your lungs, they may also require a respiratory secretion test.
Treatment for Black Mold Infections
The treatment method for an invasive mold infection varies, but possible options include:
Asymptomatic infections may simply be monitored by a chest X-ray, and antifungals prescribed in the event that the disease progresses.
These prescriptions are the standard treatment for mold infections, and may be combined with other drugs depending on the affected part of the body. For example, antifungals and corticosteroids may be used to improve lung function.
In extreme cases, it may be necessary to perform surgery in order to remove the fungal mass, especially in the case of infected lungs.
The earlier you begin treatment, the less likely it is that the infection will be fatal, so see a medical professional as soon as possible if you suspect that you have an invasive mold infection.
Mold Removal in Spokane
My Pure Environment provides free mold inspections, mold testing, and non-invasive remediation services to help keep you and your family safe. Our team will evaluate your space and determine the best way to eliminate and prevent mold growth. If you need mold removal in Spokane, call our experts at 509-213-1915 today!
Photo by Mladen Borisov on Unsplash used with permission under the Creative Commons license for commercial use 1/3/2023.