Mold illness causes a lot of generic symptoms that can be mistaken for a variety of other illnesses. If you have unexplained yet severe allergies, if you feel listless and foggy all the time, or if you notice changes in your behavior, you may have a mold illness lurking underneath. Chances are that you have never heard of such a thing as a mold illness before. But unfortunately, molds are everywhere, and so are the illnesses caused by it.
Mold illness is a blanket term given to all human and animal illnesses caused due to the pathogens that typically grow in damp, wet places in our homes, including bacteria and fungi. The first identified case of mold disease is over a hundred years old and comes from animals – farm animals had runny noses, skin irritation, bleeding, and death all because of mold growth on straw.1 Mold illness is hard to spot because of its generic symptoms. Incidentally, it is usually a psychiatrist who spots mold illness, because of symptoms such as brain fog, lack of attention and lethargy.
7 Common Symptoms Of Mold Illness
1. Brain Issues
Mold, first and foremost, affects the brain and nervous system. In children, this manifests as a lack of attention, impulsive nature, irritability, and trouble finishing a task.2 You may argue that these are all general childhood characteristics, and this is precisely what makes mold illness so hard to identify. However, parents can notice small changes in children. So, when in doubt, see a doctor.
2. Speech Issues
In some people with mold illness, speech issues are quite common. While they may not be noticeable at first, slower speech than usual and a feeling of speaking with a “thicker tongue” is common.3
3. Emotional Issues
Those with mold illness often find it hard to express empathy when a situation demands it. They may also come across as being silly and unreasonable. They may fail to recognize social boundaries and make people uncomfortable.4 This can perhaps be attributed to the effects of the disease on the nervous system. The key is to look out for behaviors that are not usually characteristic of that individual.
4. Worsened Existing Allergies
A chronically runny nose is a trademark feature of mold disease, although not exclusive to it. People with asthma may find their condition exacerbated because of indoor mold, and people with allergies may find that their allergy symptoms get worse with little to no exposure to the actual allergen.
5. Itchy Eyes
Quite like other allergies, unexplained itchy eyes are often due to indoor mold. If you feel like your itchy eyes are getting worse with no apparent cause, it is best that you see a doctor about it.
6. Moving Places
If you have recently moved to a new house, your existing mold illness can become worse if the new place also has mold problems. This is because you will now be exposed to different strains of mold, and they can cause reactions of their own.5
7. Breathing Difficulties
This is perhaps the most advanced symptom of a mold illness that is still too generic to identify. Allergies cause some congestion, as do a host of lung infections. In moderate-to-advanced cases of mold illness, people have slight difficulty trying to draw a breath.6
If one or more of these symptoms are happening to you, it is time to discuss your concerns with a doctor and let professionals come take a look at every corner and crevice of your home. Once you remove the root cause of the problem, you are bound to feel much better.