Health Impacts of Exposure to Molds, Mildew, Viruses & Bacteria
Exposure to mold & mildew can cause reactions and wide range of health problems depending on overall health, age and the amount of time an exposed person spends in the car.
The elderly, pregnant women, infants and young children, people with allergies, chronic respiratory illness and/or chemical sensitivities and those with weakened immune systems are most likely to experience severe health effects from mold.
The most common health problems associated with exposure to mold for the general populations are:
- Eye, nose and throat irritation
- Runny nose, sinus congestion, frequent cold symptoms
- Frequent Headaches
- Increased asthma attacks
- Allergic reactions
It is important to note that continued exposure to mold may result in adverse effects to the nervous system.
The most severe health risks are caused by the Aspergillus and Penicillium strains which produce mycotoxins. Mycotoxins may cause a variety of short-term as well as long-term adverse health effects. This ranges from immediate toxic response and immune-suppression to the potential long-term carcinogenic effect. Symptoms due to mycotoxins from airborne spores (particularly those of Stachybotrys chartarum) include dermatitis, recurring cold and flu-like symptoms, burning sore throat, headaches and excessive fatigue, diarrhea, and impaired or altered immune function. The ability of the body to fight off infectious diseases may be weakened resulting in opportunistic infections.
Exposure to Bacteria and Viruses
Many human illnesses are caused by infection with either bacteria or viruses. Disease-causing varieties of bacteria are called pathogenic. Many bacterial infections can be treated successfully with appropriate antibiotics, although antibiotic-resistant strains are beginning to emerge. Immunization is available to prevent many important bacterial diseases.
A virus is an even tinier microorganism that can only reproduce inside a host’s living cell. It is very difficult to kill a virus. That’s why some of the most serious communicable diseases known to medical science are viral in origin.
To cause disease, pathogenic bacteria and viruses have to gain access to the body by inhalation, contact or ingestion
The body reacts to pathogenic bacteria by increasing local blood flow (inflammation) and sending in cells from the immune system to attack and destroy the bacteria. Antibodies produced by the immune system attach to the bacteria and help in their destruction.
Viruses pose a considerable challenge to the body’s immune system because they hide inside cells. This makes it difficult for antibodies to reach them.
“When airborne mold spores are present in large quantities, they can cause allergic reactions, asthma episodes, infections, and other respiratory problems. Continued exposure to mold may result in nasal or sinus congestion, eye, nose, or throat irritations, and adverse effects on the nervous system.”
“All molds have the potential to cause health effects. Molds can produce allergens that can trigger allergic reactions or even asthma attacks in people allergic to mold. Others are known to produce potent toxins and/or irritants,â€ according to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).”
“These toxins have irrefutably been shown to exhibit considerable cytotoxicity. When these substances come into contact with other cells“ whether of microorganisms or human, cell death will occur. Humans may end up as innocent bystanders in the mold’s efforts to thrive.”
American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (AAAAI)Â