What is Mold Illness? Also known as, Sick Building Syndrome.

Updated: Aug 12

Mold is a common component, in low levels, in many indoor and outdoor environments including our homes, workplace and schools.


A common misunderstanding is that water damaged spaces look run-down, but beautiful spaces can potentially be affected by water damage. All you need is a leak or damp building materials during the time of construction.


Much like bacteria in soil and on surfaces, mold is a normal part of life. Exposure to high levels, however, can rapidly become a huge health hazard. Doctors are only now beginning to understand the signs/symptoms of mold illness and the mechanism of how these mold toxins trigger sickness.


Mold illness, then, is a general term we use to refer to the illness brought on by exposure to the toxic substances found in water-damaged buildings. Other names commonly used in the medical literature for this illness include Sick Building Syndrome and Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome.


Current thinking suggests that the symptoms of mold illness are the result of a chronic inflammatory response triggered by toxic compounds found in these water-damaged buildings including:


  • Mold

  • Bacteria

  • Actinomycetes

  • Mold spores

  • Mycotoxins

  • Endotoxins

  • Microbial VOCs

  • Among others...

Illness from chronic exposure to this toxic soup is probably one of the most under-recognized causes of illness today.

In the following pages you will find essential information on mold illness, common signs and symptoms and steps outlining how to get well. Also included, are important resources that will assist you in your recovery.



Common Symptoms of Mold Illness

  • Breathing disorders (asthma, shortness of breath)

  • Depression

  • Chronic headaches

  • Chronic sinus infections

  • Coughing up blood or black looking debris

  • Diarrhea

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Ear infections

  • Electrohypersensitivity

  • Fatigue

  • Frequent urination

  • Hair loss

  • Increased experience of Static Shock

  • Increased thirst

  • Joint and muscle pain

  • Light Sensitivity

  • Loss of Appetite or Appetite Swings

  • Multiple Chemical Sensitivity

  • Nausea and/or vomiting

  • Neurological & Nervous Disorders

  • Numbness, tingling and shooting pains

  • Nosebleeds

  • Persistent fatigue

  • Short term memory loss

  • Skin rashes

  • Sexual dysfunction

  • Swollen glands in neck/armpit

  • Weight Loss and/or Weight Gain


These symptoms can often be misdiagnosed for a long period of time as they mimic or overlap with other conditions. It is not uncommon that our Lyme and Mast Cell Activation Syndrome patients are concurrently affected by mold and vice versa.


The diagnosis of Mold Illness is commonly missed by most physicians. It can be incorrectly labeled as one of many illnesses. The following is a small representation of these misdiagnoses:

  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

  • Fibromyalgia

  • Depression

  • Lupus

  • Asthma

  • Emphysema

  • COPD

  • Chronic Bronchitis

  • Chronic Sinusitis

  • Chronic Ear Infections

  • Arthritis

  • Sexual Dysfunction "ED" and Prostate Associated Disease

  • Neurological and Nervous Disorder

Symptoms from mold exposure develop over time from cumulative exposure. Individuals may remain symptom free until an unrelated stressor, either physical or emotional, may trigger rapid development of symptoms. Alternatively, the person may simply develop symptoms progressively from long-term exposure.



Reactions to Mold

Individuals exposed to toxic mold may become ill from one or more of the following reactions:

  • Hypersensitivity/Allergic response to the mold spores and other substances in the environment. These responses are typically histamine mediated allergic reactions that may require antihistamines and possibly allergy immunotherapy for desensitization.

  • Toxicity/Inflammatory response This category is perhaps the most dangerous due to its increasing incidence. Also known as Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome or Sick Building Syndrome, the illness that results from exposure to the toxins from mold and bacteria as well as the numerous chemicals found in water damaged buildings is quickly becoming an epidemic. These toxins trigger massive inflammation which over time begins to compromise the endocrine and immune systems.

  • Infectious Response Inhaled mold spores can seed and begin growing in the nasal and respiratory passages especially in individuals that may be immunocompromised. Appropriate cultures to identify the infection and treatment with antifungal medications/herbs are highly effective.

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