As I watch the horrible aftermath of the victims of Hurricane Sandy, I know from my own personal experience that flooding leaves behind an enemy so dark and treacherous that few people understand the far reaching devastating effects.
Mold – The Hidden Enemy ~ Suzanne Somers
Our family had our own experience with mold. My son was in a wheelchair, my husband and I were in and out or the ER, him with heart pain, me with vomiting, and my daughter had chronic sinus infections and headaches. Even the dog was throwing up and couldn’t walk… she was losing her hair and so were several members of my family.
Department of Health and Mold
When the dog was as sick as the rest of us, I decided to call the Deptartment of Health. I thought they would be a good resource for answers and point me in the right direction. I was transferred to the environmental health department of the DoH.
I told them I thought mold might be making us sick. They told me that mold causes allergies and asthma but mold couldn’t be causing the symptoms I described. They wanted to know if anybody had the sniffles.
I asked them about testing for mold and they told me there was no test that they could recommend. They said if I suspect mold, I should look for a leak. No leak, no mold. They asked about condensation on the windows because the house may not be ventilated properly, do we have a fan over the stove? They told me if there is no water, there is no mold.
They also told me there are no set levels for indoor air quality and mold is everywhere therefore testing is not recommended.
They suggested many other things could be causing the symptoms. VOC’s, carbon monoxide, cleaning products, any other new products that have been introduced… the symptoms I was describing could not be caused by mold. They were sure of that.
We did test for mold. One of the many molds that was making us sick was Stachybotrys… we had 234,000 spores per cubic meter of air. Stachybotrys produces trhichothecene mycotoxins.
Mycotoxins, by-products of fungal metabolism, have been implicated as causative agents of adverse health effects in humans and animals… Consequently, fungi that produce mycotoxins, as well as the mycotoxins themselves, are potential problems from both public health and economic perspectives.
…During the 1970s and 1980s, the trichothecene mycotoxins gained some notoriety as putative biological warfare agents when they were implicated in yellow rain attacks in Southeast Asia.
The Department of Health needs an education in the symptoms that mold causes. The advice they are giving people is negligent misinformation. Here is some more accurate information on the signs and symptoms of someone who is living with toxic mold.
“Stages of Mycotoxicosis: For Inhalation of Mycotoxin”
- burning sensation in the mouth, tongue, throat, palate, esophagus, and stomach
- burning within the eyes, ears and nose
- tongue feels swollen and stiff
- vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain
- Excessive salivation
- fever and sweating
- mental depression
- loss of short-term memory
- loss of problem-solving ability
- various neuropsychiatric manifestations
- meningism – the triad of nuchal rigidity (neck stiffness), photophobia (intolerance of bright light) and headache.
- severe malaise and fatigue
- loss of temperature control
- hyperesthesia or numbness of body areas
- cerebellar dysfunction including hypotonia, attitude and gait, dysmetria, asthenia, vertigo, disturbances of speech, and loss of balance
- visual disturbances, floating objects, light sensitive, lack of tears, burning and itching
- Ears: burning, itching, and loss of hearing
- Immune and hematopoietic: progressive loss of white and red cells including a decrease of platelets and hemoglobin, and high susceptibility to bacterial, mycotic and viral infections, debilitating chemical and allergies
- Gastrointestinal: metallic taste in mouth, tooth loss, gum problems, stomatitis, sores in gums and throat, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or constipation, excessive flatulence, abdominal distention, hepatitis, pancreatitis, and diabetes mellitus
- Respiratory : burning and bleeding from nasal membranes, respiratory difficulty, asthma, extreme susceptibility to cold, flu and pneumonia
- Skin: thinning of hair on head, burning on face, rashes, irritation, and edema
- Renal: proteinuria, possible hematuria
- Reproductive: irregular ovarian cycles, increased menstrual flow, fibroid growths in uterus, cystic development inmammary glands, and tumors of mammary and prostate glands
- Musculoskeletal : somatitis, muscle weakness, spasms, cramps, joint pain, enlargement of joints in hand, and clubbing of fingers.
- Cardiovascular: chest pain, palpitations, ruptures of atrial walls, myocardial infection and aneurysm of arteries
- The skin and mucous membranes may be icteric, pupils dilated, the pulse soft and labile, and blood pressure may decrease or increase
- Visible bruises may appear on the skin
- Thoughts of suicide may be prominent
- Degeneration and hemorrhages of the vessels marks the transition from the second to the third Stage of the disease and may not be consistently observed.
- The degeneration of the vital organs including serious respiratory insufficiency or asthma and CNS degeneration will take the patient into Stage three along with development of necrotic angina.
- The transition from the second to the third Stage is sudden.
- resistance is already low, and violent severe symptoms are present, especially under the influence of stress, or associated with physical exertion and fatigue
- lung, brain or heart failure (heart attack), with or without the appearance of petechial hemorrhage on the skin of the trunk, the axillary and inguinal areas, the lateral surfaces of the arms and thighs, the face and head, and in serious Cases, the chest
- Aneurysms of the brain or aorta may be observed by angiography
- Hemorrhages may also be found on the mucous membranes of the mouth and tongue, and on the soft palate and tonsils
- severe interstitial thickening or scarring of the lungs, or respiratory failure
- Nasal, gastric and intestinal hemorrhages and hemorrhagic diathesis may occur.
- Severe degeneration of the skin on the face, eyelids, and loss of lashes is also often present
- difficulty and pain on swallowing
- Necrotic lesions may extend to the uvula, gums, buccal mucosa, larynx, vocal cords, lungs, stomach, and intestines and other internal organs such as the liver and kidneys and are usually contaminated with a variety of avirulent bacteria
- Bacteria infection causes an unpleasant odor from the mouth due to the enzymatic activity of bacteria on proteins
- Regional lymph nodes are frequently enlarged
- Esophageal lesions may occur and involvement of the epiglottis may cause laryngeal edema andaphonia (loss of voice). Death may occur by strangulation
- Bronchopneumonia, pulmonary hemorrhages, and lung abscesses are frequent complications
- Tumors may develop of various organs, including skin, urinary bladder, brain, mammary gland, bone, immune, liver, prostate, possibly resulting in death.
- The most commoncause of death is brain failure due to both direct effects of the mycotoxin on the central nervous system and indirect effects due to respiratory failure or lack of oxygen to the brain caused by the severe caustic inflammation (fibrinous exudation) reaction with the lung tissue, rendering it non-functional.
- The course and duration of this Stage 3 depends on the intensity of the poisoning and complete removal of the patient from the premises or source of mycotoxin. Therefore, the duration of the recovery period is variable. There is considerable cellular necrosis and scarring to all major organs of the body in which cells will not regenerate, including the brain, spinal cord, eyes, lung, heart, liver, pancreas, kidney, adrenal, and blood vessels. If the disease is diagnosed during the first Stage, hospitalization is usually unnecessary, but allergies and asthma should be monitored closely. If the disease is diagnosed during the second Stage and even at the transition from the second to third Stages, early hospitalization may preserve the patient’s life. If however, the disease is only detected during the third Stage, death cannot be prevented in most Cases.
Croft, W. A., Jastromski, B. M., Croft, A. L., and Peters, H. A., “Clinical Confirmation of Trichothecene Mycotoxicosis in> Patients Urine , In: Journal of Environmental Biology 23(3), 301-320 (2002).
2. Forgacs, J., and W. T. Carll : Mycotoxicoses. In : Advances in Veterinary Science. Academic Press, New York and London, pp 273-372 (1962).
The above is a list of the symptoms described in the paper “Stages of Mycotoxicosis: For Inhalation of Mycotoxin”