Health Effects of Mold


Mold growing in your home can cost you a great deal of time, attention and money. In addition, there are many adverse health effects of mold.

There are three types of reactions to mold exposure:

  1. Allergenic
  2. Pathogenic
  3. Toxigenic

Besides the species of mold and the amount you’re exposed to, your level of sensitivity and your health prior to exposure influence how you’ll react. Every reaction, whether it’s minor or major, warrants immediate attention and action.

If you’re worried about your health, contact a certified inspector to check your home for mold. The sooner you do, the closer you will be to finding relief.

Health Effects of Mold Exposure

Allergenic reactions to mold


All mold is allergenic. Most people can handle some exposure to mold. Others are born sensitive and will experience an allergic reaction. Allergic reactions, ranging from mild to severe, are the most common symptoms associated with mold exposure.

  1. Mild: congestion, rash, and itchy or watery eyes
  2. Moderate: itchiness and difficulty breathing
  3. Severe: swelling, difficulty breathing and swallowing, abdominal pain, cramps, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness and mental confusion

Pathogenic reactions to mold


Pathogenic reactions to mold exposure are divided into three categories:

  1. Superficial: Superficial reactions are the most common pathogenic reactions to mold and include skin infections, nail infections and athlete’s foot.
  2. Subcutaneous: When you experience a subcutaneous pathogenic reaction, more serious than superficial, an infection develops underneath the skin.
  3. Systemic: Systemic reactions are the most severe of the pathogenic reactions and can be life threatening. The mold attacks the kidneys, lungs, liver or other organs.

Toxigenic reactions to mold


A toxigenic mold produces toxins. There are approximately 20 common toxins mold is known to produce. Just because a mold is toxigenic though doesn’t mean it’s producing toxins at every moment.

When you ingest or inhale these toxins, your chance of becoming ill increases. Upon exposure to toxigenic mold, you may experience the following effects:

  • Mucous membrane irritation
  • Skin rash
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Suppressed or weakened immune system
  • Acute/chronic liver damage
  • Acute/chronic central nervous system disorders
  • Hormone disorders
  • Cancer

Another serious condition associated with mold exposure is hypersensitive pneumonitis. This is an acute, or chronic, lung disease brought on by inhaling fungal antigens.

Who is most at risk of mold exposure?

We come into contact with mold in primarily three ways: inhalation, physical contact or ingestion. Because mold spores are so small, they easily make their way into our lungs, where they can trigger anything from a mild allergic reaction to a serious respiratory condition.

Every reaction to mold is different, as no two immune systems are the same. Some people are more sensitive to mold than others. Your genetic makeup and current state of health are both factors that will influence your reaction.

The following groups of people are especially susceptible to the adverse health effects of mold exposure, because their bodies may be weak to begin with:

  • Infants and small children
  • The elderly
  • Asthmatics
  • People with compromised immune systems

If you’ve been experiencing some of these symptoms and are concerned, call Mold Busters to schedule a mold inspection.