The damaging effects of mould
Sneezing, coughing, feeling down and tired? While these sensations might make you think cold or fall allergy symptoms, you may want to keep an eye on how you feel over time. If they tend to linger or get worse whenever you’re at home, this could be a sign that you’re being exposed to mould.
We spoke with Michael Rubino, a mould and air quality authority as well as author of The Mould Medic, an Expert’s Guide on Mould Removal. Rubino points out that in addition to respiratory issues, mould exposure has actually been linked to early onset dementia and Alzheimer’s in previous research. “We spend 90% of our time indoors,” he says. “We’re learning new things every day about all the effects our homes can have on our health, but all signs are kind of leading into the same place – that if we want to improve our health, the air we breathe has a very profound effect on it.”
It’s true: especially if you haven’t been paying attention to the sneaky spots mould grows, being exposed to mould over time can lead to serious consequences. While routinely cleaning is extremely important for controlling the mould in your home, also be aware of these silent signs of mould exposure before any illness gets worse.
You may experience allergy-like symptoms
While allergies are growing more common, allergy-like symptoms such as sneezing, coughing, itchy eyes and throat, stuffy nose, skin irritation and rashes are also early signs of mould exposure – also known as mould toxicity. “Usually it starts off with unusual allergies,” says Rubino. “They notice they’re getting sick more frequently; maybe their nose is stuffy [or] they’re having allergic-type symptoms.”
Rubino says these mould exposure symptoms can pop up with various timelines – sometimes immediately, or sometimes with delayed reactions. If you’re experiencing chronic allergy-like symptoms while you’re at home, talk with your doctor.
You may have trouble breathing
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), exposure to mould can also trigger asthma symptoms such as shortness of breath and wheezing. This can be a common symptom of mould exposure even for those who don’t experience allergies on a seasonal basis.
The CDC also points to previous research that found exposure to mould can make any pre-existing asthma worse.