For the past fourteen years the house next door to our home has been a rental house.  It has housed a variety of interesting  people.  We had a family from Russia where only one child spoke a little English.  There was the family where the father was on the “most wanted” poster list  by the  FBI. He was a master con artist and stole a lot of money from innocent people with false business opportunities.  He got caught andwas sent to a Federal Penitentiary.  Then there was the group of three young male adults and one female adult living together and were going to college but mostly partied in the outdoor hot tub naked. The last renters was a family with six children.  They were heavy into sports.  Especially soccer.  We watched their children for eight years practice kicking their soccer ball against our fence improving their skills and growing up.  They recently purchased a house and moved.Except for the last family that stayed in the home for eight years, all of the other renters didn’t stay very long before they moved.  As I was helping the last family move out, we got to talking about the last eight years. I told them I would miss them and my grandchildren would miss playing with their children.  The parents told me they couldn’t wait to get out of the house and proceeded to tell me that the house was full of mold.

That explained why there was such a turn around on people staying in the house.  And, why at times I smelled Clorox when I went passed the house.

Apparently they had a constant battle with  mold and were constantly wiping down walls and ceilings with Clorox, plus using it in washing their clothes.  It also explained the allergies the entire family had.  In 2009, the World Health Organization issued guidance for Indoor Air Quality:  Dampness and mold.  The family complained to their land lord but he never did a mold abatement for the house henceall of the Clorox they used over the eight years trying to keep it in check.Studies suggest a potential link of early mold exposure to the development of asthma in some children.  Selected interventions that can improve housing conditions can reduce morbidity from asthma and respiratory allergies.

The US Center for Disease Control recommends a common-sense approach for any mold contamination existing inside buildings and homes. Common health concerns from molds include hay fever-like allergic symptoms.

Individuals with chronic respiratory disease (chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, asthma) may experience difficulty breathing.  Individuals with immune suppression may be at increased risk for infection from molds.  Molds are among the number one pathogen for respiratory problems.  I was stunned when I was told that their landlord would do nothing about the mold problem.  Apparently there was a water leak in the basement foundation that constantly allowed moisture and water to seep into the house.  An ideal environment for culturing mold.

Mold can cause significant to severe psychological symptoms: like sobbing your heart out while laughing and saying you are fine but just can’t stop crying.  Loss of concentration can become so severe that it can become incapacitating.  Inability to focus for any length of time, loss of memory and strange, inappropriate moods can all be attributed to mold.

Summer mold spores can peak in the air at about the same time each season depending on the moisture-weather.  Think about Spring and Autumn—peak seasonal times for allergies or could it be mold?  Cladosporium herbarum is a common mold spore that travels in the air.  It has been responsible for some individuals who are bipolar to going into extreme disruptive behavior and requiring heavy psychotropic drug treatment.

The mold spore Clavicseps pupurea was responsible for the outbreak of Ergot poisoning which grows on rye during  the early history of the Puritans.  It secretes an LSD-like mycotoxin.  Hallucinating, having fits, and making wild accusations are some of the symptoms of this mold.  Puritan leaders accused and hanged nineteen women, tortured one man and four women died in custody from this toxic mold.  The Puritans thought the people were possessed by the Devil.

There are vast numbers of people who are diagnosed as psychiatrically deranged, put on heavy drugs and then are kept drugged for the rest of their life when the real problem is hidden environmental mold.  Stachybotris chartarum also known as Stachybotrys atra is one of the worst molds found in homes.  It looks like a greenish-black growth on the walls where there is damp.

Exposure to Stachybotris may produce multiple symptoms including headache, sore throat, diarrhea, fatigue, dermatitis, and depression.  Removal from the environment and remediation of any water damage, will allow these health effects to subside.    The symptoms are caused by the mold secreting toxic Trichonthecenes.

Stachybotris is a mold in houses that can cause individuals to feel a bit odd,  and sick.  Exposure to this mold is considered an emergency and should be confirmed and then remedied.  Don’t ignore this mold.  The effects from it can be permanent and life-changing brain damage.

It pays to know your molds:

1.       Penicillium Notatum  is the bluish-green mold commonly found on moldy food.  It is present all year long.  Its concentrations reach a peak in wing and spring.  It is usually associated with indoor allergies.

2.      Cladosporium Herbarum is the most frequently encountered mold in the air.  It rises in the spring and peaks in late summer and autumn. It is frequently found on uncleaned refrigerators, foodstuffs, window frames, straw, houses with poor ventilation and in low damp areas.

3.      Aspergillus Fumigatus is found in soils, leaf and plant litter, decaying vegetables and roots, bird droppings, tobacco and stored sweet potatoes.  Its air spores are relatively low compared to other molds.

4.      Alternaria Alternata is found in soil, foodstuffs and textiles. Black spots on tomatoes and other foods sasre attributed to this mold.  It is usually an outside mold and appears when conditions are warm.

5.      Trichophyton Rubrum and Pityrosporum Orbicculare are yeasts related to Candida.  They live within the skin in certain types of eczema.

6.      Botrytis is not related to Stachybotris except in a general sense.  It causes “noble rot” and is much prized by wine growers and wine drinkers.

Autumn is prime time for air born mold spores.  Tree leaves fall and begin to decompose—a perfect medium for mold.  Plants and vegetables begin to die at the end of the growing season and start their decay cycle.  As the weather gets cooler homes are kept closed with not as much air flow.  Humidity from bathing and cooking are slow to dissipate and add to potential mold build up in bathrooms, basements, and kitchens.  Many times what is labeled cold and flu is actually a mold situation and not a virus.

Begin a  basic nutritional Immune system support program early to establish intervention from mold, cold and flu.  As part of your basic nutritional Immune system support, reduce sugar consumption, stress, and if possible eliminate soft drinks, and caffeine.  Take Basic plus and Kela I daily as part of your support program for a strong, healthy Immune system.  Drink enough water daily to equal one half of your body weight in ounces.   Get seven to eight hours of sleep each night.   This is the beginning of a sound support program for your Immune system and body.  There are many more things that can be added for nutritional support but this is a good place to begin.

To your health,

Dr. Janeel Henderson