Molds are fungi which can contaminate indoor surfaces, such as walls and ceilings, in buildings.
Wondering if mold can cause sore throat? That’s an important question to answer. Although the short answer is “yes”, it’s not always so simple. In some cases, sore throat could be caused by allergies or other environmental factors.
The good news is that while mold growth can irritate the throat in some people, it usually isn’t dangerous and can be remedied with a thorough cleaning of affected areas. Let’s take a closer look at the ways that mold causes coughs and sore throats. We’ll also uncover what you can do to limit your risk of throat irritation when living with mold in your home or workplace.
What is Mold?
Mold is a type of fungus that can grow on surfaces in places that are warm, dark and humid. Mold can cause many allergy symptoms such as sore throat, coughing, runny nose, itchy eyes and headaches. It can also cause respiratory problems such as asthma and bronchitis.
In this article we’ll look at what mold actually is, the health risks of exposure, and how to prevent it from growing in your home:
Types of Mold
Mold is a type of fungus that consists of tiny organisms found almost everywhere, both outdoors and indoors. There are over 100,000 different kinds of mold in the world, each playing an important role in breaking down dead material and recycling nutrients back into the environment.
Molds can be divided into three main groups: allergenic molds, pathogenic molds and toxigenic molds. Allergenic molds can cause allergic reactions but they’re not typically harmful to human health unless they become airborne and inhaled. Pathogenic molds can cause infections in people with weakened immune systems, while toxigenic molds produce toxins that can be hazardous if inhaled or ingested.
Common allergenic molds include Alternaria, Aspergillus, Basidiodendron, Curvularia, Epicoccum and Wallemia species; among the most widespread pathogenic molds are Aspergillus fumigatus and Candida albicans; while Stachybotrys chartarum is an example of a toxigenic mold often known as ‘black mold.’ While some of these types of indoor mold have associated with serious illnesses such as bleeding lung syndrome or pulmonary hemorrhage in infants, there is still research being done to understand the full implications for health when exposed to larger amounts for longer periods of time.
Symptoms of Mold Exposure
Mold exposure can pose a range of health risks, including sore throat. Although having a sore throat can be a common symptom of colds and flu, mold exposure can cause persistent sore throat. Additionally, there can be several other symptoms related to mold exposure. In this section, we’ll take a closer look at the types of symptoms that can indicate mold exposure and how to identify them.
Asthma is a common problem caused by mold exposure and can take many forms. Asthma is typically characterized by wheezing, difficulty breathing, and tightness in the chest. In more serious cases, it can be accompanied by shortness of breath, coughing, and an increased sensitivity to allergens. Other symptoms of mold exposure related to asthma include fatigue and allergies such as runny nose, sore throat, watery eyes, red itchy skin rash and sneezing.
In cases where a person’s asthma is triggered by mold exposure, mold spores or fragments may become lodged in their airways. If this occurs the person will typically have an increased sensitivity to airborne irritants that could trigger further respiratory problems. In some cases of severe asthma caused by mold inhalation a person may become unable to breathe normally when away from home. Asthma symptoms caused by mold can also include a worsening of existing conditions or sensitivities such as sinus infections or rhinitis last for more than three weeks at a time.
Treatment for asthma symptoms related to mold exposure should focus on reducing airborne particulates from the environment that could trigger further respiratory problems.
Exposure to mold can lead to a range of respiratory symptoms, including nasal and sinus congestion, itchy eyes, throat irritation, and coughing or wheezing. Those who suffer from asthma may experience an asthma attack due to the presence of mold spores. Respiratory symptoms often occur simultaneously with other physical signs of a mold infestation or an allergic reaction such as irritated skin or hives.
In addition, exposure to certain types of molds can cause extreme fatigue, headaches and trouble focusing. Some people will also experience nausea and dizziness when exposed to high levels of mold in their environment.
If you think you may be experiencing any of these physical symptoms related to mold exposure, it’s important that you consult a doctor right away in order to receive proper diagnosis and treatment.
Exposure to mold can cause a variety of skin symptoms in individuals, including rashes, hives, itching, and redness. While everyone’s reaction may be different, some general signs can alert you to the presence of potential mold in your environment.
If you have ongoing symptoms including redness, hives, swelling or itching that does not resolve quickly with over-the-counter treatments for allergy or skin conditions, it should be investigated further for potential fungal contamination. In addition to visible signs of irritation on the skin such as rash or blisters that may appear after contact with a moldy surface or item, prolonged exposure to mold spores can also lead to an infection called dermatophytosis which presents as raised red rings on the body known as ringworm.
If a person is experiencing any of these physical symptoms while in an area they are suspecting contains mold growth it is always recommended to contact a qualified medical professional or certified industrial hygienist right away. These professionals will help recommend additional testing and the necessary removal process for affected areas. Prolonged exposure without removal of the source can lead to more severe health issues and should be avoided if possible.
Mold exposure can cause a variety of respiratory symptoms, including sore throat. The most common symptoms of mold exposure involve the nose, throat and eyes. Exposure to mold can cause a sore throat that may be accompanied by irritation or redness in the eyes, wheezing and coughing, chest tightness and difficulty breathing. In some cases, severe allergic reactions may also occur.
In addition to causing a sore throat, mold exposure can lead to other conditions such as sinus infections, asthma attacks and bronchitis. People with weakened immune systems are especially at risk of experiencing more severe symptoms from exposure to mold. It is important to recognize the signs of possible mold exposure and contact your doctor if you experience any concerning symptoms.
Common symptoms of mold-related sore throat include:
- Chronic coughing
- Throat irritation
- Wheezing or difficulty breathing
- Foul aroma coming from the air ducts or crawl space
- Nasal congestion
- Itchy eyes & nose
It is important to seek medical attention if you have been exposed to a moisture issue in your home or place of work for an extended period of time, or have any sign or symptom related to mold exposure such as sore throat. Medical attention should also be sought out if the issue persists even after adjustments have been made to correct any moisture problems present in your environment.
Diagnosis of Mold Exposure
When it comes to diagnosing mold-related illnesses, there is no one process that fits all circumstances. It can be complicated to diagnose and treat a person suffering from the effects of mold exposure due to the wide range of symptoms and the difficulty of determining what is causing them. If you suspect that you may have been exposed to mold, your doctor may recommend a variety of tests in order to properly diagnose your condition.
The first step in diagnosis might involve a physical examination and review of your medical history as well as any recent exposures to mold or other allergens. In some cases, this is all that is needed to determine if you have an allergy or sensitivity that could be linked with the symptoms you are experiencing. Your doctor may also recommend laboratory or environmental testing such as air sampling or cultural sampling in order to detect potential sources of contamination.
In addition, certain medical tests can be used to help diagnose and monitor the effects of long-term exposure or acute reactions due to mold irritants and toxins. Such tests typically measure levels of antibodies related to allergies and asthma, concentrations of mycotoxins, inflammatory markers such as immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies, eosinophils, complement factors, pulmonary function tests (PFTs), x-ray imaging studies such as computed tomography (CT) scans, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, bronchoscopy studies or other specialized functional tests depending on the symptoms reported by a patient.
Depending on what your doctor finds during diagnosis and evaluation of your condition relative to possible mold exposure he/she will recommend further treatment plans including medications for acute symptom management for allergic responses. If chronic issues are uncovered then insurance companies might cover costs associated with monitoring sensitivities through periodical testing as well as providing additional treatments if necessary in order for optimal health benefits moving forward.
Treatment of Mold Exposure
If you have been exposed to mold, it is important to seek medical attention and begin treatment as soon as possible. Most physicians will recommend a course of antibiotics to treat any bacterial infection that may have developed as a result of exposure. In addition to treating any infection, your doctor may also recommend other treatments such as decongestants and antihistamines to help reduce your symptoms.
If your home or workplace has become infested with mold, it is important to take the necessary steps to eliminate the source of the problem. Cleaning up standing water and removing moist materials like insulation and drywall are good first steps in preventing future mold growth. After completing these tasks, you should then concentrate on creating a healthy indoor environment that supports adequate ventilation and humidity control in order to limit exposure and reduce the risks associated with prolonged exposure.
It is possible for mold spores from outside sources or an indoor environment to linger in the air, so if you experience persistent sore throat symptoms do not hesitate to see your doctor. If necessary, allergy testing can be done if there is any suspicion that an underlying allergy is causing the sore throat instead of mold exposure.
Prevention of Mold Exposure
Mold exposure can be prevented by limiting or eliminating the causes of mold growth. This can include maintaining humidity control in your home by using proper ventilation, controlling moisture levels, and regularly cleaning and inspecting the house. Additionally, it’s important to fix any plumbing leaks and seal any areas around windows, doors, or other points of entry for water. It’s also essential to regularly review home maintenance checks such as checking outdoor drains for clogs or blockages which may contribute to mold growth as a result of high humidity.
Furthermore, certain medical conditions or environmental allergies can also increase the risk of developing a sore throat due to mold exposure. Therefore it is recommended that you consult with an allergist should any reactions appear after potential exposure. Some symptoms that should direct towards visiting an allergist include:
- Coughing fits
- Ear infections
- Chronic sinusitis
- Breathlessness due to an asthma-like reaction leading to fever associated with respiratory distress
In severe cases death can also occur if not properly treated through medicated inhalers and/or steroids prescribed by a doctor which ultimately reduce the swelling within the bronchi to allow air flow into the lungs more easily.
Studies have shown that exposure to mold and bacteria can contribute to the development of a sore throat. It is important to identify your potential risk factors, such as living in an area with a higher concentration of mold spores, allergies or asthma, in order to best protect yourself. Treatment of mold-exposure related sore throats vary depending on the individual patient’s condition, but some effective strategies include:
- Avoiding or reducing exposure to potential irritants.
- Using humidifiers with (HEPA filtered) air purifiers.
- Using sinus rinses or gargles with salt water.
Since molds can cause allergic reactions that can be hard to distinguish from sore throat symptoms caused by other sources, it is important to speak with your healthcare practitioner for a comprehensive diagnosis if your symptoms persist for more than two weeks. With the help of your doctor and other medical professionals, you can create an effective plan for minimizing and managing these symptoms going forward.