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Do as I Say, Not as I Do: My Journey with Mold Exposure and the Importance of Air Quality Testing

We've all heard the saying, "Do as I say, not as I do." Unfortunately, I recently became a living example of this adage. Despite my own advice and knowledge about the critical importance of air quality testing and environmental inspection before moving into a new home, I failed to follow through.

The consequences were severe, leading to a recurrence of mold exposure and a significant impact on my health and mental well-being. This experience has reinforced my belief in the necessity of understanding our environment to maintain optimal health.

My Story:

Moving into a new house is always a stressful endeavor, filled with a mix of excitement and anxiety. In the hustle and bustle, I neglected one of my most crucial pieces of advice: conducting thorough air quality testing. Shortly after settling in, I began experiencing a range of symptoms—fatigue, difficulty breathing, and anxiety. In bed I felt like there was a knife in my chest. I had not experienced this symptom before but I was aware it could be a symptom. It wasn't long before I discovered the culprit: hidden mold. In this case aspergillus.

Mold exposure is a silent threat. It can lurk in places you wouldn’t even think to check, such as behind walls, under carpets, and in HVAC systems. Unfortunately, traditional Western medicine often overlooks the significance of mold exposure, leaving many sufferers without proper diagnosis or treatment. Not every person reacts to mold the same way which can cause confusion in a household.

Understanding Mold and Its Impact:

Mold is more than just an unsightly growth; it can have serious health implications. Common indoor molds like Aspergillus, Penicillium, and Stachybotrys (black mold) produce mycotoxins, which can cause a variety of health problems. These include:

  • Respiratory issues: Chronic coughing, sneezing, and difficulty breathing.

  • Neurological effects: Headaches, memory problems, and mood swings.

  • Immune system suppression: Increased susceptibility to infections.

  • Skin irritation: Rashes and itching.

Research indicates that mold exposure is linked to a significant number of mental health issues. Studies show that individuals living in mold-contaminated environments have a higher incidence of depression and anxiety. According to a study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, individuals exposed to mold in their homes were 34-50% more likely to suffer from depression.

The Hidden Danger:

One of the most insidious aspects of mold is that it often remains hidden. Mold spores are microscopic and can spread through the air, making it difficult to detect without professional testing. Simply scrubbing the visible mold with bleach is not an effective solution. In fact, bleach can exacerbate the problem by releasing spores into the air.

Effective Remediation:

Proper mold remediation requires a multi-step approach: (Please don't do this yourself)

  1. Inspection and Testing: Hire a professional to conduct thorough environmental inspection/air quality testing and identify the presence and extent of any mold problem. ( be sure to hire a tester that doe NOT also do the remediation nor refer to remediation companies, this industry has a few unethical, opportunistic participants)

  2. Containment: To prevent the spread of mold spores affected areas are sealed off. Air scrubbers are used to keep spores from further spreading to the house or the space.

  3. Removal: Contaminated materials are removed and then all areas and surfaces are cleaned and treated with specialized equipment and chemicals. (Air scrubbers running) Proper protective gear worn!

  4. Repair and Prevention: The source of moisture (leaks, poor ventilation) are fixed to prevent future mold growth.

A Case Study:

I recently had a client who presented with high anxiety and paranoia with extreme depression and distress. Her husband encouraged her to go to counseling as she had become progressively unstable. Intake questions pertaining to moves and symptom onset and water damage are a part of my typical intake. In this case there was no known water damage, no recent move but symptoms had become progressively worse.

Shortly after we began to work together my client went on a two week vacation and reported feeling better at the end of the trip. This confirmed a suspicion that I had. Mold. After an an environmental/air quality inspection mold was discovered in the wall between the bathroom and bedroom due to a slow pipe leak that did not sow outside of the wall. The second mold was discovered I started her on a solid mold detox protocol. She stayed out of the house while the problem was professionally remediated and she began to recover.

The mold detox process is complex and not one to be managed alone. Re-toxing is something we want to avoid and the body needs to be prepared for the process before it starts. Great news her marriage is back on solid ground, her husband made a huge apology for his frustration and lack of understanding once things were so unmanageable. They nearly divorced.

You see, his system/body had a different capacity and ability to detox. My clients' bucket was full and her detox pathways were not functioning to help her clear the mold and the toxins were causing her much distress. Not every person responds the same way.

The Road to Recovery:

Dealing with mold exposure has been a challenging journey, and this was no my first experience. I am now back on the path to healing, focusing on detoxification and boosting my immune system. This ordeal has reinforced the importance of understanding our environment and taking proactive steps to ensure it is safe.

My story serves as a cautionary tale about the importance of air quality/environmental testing and inspection. Mold exposure is a serious issue that can have profound effects on both physical and mental health. By being vigilant and proactive, we can create a healthier living environment and protect our well-being.

Remember, "Do as I say, not as I do." :) Take the necessary steps to ensure your home is free from hidden dangers like mold. Your health and mental well-being depend on it.

Here's to a healthier, happier future—one where we learn from our mistakes and take better care of ourselves and our environments.

Stay informed, stay safe, and breathe easy.



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