Side Effects of Mold Exposure: Will Mold Decrease Your Immune Response and Put You at Risk for COVID-19?
Lots of people today are worried about becoming sick with COVID-19. And a weakened immune system can increase your susceptibility to this intractable virus. So something that might decrease the immune response should not be taken lightly.
Studies have suggested that a fragile immune system is one of the side effects of mold exposure. Moreover, since mold spores are present in the natural environment, they can take hold inside your home.
Should you be concerned about a connection between mold and the immune system? We'll look into this question and try to determine how much risk mold exposure can cause and how you should proceed.
The Side Effects of Mold Exposure
Many people suffer no ill effects from household mold. However, those with mold allergies, weakened immune systems, or certain other health conditions can become seriously ill from mold exposure.
So, although not all mold types are equally problematic, you should treat visible mold in a home as soon as you notice it growing somewhere.
The effects of more dangerous kinds of mold on people with mold allergies or other conditions include:
- A runny or blocked nose; post-nasal drip
- Red, watery, or itchy eyes
- A dry cough
- Skin rash or dry, scaly skin
- A sore throat
Symptoms like these are generally not life-threatening on their own. But they can cause discomfort and possibly make people more vulnerable to or exacerbate other health conditions.
Are the Dangers of Black Mold Exposure Especially Bad?
Stachybotrys chartarum, more commonly known as black mold, is considered one of the more dangerous kinds of mold. This is due to the mycotoxins it produces. A mycotoxin is a toxic substance produced by a fungus, especially a mold.
According to a 2009 study, "Macrocyclic trichothecenes, mycotoxins produced by Stachybotrys chartarum, have been implicated in adverse reactions in individuals exposed to mold-contaminated environments."
How Likely Is Mold Exposure to Lead to COVID-19?
Interestingly, a web search for the terms "mold" and "COVID-19" pulls up several articles containing both terms. Upon looking deeper, though, there appear to be two explanations for this:
- The coincidence of a healthcare bulletin having short articles on both topics in a given issue
- That people with more severe COVID-19 symptoms might have comorbidity with a mold allergy
We found no articles suggesting a causal relationship between the two health conditions. Nonetheless, there is increasing speculation and slight evidence of a possible connection.
Experts debate whether prolonged exposure to certain mycotoxins is linked to more extensively researched health conditions, including:
- Immune suppression
- Congenital disabilities
- And other serious conditions
We don't yet know enough to determine the relationship between these conditions and mold exposure. We know much less about COVID-19.
Keep Household Mold in Check
Some people are more susceptible to the unpleasant side effects of mold exposure. And there is no reason to believe concurrent black mold exposure especially won't make them more vulnerable to infection by COVID-19 or other illnesses.
But, research on connections between mold and other, more familiar illnesses remains speculative at best. So it's much too soon to make determinations about a relationship between mold and COVID-19.
Of course, this doesn't mean that mold is not a severe problem in many ways. If you discover mold growing anywhere inside your home, call a mold remediation specialist ASAP. We'll take care of the problem!