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Mold Blindspots Series

Part 5: Vulnerable Populations, Immune Compromised Patients

November 2, 2023

Immune Compromised Patients Are Predisposed to Severe Mold Sensitivity

By Cesar Collado

Immune compromised patients are mold sensitive and can react with multiple health related concerns.  It is known that a person with a healthy immune system can process reasonable amounts of mold, mycotoxins, or chemicals.  In these cases, the external barriers such as skin and mucous membranes might repel or catch foreign pathogens.  Once the pathogen enters the human body, digestive acids, antioxidants, or metabolism by the liver and kidney can remove toxins from our bodies. Pathogens that prevail these defenses will encounter either the innate or adaptive immune system to address the foreign invaders.  All of this can occur with minimal effect on the patient.

Immunocompromised individuals face unique challenges when it comes to their health and well-being. Some individuals have weakened immune systems, making them more susceptible to infections, illnesses, and complications. Understanding the needs and concerns of immunocompromised people is crucial in providing them with the necessary support and care. Learn more about the body’s reaction to mold in The Toxic Mold Series beginning with Part 1. Into and Through the Body.

Immune Compromised Patients encompass a diverse group:

  • Patients with congenital conditions (often diagnosed before or at birth)
  • Organ transplant recipients
  • Individuals with autoimmune disorders.
  • Individuals taking chemotherapy (medicine designed to kill human cancer cells and foreign antigens: oncolytic, antifungals, antivirals, antibiotics)

Vulnerable Populations, Immune Compromised Patients

These Immune Compromised Patients cannot effectively fight off pathogens, leaving them vulnerable to infections that might be relatively harmless to healthy individuals. This susceptibility places a significant burden on their daily lives, as they must take extra precautions to avoid exposure to potential sources of infection.

The Impact of Aging on the Immune System

Another significant portion of the population includes pregnant women and children with underdeveloped immune systems.  Elderly patients are also at risk.  As we age, our immune system becomes compromised.  This occurs due to the slower production of hormonal, immune system signals, and oxidative stress amongst others as we age. Read more about oxidative stress and decreased glutathione levels HERE.

Exposure to microorganisms or toxins can result in severe illness including death.  For example, elderly mortality was particularly large due to COVID-19.

Immune Compromised Patients

The Emotional Toll Requires Attention

Housing occupants, such as families, must be vigilant in addressing the indoor air quality for immunocompromised family members.  This extends beyond physical health concerns. Compromised immune systems often lead to increased anxiety and fear of contracting illnesses. This emotional burden can impact mental well-being, causing stress and social isolation. The need for an environment of understanding and support from friends, family, and healthcare providers becomes paramount in helping families navigate through these challenges.

Specialized Medical Care for the Immune Compromised

Additionally, immunocompromised individuals often require specialized medical care and household interventions. For example, they may need regular monitoring of their immune function, vaccinations, and prophylactic medications to prevent infections. Moreover, their treatment options for various illnesses might be limited due to the potential for adverse effects on their immune system. These limitations can further complicate their medical management and necessitate close collaboration between healthcare professionals and patients to make informed decisions about treatment plans.

Regular DIY Home Inspections are a Necessity

Homes that immunocompromised patients reside in must monitor humidity, moisture, and indoor air quality for safety.  HVAC systems must be maintained regularly and cleaned by professionals when needed.  Dehumidification, incorporating fresh air, and HEPA air purification are often helpful.  In addition, mold hygiene in the form of testing, cleaning, and small particulate removal is essential in most cases.

Since COVID, public health has played a vital role in addressing public safety concerns and supporting immunocompromised individuals. Creating an inclusive and accommodating environment can go a long way in ensuring their well-being. This includes implementing infection control measures in public spaces, such as proper hand hygiene and maintaining appropriate distancing. Educating the general public about the needs of immunocompromised individuals has become the norm, fostering a culture of support and inclusivity.

Families of immunocompromised individuals face unique challenges due to the patient’s weakened immune systems. Their vulnerability to infections and the associated emotional and physical burdens necessitates specialized care, support, and understanding. By acknowledging their needs and creating a supportive environment, we can empower and improve their quality of life.

Mold Blindspots Series

Part I: Superantigen Response to Mold

Part II: The Intricate Microbial Interplay Between Bacteria, Fungi, and Viruses

Part III: Microbial Contamination in Water Damaged Homes

Part VI: Hospital Acquired Infections

Part V: Vulnerable Populations, Immune Compromised Patients


Mold Blind Spots Series

This article series sheds light on often overlooked mold sensitivity triggers or mold blind spots. Look for our weekly published articles beginning mid-September 2023.

Mold Blind Spot 1:

The Superantigen Response to Mold

There are certain situations where mold induces a cytokine storm.  A cytokine storm is an intense inflammatory reaction that can lead to life-threatening conditions. The immune system goes into overdrive in producing inflammatory signals called cytokines.  This condition is difficult to diagnose and is often misdiagnosed in emergency settings.

Mold test Plates
Mold Blind Spot 2:

Microbial Coexistence

Most infectious conditions involve multiple microbial contaminations.  Single organism infections do occur in various environments. However, single fungal microorganism contamination is a rare phenomenon unless the specific mold has colonized and reproduced significantly in part of the human body.

Microbial soup
Mold Blind Spot 3:

What is Microbial Soup?

October 5, 2023

In most infection cases, biofilms are formed collaboratively by different microorganisms in order to mutually survive in the body. There are many common microbial combinations that are prevalent in water-damaged homes.

Hospital infections
Mold Blind Spot 4:

Hospital Acquired Infections

October 12, 2023

While hospitals would seem to be well maintained and regularly disinfected, many people develop infections after being in the hospital for a couple days.  The “nosocomial” infections are prevalent, often resistant, and can be life threatening.

Mold Blind Spot 5:

Vulnerable Populations

November 2, 2023

The presence of mold can pose significant health risks for immunocompromised individuals. Explore the unique health circumstances that impact a family’s well-being.

Mold test Plates
Mold Blind Spot 6:

Aspergillosis, A Common Fungal Infection

November 9, 2023

Aspergillus is the most common fungal infection that often involves hospitalizations. Aspergillosis infections involve significant reproduction and colonization inside the human body. Aspergillus is also a mycotoxin producing mold. It is helpful to understand fungal infections and the impact on health and potential treatment approaches.

Mold Blind Spot 7:

Candida Overgrowth

November 16, 2023

Candida albicans are single cell yeasts that are part of the fungi empire and also a component of the human microbiome. Candida overgrowth, often linked to diet and antibiotic usage, can have significant chronic and acute health implications.

Mold test Plates
Mold Blind Spot 8:

Understanding "The Body’s Toxic Load"

November 22, 2023

The human body is limited in it’s ability to process toxic substances like pollutants, heavy metals, and more. Learn how mold illness can result from single severe exposure, or cumulative minor ones, leading to severe mold sensitivity. The body’s “toxic load” is referenced when the body has reached its lifetime maximum of toxins and becomes hypersensitive to almost any allergen or toxin.