In December 2019, a worldwide pandemic of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, SARS CoV-2 (“COVID 19”) had become the center of the medical, political, and media worlds. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a dramatic loss of human life worldwide and has presented unprecedented challenges to public health, food systems, and the work world. The economic and social disruption caused by the pandemic has been devastating; physically, socially, and economically. Millions of enterprises faced an existential threat. Nearly half of the world’s 3.3 billion global workforce have been at risk of losing their livelihoods. Because symptomology is very similar for COVID 19 and toxic mold sensitivity, it is important to understand the differences between and have the knowledge to have the ability distinguish the cause of illness to avoid misdiagnosis and adding additional human, financial, and opportunity costs. Long COVID Can Hide Mold Sensitivity.
SARS COVID Viruses
Severe viral respiratory illness caused by a coronavirus, called SARS-associated coronaviruses (SARS-CoV-1) was first identified in 2002. The first SARS outbreak originated in Asia and spread to other continents; however, the spread was contained, and crises was avoided. It had very little impact on the USA. In 2010, scientists traced back the origin of the virus to cave dwelling bats in a specific region of China. Approximately 9000 cases were reported worldwide, and the mortality rate was approximately 11%. The resulting observations from the global scientific community determined that the main way that SARS seems to spread is by close person-to-person contact. The virus that causes SARS is thought to be transmitted most readily by respiratory droplets (droplet spread) produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.1.
Long COVID-19 may be defined as patients who, four weeks after the diagnosis of COVID 19 infection, continue to have signs and symptoms not explainable by other causes. The estimated frequency is around 10% and signs and symptoms may last for months. COVID 19, has clinical parallels with other SARS viruses, mainly respiratory, musculoskeletal, and neuropsychiatric.
These symptoms include fatigue, shortness of breath, cognitive dysfunction, muscle and body aches, chest heaviness or pressure, skin rash, depression, and others. Symptoms may fluctuate and relapse over time. Based on the current limited evidence, disease management of long COVID-19 signs and symptoms requires a holistic, longitudinal follow up in primary care, multidisciplinary rehabilitation services, and the empowerment of affected patient groups. This is similar treatment to mold sensitivity.
The CDC recommends COVID testing to validate a diagnosis. COVID testing is readily available through a physician’s office and pharmacies also sell take home tests.
Fungal Disease and Mold Sensitivity Similarities
Fungal diseases and mold sensitivity often goes undiagnosed and can lead to serious illness and even death. The CDC has dedicated a week each year to fungal awareness to improve early recognition, reduce delays in diagnosis, and avoid misdiagnosis. Fungal disease is often mistakenly treated for another type of infection without improvement.
The CDC “encourages healthcare providers and patients to “Think Fungus” when symptoms of infection do not get better with treatment. The quicker doctors can diagnose the right illness, the quicker patients can be treated the right way.”
Fungal Disease Concurrent with COVID 19
Because COVID impacts the immune system, immunocompromised are much more susceptible to Fungal infections. The following opportunistic fungal infections were observed during the pandemic. Symptoms of certain fungal diseases can be similar to those of COVID-19, including fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Patients can have COVID-19 and a fungal infection at the same time. Laboratory tests are necessary to to diagnose either or both.
Awareness of the possibility of fungal co-infection with COVID-19 is essential to reduce delays in diagnosis and treatment in order to help prevent severe illness and death from these infections.
- COVID-19-associated pulmonary aspergillosis
- COVID-19-associated mucormycosis
- Increased spread of Candida auris during COVID-19 pandemic
- Invasive candidiasis in patients with COVID-19
- Fungal pneumonias can resemble COVID-19
My previous article, “Taking Mold off the Table”, emphasized the advantage of doing some sleuthing or triage to determine whether mold is present in your body or in your home utilizing some simple mold test plates. This is inexpensive and allows patients and doctors to focus on another diagnosis.
How to Help Your Physician Reach a Diagnosis Sooner
One key to making a significant difference in your diagnosis is to be aware of both Long COVID and fungal disease so that you can ask questions when you see your physician.
Long COVID 19 is a serious health condition that should not be ignored. “A very common feature is the relapsing, remitting nature of the illness, where you feel as though you recovered, then it hits you back”2.. Primary care physicians today have a well-established protocol to address an acute infection which is accompanied by a fever. Long COVID, however, becomes more complex. The key criteria for diagnosing Long COVID is the continuation of symptoms past 12 weeks that are not explained by an alternative diagnosis. In diagnosing Long COVID, physicians are encouraged to see patients at regular intervals (weeks), take a detailed medical history, perform a battery of blood and other diagnostics to rule out other causes. These visits usually take 30 minutes or more and interfere with a physicians daily scheduling. Long COVID is a serious diagnosis and requires both a patient and physician to track symptoms and perform diagnostics for COVID 19. A fever during the acute stage is very common with Long COVID and requires medical attention.
Taking Mold off The Table
Mold Sensitivity is a mutually exclusive condition from Long COVID. However, they can exist as a co-infection. Identifying mold in your home, and mold sensitivity, can be addressed early and inexpensively. A DIY mold inspection to identify mold or moisture problems along with mold test plates can provide a simple answer on whether you have a mold issue in your home or not. If you have mold issues at home, providing evidence to your physician is going to streamline the diagnosis, improve accuracy, and decrease financial, human, and opportunity costs.
It is important to move forward with mold testing if you suspect mold. Mold sensitivity symptoms overlap with Long COVID and could delay or stop improvement of Long COVID activity and severity. Since mold sensitivity and toxic exposure takes time for the body to excrete the toxins during detoxification, it should be addressed separately from other potential diagnoses. Given the lack of precise laboratory diagnostics for mold sensitivity, circumstantial evidence of the presence of amplified mold in the home is the best surrogate to fixing the home and body as it relates to mold sensitivity.
ImmunoLytics DIY Mold Test Kits
ImmunoLytics provides custom mold test kits with easy to use instructions, lab results, and valuable free phone consultations. You can build your own test based on your desire and needs. ImmunoLytics tests are priced competitively and provide a thorough lab analysis if desired. Expert advise is provided to customers as a free service. If you see visual mold, water damage, or encounter the musty smell of mold, mold testing is an inexpensive means to validate that your home has an issue that must be remedied for you to heal from your current illness, regardless of diagnosis. Any compromise of the immune system can lend your body to coinfection. When this occurs, it becomes much more complicated to diagnose and treat a patient.
You can purchase the test kit with any number of plates or swabs that you desire. Each test comes with easy-to-use directions, labeling for tracking, packaging to send samples to the lab, a detailed lab report, and free phone consultations to interpret results. You can also find solutions to help you clean and remove mold. BioBalance provides DIY remediation level hot fogging to address all surface areas in your home. CitriSafe provides the complete Remedy line of not-toxic, natural botanical cleaning products for your home and Citri-Rx’s advanced formulation nutraceutical supplements to aid in your recovery from mold exposure.
- Admirall et. al. “Long COVID-19: Proposed Primary Care Clinical Guidelines for Diagnosis and Disease Management. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. April 20, 2021.
- Meredith, Sam. “Long COVID now has a formal definition. Here is what you need to know. CNBC.com. October6, 2021.
- Think Fungus: Fungal Awareness Week. September 19-23. https://www.cdc.gov/fungal/awareness-week.html