Eliminating Mold Early and Inexpensively
By Cesar Collado
Over the past decade, I have worked with many healthcare and home contractor professionals that have dedicated a significant share of their lives and careers to helping patients manage environmental illnesses like chronic mold Illness. I try to help in my own way. Last week’s article, “Overlooking the Obvious,” discussed the challenges facing physicians when encountering mold symptomology that is redundant with other chronic illnesses. Today, I am reaching out to people who suffer from debilitating symptoms and believe that mold may be present in their homes. To begin, it takes little effort or money to inspect your home for moisture issues and visual mold. Read about conducting a simple DIY Mold Inspection in your home HERE.
Quick and Inexpensive Game Changers to Stop Chronic Illness from Mold
The understanding and recognition, by both physicians and patients, that mold might be the source of debilitating symptoms is alarmingly low. I ask every mold sensitive patient several specific questions about their symptoms, environment, and home history of water damage. Responses are sometimes very surprising. Many ill patients can specifically recall water damage incidences over time without an understanding that there may be a direct connection between the moisture problems and illness.
Most patients begin their journey with a primary care physician visit and do not consider their home as a potential issue to their health. Few patients will correlate specific symptoms to areas of their home. They rarely narrow symptoms to areas of the home where symptoms peak. Rooms like the laundry room, a bathroom, or basement can harbor moisture issues. This information is crucial in finding the long-term solution for the mold exposure and worth exploring. However, the topic seldom gets discussed during the physician/patient dialog.
Further, mold can impact an individual in a home without affecting others who live in the same home. In addition, people who have reached their “Toxic Load” are sensitive to many environmental, chemical, as well as EMFs (Electromagnetic Fields) exposures. Any exposure (known or unknown) can trigger severe symptoms, such as headache, dizziness, and the list goes on and on.
Helping Sufferers of Chronic Illness from Mold
It is impossible to not have empathy for these people because they are truly suffering and vulnerable. Whether it is chronic sinusitis, dizziness, migraine headaches, fatigue, cognitive dysfunction, or other mysterious symptoms that elude primary care treatment, their quality of life is low. Chronic illness often impacts the entire family and puts strain on wellness, careers, finances, and relationships.
Another fact that cannot be ignored is that many people suffer for years, decades, and sometimes lifetimes without being diagnosed with environmental illness. Patients often see multiple specialty physicians that normally focus on specific symptoms, utilize different diagnostics, and prescribe different medications. You can read more about this phenomenon HERE. In reality, it is not surprising to meet a patient with several different physicians providing different diagnoses. Each may prescribe different medications.
Regardless, if mold or another environmental toxin is the cause, most medical treatments are unlikely to work if the patients do not leave or fix their homes and the toxic exposure continues. In addition, the challenges of detoxification will take time and may require diet, medication, and behavior changes, as well as financial expenses, and family cooperation. The human and financial costs are enormous.
There are physicians who specifically treat environmental illness. We recommend that you look at the list on the International Society of Environmentally Acquire Illness (ISEAI) website. Alternatively, you can google your city or zip code and “environmental doctors” to find them. These physicians will take the time to listen and ask questions. Detoxification takes time and involves dietary and nutritional supplementation. Chemical binders, nutritional supplements, diet, and other treatment modalities are required to aid the body in metabolizing and excreting toxins. It can take months or longer. However, in the end, patients often find relief and can eventually get their lives back.
Taking Mold off the Table
A reality of environmental illness is that very few patients will be diagnosed, treated with a single medical intervention, and achieve wellness in a timely manner. Physicians who treat environmental illness report that almost all new patients have seen as many as 15 different physicians over decades before they were referred to an environmental physician who gets them well. Patients sometimes show up with large bags of medication bottles they take. It also takes time sleuthing to determine the source of adverse effects due to disease or drug interactions. In addition, there are over 7,000 rare diseases without clear diagnostics available that can take years to find the right physician to treat. Rare disease diagnosis are often complex, relying on newer medical and diagnostic capabilities and may not have an FDA approved diagnostic available.
Misdiagnosis Are Very Common
Misdiagnosis occurs when the systemic symptoms of mold sensitivity resemble another chronic disease or there is bias due to physician specialty. This results in pharmaceutical treatment regimens. In many cases, medications can take a long time to begin working or have limited efficacy. For example, antidepressants can take weeks and efficacy rates are often less than 60%. Mold sickness can be a diagnosis of exclusion. Patients can be diagnosed and treated for several diseases unsuccessfully before mold or toxins are considered. This makes life very difficult for mold and chemically sensitive patients. Debilitating symptoms can be coupled with medication side effects or drug interactions. Patients continue down a debilitating path. Hopelessness, anxiety, and depression are common.
Physicians will obviously treat infections as they have clear symptoms and diagnostics. This is mostly on an out-patient basis using antibiotics that are primarily developed for bacterial infections. In the event fungal infections are identified, they may be treated on an inpatient basis in a hospital. This is because serious infections like aspergillosis, candida aureus, and candidiasis in blood can be resistant to many antifungals and the condition has a high mortality.
Environmental Specialists Take Time to Ask Questions
Despite the universal logic behind removing the root cause of any disease, most allopathic (Traditional Western) physicians spend limited time with patients discussing their medical history. Most physicians stick to quick diagnostics and rely on experience and habitual medical solutions. Physicians may have 20-40 patients scheduled in a day with staff and processes to achieve goals as efficiently as possible.
Conversely, environmental illness physicians will take the time to discuss the patient’s medical situation, medical history, and home history. These physicians and practitioners make up a small minority of physicians. Most operate as integrative medicine physicians, or functional medicine practitioners. They will schedule time to ask questions and probe deep. However, many health insurance plans will not cover these physician visits. At times, it may be considered reimbursable when it is a referral. Prior to setting an appointment, patients should check their insurance coverage.
By addressing mold early in the process, many patients can get to feeling better over months verses years. In some cases, patients can get better with limited spending on mold testing, inspections, cleaning, and repairing moisture and mold problems early. By being vigilant and maintaining your home, you can avoid very expensive remediation that requires remodeling and may cost tens of thousands of dollars. Patients always have this opportunity to avoid expenses, opportunity costs, and any family strife. More important, there are times where the solution is obvious and elegant in simplicity. If the physician and patient identify the mold and its source, together, they can put a plan in place to address the source of mold quickly.
What Can You Do?
- Reflect upon your current symptoms and medical history to identify chronic illnesses that are consistent with your symptoms.
- Do you have a sinus or respiratory infection?
- Do you have any debilitating symptoms that impact your quality of life? These include but are not limited to chronic fatigue, cognitive dysfunction (memory, brain fog, dizziness), or respiratory infection.
- Conduct a short DIY inspection on your home looking for mold or moisture issues. This can take a few minutes to 60 minutes, depending on the apartment or home.
- Obtain mold test plates or swabs to conduct visual plate tests in your home where visual mold or moisture is identified. Subsequently, you can send these plates into a lab for $33 per test for specific mold identification and recommendations.
- Do a “Tap Test” on the patient’s clothes. Here, a petri dish is tapped against the clothes the patient is currently wearing. These are sent to a lab for analysis. A significant mold presence on clothing provides evidence that there is some level of systemic mold in their living environment. This is often followed up with similar testing of air, and swab testing of any visual mold in the living environments.
- You can also take a swab or Q-tip and test the inside of your nostrils. This is like the Covid testing protocol. If you use a plate, simply wipe the swab on the agar and seal the plate for testing.
- Ask your doctor for an ALCAT or Immunoglobulin testing to identify antibody response to allergens in your system. These tests provide evidence of food and mold allergies.
While these tests are not scientifically conclusive, together, they provide circumstantial evidence of mold exposure and sensitivity. Patients with positive results can be provided with a medical and home treatment plan utilizing effective practices that are comparatively inexpensive and involve removing mold sources from their homes. These costs can be substantially lower than the expenses for pharmaceuticals, insurance deductibles, diagnostics, and procedures.
Patients are encouraged to remediate mold where they live and breathe.
It is encouraged for patients to rinse (irrigate) the mold from their sinuses with Agrumax Dietary Supplement, and wash linens and clothes with Remedy Laundry Detergent. In the event you want to ensure mold is removed from your home completely for a period to determine if you feel better, HavenFog will reduce mold counts and thoroughly reach all surface areas in the home. It takes time for mold to get a foothold, so patients have the chance to feel better in the known absence of mold and have time to get help to identify and fix any moisture problems in the home.
Cesar Collado is a former pharmaceutical R&D senior executive, venture capitalist, and seasoned strategy consultant in biotechnology and technology industries in general. He currently works as an advisor to multiple technology start-ups and advises several companies with technology solutions, including companies that provide healthcare and other services for environmental illness. Cesar worked with MicroBalance Health Products from 2014-2019, where he had responsibility for strategy, revenues, marketing, and finance, as well as, writing all original content for the company’s newsletters during his tenure.
Cesar is passionate about awareness and treatment of environmental illness as a significant, unmet and misdiagnosed, medical need. He has partnered with Integrative Physicians, Bau-Biologists, Environmental Inspectors, Mold Remediators, HVAC IAQ Specialists, and other professionals to generate educational materials for the environmentally ill. Cesar currently writes original content for ImmunLytics, Bio-Balance, and CitriSafe: Protocols and Products for a Healthy Life.