Mould and illness | Why mould can make you very unwell

Are you always tired? Do you have unexplained aches and pains that just won’t go away? Do you suffer from fibromyalgia, or chronic fatigue? Breathing problems, coughs, wheezing and allergies? Asthma? Brain Fog? Is your memory no longer as sharp as it used to be? Do you get those momentary brain ‘blanks’ and are you more anxious or depressed than you used to be?

Have you ever considered that your problem might be mould?

Mould is the often invisible, unconsidered menace that can undermine your health in myriad ways. It is frequently not on your doctors list of possible triggers for illness and it doesn’t show up in blood tests. Very few people think of mould as a threat, yet it is one of the most dangerous toxins you can be exposed to, and, according to estimates by the World Health Organisation, dampness and mould are estimated to affect 10-50% of homes in Europe, North America, Australia, India and Japan. In the US, the figures are particularly high, at approximately 50 - 80%    

Where there is water – and there are water pipes running through our homes that often leak without our knowledge – there is likely to be mould. Live in a rainy land and your chance of encountering mould is high. 

What is mould?

Mould comes in all shapes and sizes. It can be smooth and slimy, or raised and lumpy, and even covered in tiny hairs. It comes in shades of white or blue; yellow, orange or green. There are thousands of mould variations, springing up everywhere in different lands, and at different temperatures around the world. Most are harmless, but the mould that most of us recognise is the black mould, a toxic variety that causes many health problems. 

Remember those dark patches of greenish black that appear behind the clothes washing machine or where damp has seeped in through the walls? It thrives behind wallpaper, under your carpet or behind your old kitchen units. Mould loves damp houses, and most grow best in a temperature of between 10-35 degrees C. It thrives on lack of light and air, damp conditions and an environment that provides it with ‘food’ – plasterboard, dust, wood – anything with cellulose. It needs a combination of these factors to survive and multiply, but the key to understanding mould and successfully getting rid of it, is to understand that if you remove just one of them – game over. It simply can’t continue to grow.

But it is not the mould that you see that is the actual problem for your health, it’s the spores inside it that trigger the toxic response. These spores, or mycotoxins, spread invisibly through the air whenever they are disturbed, creating havoc and trailing health problems in their wake. 



'There are many mould exposure symptoms, because the illness affects multiple systems in the body, which in turn, causes  the patient to exhibit multiple symptoms’  Dr Ritchie Shoemaker

Make a list of any health issues that are currently affecting you. If you go away on holiday and feel considerably better while you are away, only for the symptoms to return when you come home again, pinpoint exactly what symptoms have flared up. Grade their discomfort on a scale of 1-10.   If you have several of the following symptoms, and nothing you have done so far clears them up, then ‘think mould’.

Muscle aches and joint pain
Kidney and bladder discomfort
Blurred vision and sensitivity to light
Breathing problems
Red or itching eyes
Continual cough
Frequent sneezing
Memory issues
Difficulty concentrating
Forgetting words
Mind blanks
Continual thirst
Metallic taste in the mouth
Mood swings
Feeling weak
Sinus problems
Feeling too hot or too cold


Might you have a mould problem?

Do you live in an old house? Old houses are often damp, and have airless attics and cellars where mould proliferates. Breathing in mouldy air can affect your health on a daily basis.

Is there a musty, mildew smell anywhere in it? Sometimes you can clearly see mould growing, but mainly it is invisible and more often than not you can’t. But you can usually smell it. Old damp socks? Mildew is an easily identifiable odour.

Have you had any leaks or floods? Mould flourishes anywhere there is water and where there are water pipes, there are often slow drips to provide a perfect mould breeding ground.

Do you have an air conditioning unit? In your house or at work? The moisture in the systems can trigger mould growth that is then spread throughout by the vented cold air.

Do you have plaster board or drywall in your home? Or at the office or at your children’s school? Combine damp with plasterboard and you create a feast for mould.


Mould Tests: How to check if you are affected

The Visual Contrast Sensitivity Test was developed by Ken Hudnall from the environmental agency of the USA. It measures how well you see details and contrast and a poor result may indicate problems with your neurons and brain function. The VCS test will show you a series of images of decreasing contrast and the record any contrast levels where you can – or cannot – identify specific patterns, shapes, or objects. In a person affected by mould, which damages the nerve cells, there will be a reduction in contrast vision. This can be managed and reversed, however, when mould toxins are removed. Regular monitoring with the test will tell you when you are clear of the infection. 


2.  Irlen Test
Check out and take their light sensitivity test. When you are affected by mould, you tend to become extra sensitive to light and sound. Irlen make coloured lenses that resolve any problem.

If you have a problem, download my book ‘Mould: The Invisible Menace’ from Amazon and take the simple steps that will restore your health and wipe out mould forever.


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Written by health advocate Sara Davenport, founder of one of the UK's leading breast cancer charities, Breast Cancer Haven. With over twenty years' experience in holistic health, Sara's digital dose of wellness teaches you to listen to your body, tweak your lifestyle and improve your health. 

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