Mold is no laughing matter and can turn into a serious problem if not addressed. We’ve previously discussed mold and its detrimental effects, several times, however, have you ever wondered can mold grow in your lungs?
Surprisingly, the answer is yes, mold can grow in the lungs and lead to long-term damage. Particularly, a mold named Aspergillus, commonly found in soil, has been known to grow in lungs. Still, mold won’t grow on everyone’s lungs. Individuals who have unusually large spaces within their lungs, often caused by lung disease, are highly susceptible to mold growth.
What Is Farmer’s Lung Disease and What Are the Symptoms?
There is a name for this sensitivity to mold and its known as hypersensitivity pneumonitis, or HP. The HP develops over time, and “Farmer’s Lung” is the most common form. It’s a serious allergic reaction to mold spores in the air, often found in crops and hay. The mold spores become attached to the dust particles and are inhaled while farmers work with crops. Farmers can inhale up to 750,000 spores a minute!
Symptoms are most severe immediately after contact and continue if treatment is delayed. Those who work around potentially moldy crops are more susceptible to Farmer’s Lung disease. These cases account for over 30% of adults disabled by respiratory illness.
Precaution Is Key
According to a study conducted by the University of Leicester in England, most people with asthma are allergic to the mold of this kind. Most of the individuals who tested positive for this allergy actually had this mold growing in their lungs. The results were eventually published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.
For individuals who have asthma or lung disease, it is even more important to take precautions to avoid exposure to mold. Some ways to prevent mold inhalation is to wear a respiratory mask and to stay indoors during warm windy weather. Your home is another popular place for Aspergillus to grow, if you have significant water damage, so make sure to keep your home mold-free.
Symptoms of Mold in Lungs
There are certain warning signs to look for that indicate mold growing in the lungs. So, what are the symptoms of mold in your lungs? We thought you’d never ask:
- Chest pain
- Night sweating
- Joint pain
- Coughing up blood
- Weight loss
- Muscle pains
- Itchy/watery eyes
Also, referred to as lung fungi, there are two other specific types that include histoplasmosis and coccidioidomycosis. The histoplasmosis and coccidioidomycosis have the same symptoms, and if you experience any of them, visit your doctor immediately. Since mold is not seasonal, symptoms can be experienced at any time. The severity of symptoms depends on how compromised your immune system is.
Keep Mold Away from Your Home
Although allergies are known to emerge during the midsummer months, the mold is present year round. If you fall in any of the listed categories as a susceptible individual, you may want to get a professional mold inspection. And the best way to prevent any of these symptoms is to keep mold from growing in your home.
Mold in a home can be a result of leaks in the basement plumbing, moisture buildup, or damp carpet. While you may want to save money by using a home test kit, a licensed professional will be able to better detect mold, and find the root cause of the problem. Installing an air purification system will also help remove and destroy harmful mold particles in the air.
Mold exposure is rarely fatal, but increased exposure causes symptoms to worsen over time. Even though our bodies have natural defense mechanisms, like coughing, that are meant to prevent these mold spores from entering the body, they often bypass them and seep into the lungs in overwhelming amounts. They eventually settle in the lower lungs, where most gas exchange takes place.
As the body reacts, scarring takes place in the lungs and a last-ditch effort in the form of an allergic reaction to the attack. Whatever you do, don’t self-diagnose. Make sure to visit your doctor and follow up!
In the meantime, if you have any questions about mold, its causes, the ways it affects you, and how our high-quality products and engineering processes can help you, give us a call, today!