Let’s face it. Mold is never a welcome sight and can be extremely hazardous to your health. Now, there is a multi-faceted illness that is attributed to mold exposure called CIRS, or Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome. What is CIRS anyway? The mold exposure generates microorganism and chemical agents called biotoxins that can often be found in water damaged buildings. Mold is just one of the biotoxins but they also include fungi, bacteria, mycobacteria, beta – glucans, mold spores, and endotoxins.
Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker first discovered this illness, formally a family physician from Maryland. Dr. Shoemaker uncovered a connection between a mysterious illness of his patients and these biotoxins. If you were wondering is chronic inflammatory response syndrome real, you’re not alone.
According to Dr. Shoemaker’s research, around 25% of the population is genetically prone to developing this disease. However, two conditions must be met, that include exposure to the biotoxins and a triggering event that activates the immune system. It is estimated that 2% of the population have genetical predisposition to develop a multi-symptom, multi-system illness from exposure to biotoxins.
This means that chronic inflammatory response syndrome is widespread, and 1 in 4 people have the potential of developing it. For those individuals with a high degree of susceptibility to CIRS, the immune system does not recognize these biotoxins and cannot remove them, resulting in inflammation throughout the body.
With this in mind, here are some signs of chronic inflammatory response syndrome:
- Memory loss / difficulty concentrating
- Cough/shortness of breath / flu-like symptoms
- Disorientation / confusion
- Extreme thirst
- Itchy eyes
- Sore throat
- Chronic sinus congestion
- Muscle aches
If you’ve experienced any of these symptoms and are in an environment with the mold, such as leaky plumbing, high humidity without ventilation, or other high moisture areas within a building, you should follow up with your doctor right away. Regardless of the causes, chronic inflammatory response syndrome is serious and with lasting consequences.
Tools for determining mold exposure
If you are unsure if you’ve been exposed to mold, there are VCS tests, or visual contrast sensitivity tests available on Dr. Shoemaker’s website at low cost. At a cost of only $15, the FACT, or Functional Visual Acuity Test is available and uses a scoring algorithm to detect the likelihood of CIRS exposure. Another VCS test is available at VCSTest.com with the scores provided for free with an optional $10 donation for more detailed results and analysis.
These are accurate screening tools used to determine whether a patient has been exposed to chronic inflammatory response syndrome but it is strongly suggested to see a CIRS aware physician. It is important to note that there are other ways of contracting CIRS that are not limited exposure to a water-damaged building. These routes include:
- Spider or tick bite: Ticks and spiders can carry all kinds of diseases but the most common include Lyme disease, babesiosis, and CIRS, to name a few.
- Ingestion: Reef fish can contain dinoflagellate algae, which produces Ciguatera
Toxin. When reef fish eat other fish with this toxin, it becomes a risk that can eventually develop into CIRS. Reef fish include snapper, grouper, and black sea bass, amongst others.
- Contaminated water: Direct contact with contaminated water in fish kill areas brings exposure to toxins such as Pfiesteria and Cyanobacteria. Even inhaling airborne toxins from this source can cause CIRS.
Recognizing the symptoms and routes of contamination to determine whether you have been exposed to CIRS is the first step. Most often, patients are misdiagnosed by traditional medical practitioners that are not familiar with chronic inflammatory response syndrome. CIRS is often confused with depression, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, and irritable bowel syndrome.
Due to our commitment to customers first, and specialization in developing liquid silicone molds for medical applications, we at Mr. Mold stay abreast of how our customers are impacted. We build a complex state of the art molds for the medical industry but recognize the importance of health promotion and disease prevention.