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juniper's avatar

Could this vague sickness be a mold allergy?

Asked by juniper (1905points) February 5th, 2010

I’ve been feeling weirdly sick every day for a few weeks now. Strange head pain and pressure, runny nose, sometimes watery eyes… similar to the way I feel from my springtime allergies.

My hunch is that it’s a mold allergy because we have a serious mold problem in our old rental house. I had to wash away tons of black mold on our bathroom ceiling yesterday. When I’m in the bathroom, my symptoms intensify slightly. Ugh. Seems pretty obvious that the mold could have something to do with this…

My question is: are my symptoms possible with a mold allergy? Most of the stuff I’ve read online says that mold allergies affect the respiratory system, and I’m not having problems, there. Also, would a moldy bathroom cause me to feel sick for most of the day, when I’m far from the offending mold? Can the spores “travel” with me or something?

Can anyone clue me in?

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13 Answers

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

Sounds like it could be – usually mold allergies are respiratory in nature – but you could be alergic to a by-product of the mold. Get some liquid bleach and dilute it (like a cup to a gallon) in water and wash the surfaces in your bathroom. If it gets better, talk to your landlord about the problem, because it’s a health issue and they have to fix it.

john65pennington's avatar

I can show you one house that has been moved into and out of by 17 families. the problem? mold and mildew. the house was loaded with it and it made all the families sick, especially the children. you have two choices: notify the owner and demand it be repaired or move. your health comes first. the landlord knows of this problem and is ignoring it, hoping it will go away and you will not notice it. seriously, this can have an adverse effect on your health. make the call.

juniper's avatar

Good point. My landlord is scary as hell but I should just call him.

The thing that threw me is that I’ve lived here for 2 years! Why is this suddenly happening now?

john65pennington's avatar

He may have placed a big bandaid over the problem two years ago, but its giving away now out comes the same old problem. call his bluff. read your contract. make the call. its his house and knows this problem exists.

casheroo's avatar

I was sick for months before we figured out it was a mold problem (we were in an apartment complex). I lived on Benedryl and other various OTC allergy meds, and saw and Allergist, and it became clear that something where I lived was making life miserable for me. To me, it felt like a constant sinus infection.
Mold is tricky. It affects people differently, but it’s best to get far far away from it.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

Um… “black” mold is considered to be the most dangerous type—a definite health hazard. I would say that especially if you have a lot of it in places where you can see (such as the surfaces in your bathroom), then you have a whole lot more of it in places that you can’t see (behind walls, under carpets, etc.).

You should definitely consider moving at the earliest opportunity, even to the point of breaking your lease if you have to. (You may be able to break the lease without penalty if you can point to the adverse health conditions.)

vincentcent's avatar

I was sick for about 5 weeks after Christmas. Somedays worse than others. It was was not bad enough to go to the Doctor. It was just run down, sinus, cough, runny nose, but no fever. I never went to the doctor. I thought it might be a mild cause of Carbon Dioxide poisoning. I have a gas furnace in the middle of my apartment and it has been cold this winter. I bought CO2 detector, no alarms. My second thought was that the dry air from my ceramic heater dry out my nose. A dry nose is more prone to infection. Perhaps I should have went to the doc. I may have knock caught a cold that knocked my immunity down and thing I just kept catching everything I was exposed to. Hind sight is 20/20.

La_chica_gomela's avatar

If you have a runny nose, then it is affecting your respiratory system. You breathe through your nose. respiration = breath. Get it?

Anyways, I’m allergic to mold, and your symptoms sound exactly like mine. I would say more likely than not you are as well. If your symptoms get worse when you’re in closer proximity to the substance, that’s a pretty good indicator. You can get prescription meds to make you feel better, but if it is an allergy, you won’t feel like yourself again until you get the mold out of there.

filmfann's avatar

You may now have a sinus infection from a mold allergy.
You should see a doctor, and wash the walls with Hexall!

lilikoi's avatar

Get the mold out! It is a health hazard and a giant red flag in the real estate biz. If it’s not affecting you now, it may in the future.

If there is that much mold in your bathroom, it does not have adequate ventilation and the lack of it is likely a building code and/or Department of Health violation. Does the bathroom have a window? If not, is there a ceiling fan that runs? Tell the landlord that he needs to deal with this immediately. If he is unresponsive, the easiest thing to do is probably move to a new place then report his property to the proper authority.

Have you always had the mold problem or is this a new problem?

vincentcent's avatar

Safe to say I am the odd man out. I gave my apartment an early spring cleaning. I did not find any black mold but it needed cleaning.

smiln32's avatar

I have an allergy to the mold that grows on books. Weird, I know. BUT, I don’t have the respiratory problems. I get headaches. My sinuses go crazy and swell up, I guess. At least for me, I have to be in the room with the books. I don’t doubt that the mold could travel with you if you got it on your clothes or something else that you carry with you. It’s not really worth it to second guess it, though. Either fix the mold problem or move to a cleaner/safer place. Allergies are nothing to mess with in my opinion.

Oh, and also make sure you know what kind of mold you’re allergic to. It could be that you are allergic to more than one.

mollysmithee's avatar

yeah, mold allergies can certainly come about from residing in leaky, badly ventilated houses. But there is a huge difference between common mold allergies and severe reactions to toxic mold. This article lists some of the main symptoms of the latter. Also, contact your landlord ASAP. He/she is responsible for taking care of that.

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