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Mold

Just after New Year's 2001, I had a new washing machine installed. The drainage hose was not properly attached and many gallons of water flooded onto my floors. The house was new, exactly eight days old. Water traveled both visibly, on the surface of the floor coverings and invisibly, under the vinyl, hardwood, and perhaps even particle board because there was water under the house.

Besides extensive property damage, the hassle of contractors and insurance companies, I incurred a mold problem, this despite what were stated to be adequate restoration measures. I'm highly allergic to mushrooms so many of my initial symptoms were similar to my allergic reactions which on a scale of 1 to 10 were 200. However, I was ill-informed about mold and unaware of the toxic and cytotoxic characteristics of some molds.

As it was explained to me, mold spores are already present in natural materials. They are Nature's way of composting dead organic substances. In fact, mold performs many highly useful functions as well as a number of very dangerous ones.

Stachybotrys has been in the news a lot. Families have had to abandon their homes following water damage. This happens to be one of the molds that is common inside homes and much more rare in the outdoors. When it infects an area, the surface turns black. More importantly, the spores themselves put out a toxic gas when they are digesting the organic materials on which they feast.

All the dormant spores need in order to become active is 24-48 hours of moisture. A dripping pipe or condensation are therefore open invitations for molds to become active. As anyone who has composted knows, water is needed to keep the biological activity going.

Internet searches do not offer a lot of conclusive information. There is consensus that many people are allergic to molds and that the allergies will abate when the person is no longer in the presence of mold. What is less generally agreed upon is the hazards of the digestive gases, which in my situation were detectable without any supersensitivity to odor. While many experts concur that stachybotrys and a few other molds have toxic by-products, there are many molds for which clinical data is completely lacking. Perhaps even more important is the fact that very little is understood about what happens when viable spores are inhaled and become resident in the body.

In the current issue of Alternative Medicine, there is an article on mycoplasma by Michael Guthrie, a pharmacist who has reported admirably on mold in relationship to chronic fatigue and Gulf War Syndrome.

Symptoms

While the most common complications of mold exposure are allergies and asthma, chronic fatigue, skin irritation, emotional irritability, upper respiratory and sinus problems, disequilibrium and disorientation, memory loss, speech impairment and/or slurring, lymphedema and cancer are possible consequences.

Mold is highly invasive and potentially lethal. It is also adaptable and accommodates itself to its environment, causing havoc wherever it is. In formal studies, sparse as they are, patients have responded to probiotics and antibiotics. While I am an avid proponent of intestinal flora, I do not like the idea of relying on antibiotics for cure. I believe that we are often misguided when using destructive methods to cure instead of immune enhancing protocols.

Outside of the body, mold does not stand a chance with dryness so once the causal factors are addressed, the mold should become dormant. This said, it is advisable to remove all severely affected building materials, including drywall, studs, particle board, carpets, and anything else that is discolored by mold. If more than a small area is affected, professional abatement should be performed by specialists trained in dealing with contaminated building materials.

Inside the body, drying out is obviously not an option nor are parts removal a satisfactory remediation measure.

Treatment

My own path with this process has been torturously winding. Most of the "experts" have limited understanding of the magnitude of the problem and even fewer solutions. I began by installing an ultraviolet unit in the heating ducts of my house. While I think this device has some merit, especially in changing the smell of the air in the house, I do not think it is ideal unless one is also concerned about formaldehyde and other potentially harmful substances that outgas in homes and offices.

Others recommended air filtration units. I honestly feel that while these are useful in limited spaces, they are cumbersome, expensive to maintain, and narrow in their applicability. I used various essential oils as mists (diffusers, spritzers, standing bowls of water) and feel they, too, have a place as does colloidal silver both as a mist and for internal use.

However, oxygen and ozone are more therapeutically promising because fungi, bacteria, and viruses cannot live in the presence of oxygen. I hence bought an ozonator and have to say it was a love-hate relationship in the beginning, but I like the results.

The first night with ozone, I lost 12 pounds. I assume that two things happened. First, because the air was less pathogenic, my adrenals could take a breather. As their pandemonium quelled, my kidneys were able to work more efficiently. Second, I believe a great deal of mold that had been inhaled bit the dust. In the morning, discharges from my sinuses and lungs ran like rivers when I first awakened; then, all the slurring that had been so worrying to me stopped completely. Little by little, I was remembering appointments and other things much better and my vitality picked up tremendously.

Other Strategies

Ironically, what was best for the house turned out to be best for me also. For many years, I have been writing about the relationship of environmental degradation to health. As rain forests and other botanical assets are destroyed, it is not only our medicine chests that are being emptied, but our protection against disease that is being compromised. We need plants to recycle air. We also need them for the capacity to store light and energy, but where air is concerned, the amount of available oxygen in densely populated areas is half of what people need in order to be healthy. Low oxygen favors the growth, explosive growth, of microorganisms at the expense of more complex structures such as animals and people. I want to introduce our pets and wildlife into this subject because they suffer as much as people. My dogs were not well either. One was sleeping nearly all the time and the other was vomiting almost endlessly. They are better now that the ozone generator has been put into operation.

I have been using essential oils all along, mainly lavender but also some cinnamon, oregano, eucalyptus, tea tree, ylang ylang, and helichrysum. I used the latter because I have been afraid of scarring my lungs through infection and violent coughing. It is important to use medicinal grade oils, not aromatherapy oils from conventional sources. I had been taking tremendous amounts of liver and kidney herbs because of the skin rashes and water retention, chlorella for promoting the mobilization of debris removal, Indigo Drops and Whale's Tears for immunity, jatoba for mold and fatigue, and astragalus for white blood cells, and some extra galangal and turmeric for good measure.

I'm not saying all this is necessary nor that it would help anyone. I am merely suggesting that mold is very dangerous and that anyone and everyone who is serious about health should address the causes of mold through proper abatement procedures. It is obviously not enough to crisis manage symptoms if the source of the problem continues to infect your space. I am also certain that when the environment in which you live is more supportive of health than disease that it will be easier to become well.



God bless!

 

Images from my own blood and the protocols I am using for myself



Jatobá, 1 oz., $


Sun'sSoma - Fungal Lung Formula


Sun's Soma, 4 oz., $

Mold Misery

 



 

 
 
         
     

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Detoxification Index || Mold Speculation

Disease as Sin Versus the Germ Theory

 
         
     

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Copyright by Ingrid Naiman 2001 and 2006

 
         
     

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