Black Mold Sickness and Symptoms

By Viktoria Carrella

Black mold often appears in homes and in buildings as a result of water damage that is untreated. Black mold can be the source of many ailments and symptoms and can be the source of what is sometimes referred to as “sick building” syndrome. Today, there is a much higher awareness of black mold than in the past and many municipalities require black mold disclosures when houses are sold. Black mold can cause a wide variety of symptoms and side effects.


Black mold sickness and symptoms are caused by black molds that grow in homes in warm damp places. According to Jay Portnoy, MD, of Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, there are several different strains of mold that cause black mold to grow and are dangerous to a person’s health. These strains include penicillium, aspergillum, cladosporium and stachybochrys. All of these molds can cause black sticky and smelly molds that cause serious health symptoms that can initially be merely annoying and, if left untreated, can become substantially life threatening.

Common Symptoms

According to Jay Portnoy, MD, common black mold sickness and symptoms include respiratory illness, including asthma, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, headaches, fatigue and rashes. These symptoms are often caused by the chemicals that are being released by the black mold and disappear once a person leaves the building infested with black mold.

Advanced Symptoms

Advanced black mold sickness and symptoms, according to Dr. Jay Portnoy, include feelings that do not disappear when a person leaves the building, but have established themselves within the body. These symptoms may include central nervous symptoms of dizziness, headaches and rashes on the skin that are not easily explained or treated. Rashes may appear red with raised scales or appear in conjunction with serious asthma symptoms of coughing, wheezing and difficulty inhaling deeply.

Late Symptoms

While moderate and advanced black mold sickness and symptoms can be of serious concern, according to Dr. Portnoy, the most serious are for young infants, who may be subject to quick progression of the impact of the mold on their immune systems. This is of serious and considerable concern to parents. Other late symptoms can include cancer and stillbirths in infants as the molds attempt to kill any living creature that might be competition for space and for nutrients in the environment.


Aside from removing the black mold from the home, which may require the services of a professional mold removal company, medical intervention will probably be required for individuals suffering from black mold sickness and symptoms. According to Dr. Vandana Batra and Dr. Basim Asmar of eMedicine, medications commonly prescribed include voriconazole and caspofungin. Antifungal treatments are often the first line of treatment for rashes and other respiratory effects. Other treatments may include surgery to remove the fungal infections from lungs that have been invaded by the molds, to prevent further damage.

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