Mold & Viral Lung Infections

By Nicole Papa

According to the Mayo Clinic, mold is found everywhere and has been around for as far back as history records. Lung infections may be linked to mold exposure but are more commonly the result of a viral infection in the upper-respiratory tract (URT), according to the University of Cape Town. While a mold lung infection is rare, an allergy to mold can cause chronic lung infections.

Definition

A mold lung infection occurs when a person inhales a larger amount of mold into the lungs. This is found typically in places of residence where mold is visible and apparent. The mold spores attach to the lungs, causing an abnormal intruding substance that results in a bacteria lung infection, according to the State of North Carolina.

A viral lung infection is commonly caused by the common cold. The common cold may be the result of acquiring one of more than 200 viruses. The viruses are transferred by human-to-human contact, breathing in a virus from the air or touching a surface infected with a virus.

Cause

The cause of a mold infection is overexposure to mold, while a viral lung infection may be the result of different health conditions, according to University of Cape Town. A viral lung infection may be the result of the common cold, tonsillitis, a viral sinus infection or the flu. These conditions begin in a different area of the body and migrate to the lungs.

Symptoms

According to the Merck Manual, common symptoms of a lung infection (either mold or viral) are coughing, shortness of breath, wheezing, chest tightness and excessive mucus buildup in the chest. A person may experience wet coughs in an attempt to rid the lungs of the fluid. If the infection goes untreated, a person may develop a fever.

Treatment

There is no cure for a viral lung infection. A person can use over-the-counter (OTC) medications to treat the symptoms, until the body effectively kills the virus. Common (OTC) drugs for a viral lung infection are expectorants, pain relievers and decongestants (if the lung infection affects the sinuses). A mold infection is treated the same way with the exception of effectively removing all mold from the home.

Considerations

Common symptoms of a lung infection are similar to allergic reactions. A person may have a severe allergy to mold, pollen, dust mites or pet dander. An individual who experiences these symptoms should not treat them himself, but should consult with a medical professional for an accurate diagnosis.

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