Mold is a fungus that can get into your body and grow. In some people, mold causes an allergic reaction, while in others it does not. For this reason, there is no one uniform set of symptoms indicating exposure to mold. Mold enters your body through your eyes, nose and mouth and affects your lungs, brain, skin and many other areas of the body. The severity of symptoms depends on the length of exposure, the quantity of mold and the severity of the allergic reaction. If you believe you have been exposed to mold, you should have your doctor run lab tests to check for mold in your body.
You might have a relative that you visit occasionally who has mold in her house, or maybe you just started a new job and notice you get a runny nose every time you go into the office. Early symptoms of mold exposure such as these tend to be mild. This may be because there are low levels of mold or because you have not been exposed to it for very long. Symptoms at this stage tend toward hay fever-like symptoms such as sneezing, watery eyes and headache. You may notice that your skin and eyes are itchy and irritated.
When you are exposed to mold over a longer period of time, symptoms may become more serious. For some this may mean a matter of months; for others, it may take years to develop these types of symptoms. These are often respiratory problems like asthma, chronic bronchitis and sinus infections. Mold also affects your cognitive processes, causing short-term memory loss and neurological disorders. You may feel extreme fatigue, run a low-grade fever, and experience swollen glands along with muscle and joint aches.
Those who face mold exposure in high levels over a long period of time often see extreme symptoms as a result. Severe symptoms would most likely be present in a person who lived in a house or apartment infested with mold for several years. Often, the only way to get rid of mold is to completely replace contaminated drywall, insulation and ceilings. This is costly, so many landlords are hesitant to do it; homeowners may find their insurance reluctant to pay claims on these much-needed repairs. As a result may, people end up living in and breathing high levels of mold and eventually incur severe symptoms such as blindness, brain damage, long-term memory loss and cancer.