Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"What kinds of health problems can mold cause?"
I was helping my friend work on his basement because he's redoing it. There was a lot of mold on the walls and other things in the basement. Was I breathing that stuff in? Can it make me sick? Could a doctor tell me if the mold did something to me?
Molds in essence are fungi. Molds are often found in places with poor ventilation, dark, dampy environments such as basements, bathrooms, kitchens, cellars and places with poor cleaning. Mold is common and is found in nature, is a normal component of dirt and dust. It is found in several forms and some mold is used in cooking (flour yeast) and in making antibiotics. Generally, people exposed to mold for short amounts of time and limited number of times tend to be alright. People who are immuno-compromised may have unfavorable reactions to mold. If you are commonly exposed to mold you may have allergic type symptoms such as wheezing, runny eyes, dry cough, scratchy throat. You may also have increased tiredness, fatigue and other non descriptive symptoms. Generally after exposure to mold you should contact your primary care physician, especially if you have the above symptoms. Your primary care provider may in turn refer you to an allergist or infectious disease doctor who may have additional strategies. It is important to realize that exposure to mold is extremely common. It is also important to realize that it may be harmful. Please see your physician for more specific information about how it could affect you.
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