Throughout the years, molds have caused various damaging effects on the human health. The pathogenic strains of mold can gain access to the body in different ways which include the foods being eaten, open skin and even the air. Take note that molds are also capable of emitting poisons known as mycotoxins that can trigger various health issues that range from inflammation of the sinuses and headaches up to serious diseases such as cancer.
Most respiratory illnesses are triggered by inhaling mold spores in moldy or flooded environments on the farm or in construction sites. In such cases, the inhalation of mold can lead to sinus irritation and respiratory illness with coughing, wheezing, runny nose, itchy eyes and headaches. You can manage these symptoms by enrolling in a first aid class today.
Oftentimes, insidious illness can develop by inhaling the mold spores. A good example is farmer’s lung which is caused by mold spores that thrive in hay, silos or stored grain. An attack occurs 5-6 hours after exposure with symptoms such as malaise, fever, pain or tightness in the chest and shortness of breath. Unless proper treatment is provided, lasting damage can occur in the lungs.
Gastrointestinal issues are more often due to eating food contaminated by molds. This is not just limited to the visible mold but the mold toxins or mycotoxins that typically contaminate certain foods and invisible to the naked eye.
It is important to note that mycotoxins are capable of causing illness and death in both animals and humans. Corn is one of the foods that are usually contaminated with mycotoxins. Take note that corn thrives in climates that are prone to perennial contamination with aflatoxins yet serves as a staple food in different countries. Mycotoxin is not just limited to corn since it is also present in peanuts, grains and alcohol. The gastrointestinal problems that can arise include diarrhea, vomiting and bleeding. Chronic exposure to mold can also lead to yeast infection or candidiasis in the stomach.
Since corn is generally contaminated with mold spores, eating corn-based products such as corn tortillas have been connected to neural tube birth defects. It is interesting to note that the intake of folic acid can help reduce the effect of this toxin.
Exposure to mold is also connected to neurological conditions among humans. The symptoms can range from muscle spasm, irritability, blindness and even stupor.
Exposure to mold and mycotoxins is considered as a risk factor for certain types of cancer. Aflatoxin is the most potent and naturally occurring carcinogen that is present in peanuts, corn, rice, wheat, tree nuts, cottonseed, eggs, milk, copra, cheese and other foods. The ideal way to avoid exposure is to avoid foods that might contain the toxins as well as properly cleaning moldy environments while wearing a mask to reduce the inhalation of the spores.