Mold is a type of fungus that grows moist areas. Bathrooms and basements are typically the places where we would see mold growth. But any moist areas in the home can be moldy if there are water leaks and the conditions are ideal for mold growth such as drywall, ceiling tiles, carpets, furniture, ductwork, roofing, paneling, wallpaper and under sinks. Mold growth may also be hidden underneath carpeting, on the back side of wallpaper, and behind drywall or wall paneling. Mold spores from the outdoor air can easily enter the home through open doors, windows, vents and any other open areas of the house. Mold can have many different colors (including brown, green, and black) and sometimes appears as spots and a musty odor may be present or not.

The extensive flooding in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina created conditions ideal for rapid indoor mold growth, raising major concerns about adverse health effects associated with indoor mold exposure. Studies evaluating the levels of indoor and outdoor molds in the months following the hurricanes found alarmingly high levels of mold growth. Homes with indoor flooding, demonstrated higher levels of mold growth compared with homes with no flooding. Water intrusion due to roof damage is also associated with mold growth. A significant increase in mold associated diseases were reported. As a matter of fact, the “Katrina cough” has been used and described as upper respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, congestion, runny nose, sore throat, and sinus headaches) in the population affected by the hurricane in New Orleans.

The hurricane Harvey brought more than 19 trillion gallons of water over Houston and its surroundings. Now that this is over, people are facing the hard reality of losing their house and belongings. They are in the process of rebuilding their houses. Unfortunately, because of this, people work in mediocre environment. Indeed, those houses are highly contaminated with mold. In fact, it takes about 2 days after such a flood for the house to be moldy.

In the last couple of weeks…

Have you ripped out soggy, damp carpet in your house? Or…
Have you pulled out drywall because of excessive water? Or…
Have you forgotten to wear a mold respirator each time when working on a flooded house?

You may have been exposed to mold. This circumstance can lead to health issues, because the illness affects multiple systems in the body, which in turn, causes the patient to exhibit multiple symptoms. If you are experiencing some of these symptoms, you could be suffering from mold illness, such as fatigue, weakness, aches, muscle Cramps, unusual pain, headache, light sensitivity, red eyes, blurred vision,  sinus problems, cough,  shortness of breath, abdominal pain, diarrhea, joint pain, morning stiffness, memory issues, focus/concentration issues, confusion, disorientation, skin sensitivity, mood swings, sweats (especially night sweats), temperature regulation or dysregulation problems, numbness, tingling, vertigo, metallic taste, tremors or long term chronic issues (e.g. autoimmune conditions).

If you are in this situation, it is not too late, you can do something about it.
As a member of the American Academy of Environmental Medicine, we can assist you on this journey of recovery. The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) is an international organization of physicians and scientists interested in the complex relationships between the environment and health. For forty years the Academy has trained Physicians to treat the most difficult, complex patients who are often left behind by our medical system, because their illness, rather than stemming from traditionally understood factors, is related to underlying environmental causes, including (bio)chemical or radiation exposures.

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