If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with a mold illness or if you believe that you might be suffering ill effects caused by exposure to water-damaged buildings and mold growth, you may feel overwhelmed and unprepared as you try to deal with the situation you now find yourself in. It is our hope that the information and products on this site will enable you to regain your health and provide the support you need in your quest for surviving mold. Please check back often as we work on making more resources and information available.
Education and Treatment
For those of you who have recently been diagnosed with a mold illness, you may be wondering where to start. Step one is to obtain the book Surviving Mold: Life in th Era of Dangerous Buildings by Dr. Shoemaker which outlines the diagnosis and treatment of your sickness. This book will be a valuable help to you in understanding your illness and helping you learn the necessary terminology, testing, and treatment to let you take charge of your health and well-being. Another great resource is his book State of the Art Answers to 500 Mold Questions. This book gives the answers to hundreds of questions submitted by people dealing with mold illness. Also check out the interview with Dr. John Dobbs for helpful information regarding medications commonly used to treat mold illness and the pure form of cholestyramine that his pharmacy provides.
As it is important for you to educate yourself and have a good understanding of your mold illness as well as the appropriate treatment for it, also check out the Education tab above where you will find a variety of videos and reading material to help you. If you have not already done so, you should also take a VCS test in order to obtain a baseline to help monitor your progress on treatment. As the first step in treatment is avoiding further exposure, it is also important to perform an ERMI test on your house, work environment, and/or school.
Prevent Mold Growth
Mold requires both food and moisture in order to grow. There are many food sources for mold found in modern-day homes. Everything from wood, paper including the paper on the drywall, paste on the back of wallpaper, and fabric to carpet and insulation makes excellent food sources. While it is not possible to totally eliminate all food sources for mold, the one condition that is more easily controlled is moisture. The moisture level in your home can be easily measured by use of a device called a hygrometer or humidity monitor. Ideally, you should keep the humidity level in your home less than 50% to inhibit the growth of mold. This device will let you know the current humidity level but will also keep track of the high and low levels throughout the day to give you the big picture of the range of humidity in your house. It can be easily moved from room to room or floor to floor to help you get an accurate assessment of the condition of your house. For more tips on helping to reduce the growth of mold in your home, see Please Don’t Feed the Mold.
It is also important to thoroughly and routinely clean your home. This is most easily accomplished by eliminating clutter and unnecessary items throughout your home and then using a HEPA vacuum cleaner. Sensitive individuals may find it necessary to vacuum every surface in their house including walls and ceilings to remove as many mold particulates as possible. For information on choosing the best vacuum for your needs, please visit our Best HEPA Vacuum page here. Equally important is the use of a high-quality HEPA filter to remove mold spores and particulates from the air inside your home. Please note that dead mold spores and small mold particles can be just as detrimental to your health as live mold spores. This is why thorough cleaning is so important in keeping your environment safe. There are a wide range of units available, but be sure the unit you choose is a true HEPA filter and not simply a HEPA-type or HEPA-like unit. Quality units also remove VOCs or volatile organic compounds which may be harmful to your health. Check out the top HEPA filters now.
A Healthy Diet
Good nutrition and healthy foods including good snack choices as well as proper hydration are important to help you regain your health and also to maintain it. Because mold illness can cause gut and intestinal issues, it may be necessary to make some changes in your diet. For a quick and easy, nutrient-packed smoothie as well as healthy eating tips, visit the Healthy Foods page and also the Snack Ideas page. Part of your treatment may involve a no-gluten or wheat-free diet for a period of time. If you are unfamiliar with gluten-free eating, you might find the How to Eat Gluten-Free page helpful in understanding what is involved in a gluten-free diet as well as tips to help you adjust your food choices appropriately. You can also find information on the no-amylose diet which also might be recommended as part of your treatment program if you have a high MMP9 level. The no-amylose diet is also a gluten-free diet although it is slightly more restrictive than just eating gluten-free.
A Support System
Being diagnosed with mold illness can be very difficult as you struggle with a life-changing illness that few people understand or even acknowledge. While you might look fine on the outside, your day-to-day activities are profoundly affected by overwhelming fatigue and mental fog as well as aches and pains that make simple everyday tasks seem impossible. You may feel isolated and misunderstood or may have even been told it is “all in your head.” If you are in this situation, support groups can offer hope and help. Get connected to others that not only understand what you’re going through but have also been successfully treated and are learning how to live with mold illness. Surviving mold illness requires that you become informed and educated and also that you take charge of your own health and well-being. Nobody can do it for you, but we hope to help you in the process.