When you enter your doctor’s office with complaints of respiratory ailments, your physician is presented with symptoms and not your environment. Mold diagnoses are ambiguous at times due to a lack of direct correlation between actual mold and the illnesses that occur beside mold growth. This often makes the medical community overlook the true cause of a diagnosis.
Let’s use the example of the University of Maryland, which had an outbreak of adenovirus in December 2018. Many students became ill, but the reason they were so susceptible is because the school also had a mold infestation. This means that many campus individuals had irritated respiratory tracts, which made them more susceptible to the virus. In this case, a doctor would not have been expected to trace the true cause of the illness to mold. They would treat the virus.
But the University of Maryland is not really a case of misdiagnosis. It is rather a case of not getting to the bottom of the problem, and doctors don’t have the resources to be CSIs and track down the causes of every virus that enters their healthcare organizations.
So, let’s focus on other diagnoses that are commonly misdiagnosed in regard to mold. These include fibromyalgia, asthma, sinus infections, and fatigue syndrome. Fibromyalgia is often a mysterious disease with unknown causes. It is sometimes thought to be caused by stress and can be very painful. Asthma is sometimes a disease of childhood or caused by allergies, but sometimes it presents itself suddenly and without any detectable cause. Sinus infections and fatigue syndrome are also illnesses for which there could be many causes. For these “mysterious” diagnoses, there can be a moldy culprit.
This is not a rant on the medical system, as they have strained resources, and one cannot possibly expect a physician to evaluate each individual’s environment for health hazards. That is why it is up to you to detect, eliminate, and prevent mold growth in your own house and place of work.
How do you detect mold? You have to look for it, smell for it, and search for it in areas where you wouldn’t normally be (crawlspaces, basements, and attics). Mold likes moisture, warmth, and stagnancy. Eliminate these from the home with a dehumidifier, proper ventilation, and proper maintenance.
Mold awareness is increasing, and the medical community is increasingly enhancing their efforts to educate the public about the health hazards of mold. It is still difficult to diagnose, and people need to prioritize mold elimination in their own residences to prevent harmful health consequences.