Can Black Mold Exposure Cause Headaches?
Mold exposure can trigger a headache or a migraine in several ways.
Suppose you are particularly sensitive to mold or have a weakened immune system. In that case, exposure is very likely to cause sinus inflammation, and headaches will appear as an effect of nasal congestion. This headache is usually felt in the front of the head, below the eyes, or in the forehead.
Similarly, if you are allergic to mold spores, exposure can result in a headache. Certain types of mold, such as Stachybotrys (black mold), produce mycotoxins, highly toxic chemical compounds which may also be responsible for headaches or migraines.
However, the symptoms associated with mold exposure differ from individual to individual, and not everyone will experience a headache.
The main reason that mold exposure may cause headaches is that, more often than not, mold spores can irritate the respiratory system and cause problems with the immune system, which can, in turn, aggravate the sinuses. And anyone who contends with seasonal allergies regularly and/or is hyper-sensitive to changes in barometric pressure will tell you that irritated sinuses can result in a whopping headache.
Migraines and Chronic Headaches
There are several ways that mold can cause headaches and migraines.
For example, mold can release toxins into the air, which can lead to respiratory problems. Mold can also cause allergies or asthma attacks, leading to headaches or migraines.
It’s worth mentioning that migraine headaches are often mistaken for sinus headaches (the inverse is technically also possible but much less common).
If you experience any of the following symptoms along with your sinus headache, then you might not be experiencing an actual sinus headache after all:
- Sensitivity to light
- Sensitivity to noise
- Pulsing or throbbing pain (instead of, or alongside, a sensation of pressure or a dull ache)
- Head pain that worsens with physical activity
It’s essential to understand the difference between a migraine and a sinus headache to take appropriate action.
Also, if you suffer from chronic headaches—that is, you have 15 or more headache “days” per month for a period lasting longer than six months, then sinus issues may not be the culprit, either.
How To Determine If Toxic Black Mold causes your Headaches or Migraines
So, let’s say you’ve eliminated the possibility that your frequent headaches are migraine headaches, and you’re sure that the root of your head pain is sinus issues.
How do you know if mold exposure is the culprit?
Here are some clues to watch out for:
- The pain accompanies allergic reactions. Please note that, in this context, allergic reactions do not mean anaphylaxis linked to food allergies. Instead, we mean issues like a runny nose, itchy or watery eyes, a scratchy throat, coughing, sneezing, etc.
- Your health problems seem to get worse when you’re indoors or after you enter a specific building. Now, if you’re allergic to something outside (like ragweed or pollen), then chances are, coming indoors—where the air is filtered—won’t immediately relieve your symptoms 100%. But you should be suspicious if being indoors suddenly makes you feel worse. This could indicate that there’s mold in the building’s walls, carpeting, or heater/air conditioner and that mold is what you’re reacting to. You should be especially suspicious if you feel fine at work or while running errands but start to feel pressure behind your eyes and a tickle in your throat a few minutes after entering your home.
Neither of the above scenarios should be considered proof-positive that mold grows in your home or office. However, you definitely should take these factors into account when you’re trying to get to the bottom of your health woes and determine if mold spores and exposure to mold are the cause.
Learn Your Mold Headache Treatment Options
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