9 Symptoms of Black Mold Exposure

Toxic black mold symptoms

Though common, mold toxicity poses a severe health threat to those affected by the condition. Exposure to Stachybotrys chartarum, or black mold, causes many health problems throughout many bodily systems.

If mold toxicity isn’t addressed right away, problems persist and worsen. This is especially important when those with compromised immune systems are exposed to mold.

Your health could be at stake if your home has black mold. Read on to learn more about black mold and the nine symptoms of mold toxicity that you should never ignore.

What Is Black Mold?

Not all dark-colored molds are black mold, but a variety of the various types of mold are documented on record. Black mold is a greenish-black mold that is gelatinous in form because of its wet top layer. If the moisture source that encouraged its growth has dried up, the mold can appear powdery.

Black mold releases mycotoxins, which are byproducts of their metabolic processes. These mycotoxins can be dangerous to humans and cause many health problems.

Black mold frequently grows in areas of the home where moisture is high and where water condenses.

These areas include:

  • In the kitchen, especially under the sink and inside cabinets
  • In the bathroom, especially in and around the shower and tub
  • In the walls where pipes make be leaky
  • Around windows and window sills
  • In fireplaces and chimneys
  • In the attic, especially near vents, the water heater, or the furnace
  • In the basement, especially around ducts, pipes, or a sump pump

These areas should be checked often and kept clean and dry. If possible, measures should be taken to reduce moisture so mold is less likely to grow in these places.

Who Is at Risk for Mold Toxicity?

While anyone can become ill from exposure to mold and its mycotoxins, some are more susceptible than others.

People who already have allergies or asthma can be more severely affected by mold toxicity than those who do not have allergies.

Also, people who are already ill, have immune suppression, or have respiratory illnesses are more likely to have noticeable and intense symptoms resulting from mold exposure.

1. Sneezing and Nasal Congestion

While many things can trigger sneezing, it’s also a symptom of mold toxicity that should get your attention. If you’ve never had allergies or hay fever symptoms and you’re positive you don’t have a cold; those sneezes could indicate mold exposure.

Sneezing is the immune system’s standard response to allergens. It could also be a warning sign that your home has a mold problem.

Nasal Congestion

Mold exposure frequently causes a runny or blocked nose. This nasal congestion is caused by the body producing extra mucus to trap mold spores and prevent them from entering the body.

Like sneezing, nasal congestion is a typical immune response to mold and allergen exposure.

2. Frequent Headaches

Mold toxicity can cause frequent headaches for several reasons.

Some headaches from mold exposure can be related to sinus issues caused by the allergic response to mold. Nasal congestion is a common contributing factor.

Learn more about how Mold Causes Headaches & Migraines

Mycotoxins from black mold are chemicals that can lead to neurotoxicity in the brain. In time, this can cause persistent headaches, impaired cognitive function, and other neurological problems.

3. Persistent Sore Throat

Having a dry or sore, irritated throat that does not go away could be a sign that you have a mold problem in your home. Mold spores and toxins irritate the mucous membranes in the throat, making it uncomfortable or even painful.

4. Wheezing

Wheezing is a common symptom of mold exposure. The lining of the throat, the bronchial tubes, and other parts of the lungs become inflamed and irritated by mold spores and toxins.

This inflammation restricts airflow, causing a wheezing sound when breathing and a feeling of tightness in the chest.

5. Coughing and Shortness of Breath

The irritation and inflammation caused by mold often lead to frequent coughing that is otherwise unexplained.

The throat and lungs are irritated continuously when repeatedly exposed to mycotoxins. If the issue isn’t addressed, this coughing can develop into more severe conditions such as pneumonia and bronchitis.

The same inflammation that causes irritated, constricted airways that lead to wheezing and coughing can eventually lead to shortness of breath.

This gives a feeling of tightness in the chest. It may feel like you are unable to take in a full breath.

Mold is known to colonize the lungs; learn more on “How Mold Grows In the Lungs.”

Asthma and Black Mold

Lung irritation is especially problematic for those with asthma, as mold exposure can trigger a severe asthma attack. Mold-induced asthma attacks can make it nearly impossible for someone with severe asthma to breathe.

6. Watery or Irritated Eyes

When allergens are present, the body releases histamines as part of its immune response. This histamine release is what causes the eyes to water excessively when exposed to toxins from mold.

This reaction from histamine may be the body’s way of flushing out allergens and toxins. It can serve as a warning to you that your environment may contain dangerous black mold.

7. Nausea and Vomiting

Prolonged or severe exposure to mycotoxins can eventually lead to bad nausea and vomiting. This occurs when your body’s immune system is overwhelmed with the toxins from black mold.

This can also occur more quickly in those with a known mold allergy.

8. Dry, Scaly, or Itchy Skin

Allergic reactions can sometimes manifest as a skin problem. Mold exposure can lead to:

  • Dry, rough eczema patches
  • Localized or widespread rashes
  • Hives, especially over large regions of the body
  • Itchy, scaly skin
  • Redness

These skin issues are often direct results of an allergic reaction to black mold exposure.

9. Itchy Eyes, Nose, and Throat

The same histamine response that causes wheezing, sneezing, coughing, watery eyes, and nasal congestion can cause an intensely itchy feeling in the eyes, nose, and throat.

If you’re frequently dealing with a tickle in your throat or wanting to rub your nose or eyes from itchiness, you could have mold, with itchy eyes, nose, and throat being one of the most common mold symptoms.

Constant exposure from breathing and living close to black mold commonly irritates the eyes and upper respiratory tract.

About The Author

2 thoughts on “9 Symptoms of Black Mold Exposure”

  1. Avatar for Christina Jenkins

    I work for a company that removes fire mold and water damage. Been under crawl spaces now for 3 wks removing mold and laying vapor barriers. I’ve been sick these past few days with what I think is strep. The pain in my throat is near unbearable. I’ve never had strep throat so I’m sure it’s the cause from all the removal of black, white and green mold.

  2. Avatar for Black Mold Survivor
    Black Mold Survivor

    I have severe asthma & respiratory problems from black mold, what can I possibly do to once & for all get rid of mold toxicity inhaled in my body? I got bubbled up hives on my arms & left leg, from being around the black mold for approximately over a Year in a half!I have all the symptoms of black mold toxicity? Where do I proceed from here , I’m scared, can’t sleep. From thlis itchy peraistent cough that causes me to cough to the point I want to throw up ! Hope to hear a positive response from your company real soon!

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