Skip to content

Dangerous Side Effects of Mold in Your Home, According to Science

“Exposure to damp and moldy environments may cause a variety of health effects, or none at all,” reports the CDC.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

With health dangers outside the home, we are being asked to stay indoors. But what if there is danger inside your house? Chances are, you've got mold; nearly every house or apartment does. "Molds can be found almost anywhere; they can grow on virtually any substance, providing moisture is present," reports the Environmental Protection Agency. "There are molds that can grow on wood, paper, carpet, and foods." "Exposure to damp and moldy environments may cause a variety of health effects, or none at all," reports the CDC. "Some people are sensitive to molds. For these people, exposure to molds can lead to" the following symptoms. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus


You May Get a Stuffy Nose, Wheezing and Red or Itchy Eyes or Skin

businessman taking off glasses rubbing dry irritated eyes

"Molds produce allergens (substances that can cause allergic reactions) and irritants," says the EPA. "Inhaling or touching mold or mold spores may cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. Allergic responses include hay fever-type symptoms, such as sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and skin rash….In addition, mold exposure can irritate the eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lungs of both mold-allergic and non-allergic people."


It May Cause Asthma

Adult woman using inhaler in clinic

"Potential health effects and symptoms associated with mold exposures include allergic reactions, asthma and other respiratory complaints," says the EPA. "Other recent studies have suggested a potential link of early mold exposure to development of asthma in some children, particularly among children who may be genetically susceptible to asthma development, and that selected interventions that improve housing conditions can reduce morbidity from asthma and respiratory allergies," says the CDC.


You May Develop a Respiratory Tract Infection and Other Issues

Mature man coughing on color background

"In 2004 the Institute of Medicine (IOM) found there was sufficient evidence to link indoor exposure to mold with upper respiratory tract symptoms, cough, and wheeze in otherwise healthy people; with asthma symptoms in people with asthma; and with hypersensitivity pneumonitis in individuals susceptible to that immune-mediated condition," says the CDC.

RELATED: Simple Ways to Avoid a Heart Attack, According to Doctors


You May Have a Severe Reaction

man massaging nose bridge, taking glasses off, having blurry vision or dizziness

"Some people, such as those with allergies to molds or with asthma, may have more intense reactions," reports the CDC. "Severe reactions may occur among workers exposed to large amounts of molds in occupational settings, such as farmers working around moldy hay. Severe reactions may include fever and shortness of breath."

"A link between other adverse health effects, such as acute idiopathic pulmonary hemorrhage among infants, memory loss, or lethargy, and molds, including the mold Stachybotrys chartarum has not been proven. Further studies are needed to find out what causes acute idiopathic hemorrhage and other adverse health effects," adds the agency.


What to Do if You Have Symptoms


woman Doctor in green uniform wear eyeglasses and surgical mask talking, consulting and giving advice to Elderly female patient at the hospital

Discuss these issues with your doctor, who may refer you to a specialist. "There is no blood test for mold," says the CDC. "Some physicians can do allergy testing for possible allergies to mold, but no clinically proven tests can pinpoint when or where a particular mold exposure took place."

"If your seasonal symptoms are making you miserable, an allergist/immunologist, often referred to as an allergist, can help," reports the American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology. "Your allergist has the background and experience to determine which allergens, if any, are causing your symptoms. This information will form the basis of a treatment plan to help you feel better. Your personalized plan will include steps to avoid contact with allergens. Your physician may also talk to you about medications for temporary relief."


How to Remove the Mold From Your Home

Shocked woman looking at mold on the wall.

"There is no practical way to eliminate all mold and mold spores in the indoor environment; the way to control indoor mold growth is to control moisture," says the EPA. Call a specialist to have the mold addressed and "keep your windows closed at night and if possible, use air conditioning, which cleans, cools and dries the air." And to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Alek Korab
Alek Korab is a Co-Founder and Managing Editor of the ETNT Health channel on Eat This, Not That! Read more about Alek
Filed Under