Does Mold in Lungs Really Exist?
Mold tends to breed in all sorts of warm, damp, and humid areas both inside and outside of your home. But did you also know that certain molds can grow right inside your lungs? Researchers now believe that Aspergillus fumigates, a mold commonly found in soil and compost piles, can seep into the lungs and begin to grow, leading to long-term damage.
The Scope of Mold in Lungs
Scientists from the University of Leicester recently set out to study the effects of Aspergillus fumigates and learned that more than half of all people with asthma are actually allergic to this type of mold. In addition, 6 out of 10 asthmatics who tested positive for this mold allergy also had it growing in their lung mucus, putting them at risk for serious complications including permanent narrowing of the lungs. These findings were published in the December 2010 issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.
How to Avoid Mold in Lungs
If you have asthma and mold allergies, this research should serve as a warning call. While you can't avoid all exposure to mold, you can take the following steps to help minimize the effects:
- Ask someone else do any work dealing with soil or a compost heap.
- If you're outdoors and believe you might come into contact with Aspergillus fumigates and/or similar types of molds, wear a respiratory mask over your nose and mouth to prevent breathing in the spores.
- Steer clear of any wet leaves and soil since the dampness can encourage mold growth.
- Stay indoors on warm, windy days when mold and other allergy triggers may be blowing in the air.
- Also, be sure to keep your windows closed.
When to Seek Medical Attention
If you notice a change in your asthma symptoms and believe this could be caused by mold exposure, see your doctor right away for testing. If she finds that you do have Aspergillus fumigates growing in your lungs, she'll probably prescribe an antibiotic at the earliest stage possible to help prevent any damage from occurring that could result in the permanent narrowing of your lungs.
Aspergillosis." Medline Plus. US National Library of Medicine/National Institutes of Health, 15 Dec. 2010. Web, 17 Jan. 2011.
"Aspergillus." The Mold Help Organization. Mold-Help.org, 20 June 2006. Web, 17 Jan. 2011.
"Basic Facts: Mold in the Environment." National Center for Environmental Health. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 8 Feb. 2010. Web, 15 Jan. 2011. "Indoor air: Mold." Department of Health and Senior Services. State of Missouri, nd. Web. 15 Jan. 2011.
"New Asthma Research Breaks the Mould." American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. University of Leicester, 14 Dec. 2010. Web. 19 Jan. 2011.
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