Mold Wreaks Havoc In Sensitive People

Tips To Rid Mold From Home

Soon after identical twins Diana and Dawn Meier moved into the same apartment building, they developed breathing problems.

"She had been complaining of a lot of sinus problems when she moved to the apartment. She had been there about a year before I did," said Diana Meier.

Their symptoms got worse and the antibiotics doctors prescribed did not help. Then, the sisters found out they were sensitive to household mold.

When airborne, microscopic mold spores can wreak havoc in sensitive people. Researchers in one study found fungus in over 90 percent of chronic sinusitis patients.

"They end up inhaling it into their sinus cavities and then it just breeds," said sinus expert Dr. Jordan S. Josephson.

Josephson said most sinus infections are bacterial and fungal. Antibiotics treat only bacterial infections, so patients may also need anti-fungal drugs.

"Each person really needs to be evaluated by their ear, nose, and throat physician or their sinus specialist so that they can figure out which is the proper combination of agents to use," Josephson said.

The science on indoor molds is just getting off the ground. However, doctors have learned what could help millions of sinus sufferers get proper help.

While doctors treat your sinuses, you need to attack your mold problem. Start by washing off the fungus with bleach and water.

Dr. Philip Harber specializes in occupational medicine and is a mold expert.

"If a person's home has uncontrolled moisture, water leaks, etc, that needs to be fixed," said Harber. "Where there's a very extensive growth, it's sometimes useful to look for advice at the EPA website or to call a professional."

You can hire a trained dog to sniff out hidden mold for about $500. The clean-up and repairs are left to you. Or, look in the phone book for a "mold remediator" who will do the entire job for you. It can cost a pretty penny and your homeowners insurance may not pay up.

"I really didn't think I'd become disabled from something I couldn't see that was in my apartment," said Diana Meier.

But as Diana and Dawn found out, it is your health that could be at stake.

Homeowners insurance may pay mold damage due to something like a busted pipe. However, it is not likely you will get financial help if the mold has been allowed to grow and cause major problems.

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