Q:

How harmful is black mold exposure?

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Quick Answer

Black mold, also known as Stachybotrys chartarum, can be harmful to some and cause no health issues in others, according to the CDC. Typically those with allergies tend to be more sensitive to mold exposure. Black mold exposure can cause nasal congestion, wheezing, coughing, eye irritation and skin irritation.

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Full Answer

One of the more severe reactions to black mold exposure is an asthma attack in those who have asthma or who are allergic to mold, according to MedicineNet. In some cases, individuals with compromised immune systems may develop further health issues when exposed to black mold. This type of mold creates toxins, called mycotoxins. Although these mycotoxins are not actually toxic, they can cause severe irritation in the skin and airways, and some people may develop a severe reaction to this type of mold. Although uncommon, severe black mold reactions may include fever, rash or difficulty breathing.

A 2004 study found that mold exposure was also linked to hypersensitivity pneumonitis in some susceptible individuals, according to MedicineNet. This is a rare disease with symptoms similar to pneumonia. Immunocompromised individuals and those with chronic lung diseases who are exposed to black mold may also suffer from infections, shortness of breath or develop fungal infections in their lungs, according to the CDC.

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