People with sensitivity to black mold may experience irritated eyes or skin, stuffy nose, cough, wheezing and hypersensitivity pneumonitis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Severe reactions after overexposure are breathlessness and fever. People with chronic lung conditions could develop fungal lung infections.
The symptoms that some people experience after black mold exposure are caused by the mycotoxins that the mold produces, explains the CDC. This mycotoxin production is what classifies black mold, or Stachybotrys chartarum, toxigenic. There is no precise data on how common black mold is indoors, but it's less common than other molds. While toxigenic molds have been found in homes, reports of exposure causing memory loss or pulmonary hemorrhage have not been proven and are rare.
The Institute of Medicine found sufficient evidence in 2004 of a link between indoor mold exposure and upper respiratory tract symptoms, wheezing and cough in healthy people, cites the CDC. It also linked mold exposure to asthma symptoms among asthma sufferers and hypersensitivity pneumonitis. The American Lung Association explains that hypersensitivity pneumonitis is an inflammation of the lungs after breathing in fungus-containing allergens.
Black mold is greenish-black, states MedicineNet.com. It grows on high-cellulose content surfaces, including paper, wood, dust, lint and fiberboard. The mold thrives in humid, warm and damp environments.