Black Mold Sinusitis
Toxic black mold can also cause chronic sinus infections that I have dubbed as "black mold sinusitis" . They are really hard to get rid of as I am learning myself.
What happens is that chronic inhalation of mold spores causes allergic reactions that cause the tissues in the nose and sinus openings to swell. When the openings to the sinuses swell, any mucous present in the sinus cavity can not drain and lies stagnant in that sinus cavity. Eventually the stagnant mucous can become infected, thus a sinus infection.
Even if you take an antibiotic that works, if you do not decrease the swelling to open the sinus cavity, it will not drain and the infection just comes right back or never goes away.
Ways to decrease swelling are
steroid nasal sprays
oral steroids in severe cases
Antihistamines can help decrease allergic reactions but sometimes they tend to make sinus infections worse by dryng you up too much. You can try them and stop if you get worse. Sometimes they may help.
But as I am finding out, a lot of these things do not work really well when you have an underlying mold problem in your house. Constant inhalation of mold spores can keep sinusitis going on for a long time.
Yes, I do believe I still have black mold in my house. I am pretty sure it is living in the walls on the fiberglass insulation. When we had our bathrooms remediated both outside walls were ripped apart and we saw that black mold covered the pink part of the insulation. It would not make any sense to think these two bathroom outer walls are just isolated incidents. It has to be affecting more outer walls of this house. I know because I smell a musty smell in the guest bedroom and the hall at the top of the stairs. And despite the continuous running of two hepa filters and two Sharper image ionizers, I am still having effects. On days when the humidity is higher than 55% I feel terrible and I feel even worse on days when the humidity is 87%. This fall has been horrible. It has been cold but not cold enough to freeze and the humidity has been consistantly in the high 80% range. That is a bad combo for mold allergy sufferers.
Since the weather has recently dipped into the freezing temps I am feeling a little better.
Here is my theory on what is happening. The insulation in the walls somehow got moldy from either a roof leak while the previous idiot owners were here and they let it go for a while. We do know for a fact the roof was in poor repair when we bought the house. I will never again buy a house with a roof in poor repair unless I want to flip it. A roof in poor repair means MOLD unless PROVEN otherwise.
So the walls we are almost certain have mold growing on the fiberglass insulation. We know that aspergillus is the only mold that really grows on fiberglass insulation and aspergillus is a toxic black mold. Aspergillus can also seed into the sinuses and grow there causing a sinus infection. I hope I do not have that....it's very hard to test for and treat.
In the summer, we have all the windows open and fans on and I feel good. We don't have air conditioning. As soon as we shut the windows I feel bad again.
When the humidity goes above 55%, the aspergillus living on the insulation comes to life and spews out spores. Aspergillus will grow on just the humidity in the air. So since the insulation is outside the heated air of the house, it is exposed to the high humdity air. It flourishes with the humdity and releases its spores. Those spores can enter the house through cracks in the wall, electrical outlets and light fixtures and loose baseboards.
Another thing to consider is what is outside the insulation. What kind of siding is on the house. If it is vinyl or alluminum siding on an old house you have to think about whether the original wood shingles are still under the vinyl or alluminum siding and what is the condition of those old wooden shingles. Did they get wet? Are they rotten and moldy? I think I most likely am going to have to face moldy wooden shingles when I rip out my suspected moldy walls. Since the fiberglass insulation is moldy it must have gotten wet at some time. But it would not have become wet unless the outer shingles became wet too.
I refuse to let a house slowly kill me, so before I end up having to get sinus surgery to relieve my clogged sinuses, I think I would rather do a little surgery on my house first.
One thing I can do is cut out a square hole in the wall board and the cut a hole in the insulation, pull it out and look at the pink fiberglass side and see if it is black. Also, I can look at the condition of a sample of the wooden shingles. Then I will know what I am up against. By the way, you can repair the small hole easily with tape and that compound.
Another thing I am considering is taping all the cracks, electrical outlets and wall baseboard trim to keep out mold spores temporarily until I can afford to fix the problem.
Some days I get so angry that this house is killing me that I feel like taking a sledge hammer to the walls I suspect are moldy and ripping out everything. The only thing stopping me is the fear that the siding is moldy too and I can"t deal with that in the winter as easily and I don't want to make my already bad problem even worse which I think is distinctly possible.