Mold & Bronchitis: Symptoms & How To Prevent It

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Mold can cause various health problems, including bronchitis; therefore, you should remove them from your house as quickly as possible. Prevent mold overgrowth by keeping the humidity in your home low and cleaning the house regularly. Speak to your doctor if you think your health is being affected by mold exposure.

Your bronchi deliver air from your windpipe (trachea) into the lungs. When the bronchi are inflamed, mucus builds up, causing symptoms like coughing, low fever, wheezing, sore throat, and shortness of breath.

This condition is known as bronchitis, and the symptoms can last for two or more weeks.

Bronchitis may be either chronic or acute. Chronic bronchitis is a more severe condition with inflammation or constant irritation of the bronchi, usually caused by smoking.

Acute bronchitis, a chest cold, may improve within a week or ten days; however, the cough may persist for weeks. Viruses mainly cause acute bronchitis, which usually clears up in a few weeks.

Who does bronchitis affect?

Bronchitis can affect anyone; however, you are at a higher risk if:

  • You are around an air-polluted environment (like chemicals or smoke)
  • You suffer from  COPD or asthma
  • You have chronic acid reflux (GERD)
  • If You have any other illness that causes inflammation in the throat
  • You have a weak immune system

What is mold, and what type of mold can cause bronchitis?

Mold is a fungi group of tiny organisms found almost everywhere. Mold does well on oxygen and moisture, spreading through microscopic, lightweight spores that travel through the air.

These spores cannot be seen with your naked eyes since they are too tiny. They grow in damp environments such as decaying organic material, wet wood, or vegetation.

Inhaling mold can cause allergy symptoms such as a runny and stuffy nose, coughing, or sneezing. This irritates the sensitive lining of the nasal passages and throat, causing bronchitis.

Toxic black mold, black mold, are several species of mold with a black or dark green appearance. One type of such mold is Stachybotrys Chartarum.

The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention state that mold color doesn’t determine how dangerous it is. Black mold, however, has been linked to various lung disorders, including acute and chronic bronchitis.

Symptoms of bronchitis caused by mold

A woman is clenching her chest as she is coughing a lot from her bronchitis

A mold allergy has similar symptoms to other upper respiratory allergies. Signs and symptoms of bronchitis caused by mold include:

  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Itchy eyes, nose, and throat
  • Sneezing
  • Fever
  • Coughing accompanied by mucus or blood
  • Watery eyes
  • Shortness of breath or wheezing
  • Dry, scaly skin

You will need to see a doctor if you have these symptoms.

How can mold be prevented?

Consider the following tips to reduce mold in your home:

  • Use an air conditioner by installing central air conditioning with a high-efficiency filter attachment (HEPA). HEPA filter traps mold spores from outdoor air before they circulate in your house.
  • Ventilate all bathrooms properly and run the ventilation fan during a shower and immediately after, to dry the air. Open a window or door during a shower if you don’t have a fan.
  • Do not carpet basements or bathrooms.
  • Use a dehumidifier around your house that is musty or damp. Keep the humidity levels below 50%, and clean the condensation coils and the collection buckets regularly.
  • Do away with any sources of dampness, such as pipe leaks around your home, especially the basement.
  • Keep organic plant containers dry and clean all the time.
  • Eliminate leaves and vegetation around your house foundation and clean out rain gutters frequently.
  • Recycle or throw away old newspapers and books in damp places such as basements since they can become moldy quickly.

You can remove the mold using commercial products such as soap and water or diluted bleach, 8 oz, in a gallon of water.

It is crucial to wear safety equipment while cleaning mold to avoid getting it to your skin or breathing it in.

When removing mold at home:

  • Wear protective gloves, eyewear, and a mask
  • Open the windows wide
  • Never mix ammonia with bleach. In general, try to avoid mixing chemicals

Call a professional when:

  • You have a lot of water damage
  • Do you have a known mold allergy or respiratory issues
  • You can’t reach the mold, or there is a lot of mold.

Diagnosis

A doctor is checking her unwell patient for possible bronchitis

A doctor can detect a mold allergy depending on a person’s symptoms and medical and family histories.

They may also run some tests on you, such as a skin prick test and blood test, to determine the immune system’s response to mold and allergies to a specific type of mold.

Treatment for bronchitis

Mold treatment is similar to other types of airborne allergy treatments, which include:

  • Taking antihistamines
  • Reducing humidity in your home
  • Replacing carpets with flooring to retain moisture, especially in the basements
  • Using eye drops
  • Avoiding allergens at all times
  • Taking a shower regularly after coming indoors

A doctor may recommend immunotherapy for a long-term solution which involves getting several allergy shots over a few years. Immunotherapy is highly effective; however, it is only effective for specific mold allergies.

How can the effects of mold-induced bronchitis be managed?

After rain or freezing weather, you may have to stay in a moldy home that could last for weeks or months if you have nowhere else to go.

This may make you inhale mold causing bronchitis. You, therefore, need to reduce the effects of mold-induced bronchitis.

  • Cover the molds in your house using plastic tarps until they are clean
  • Spend less time in your house. You can stay with relatives or friends as long as you can until the mold in your house is dried up
  • When you walk into a moldy room, take off your shoes or change your clothes to avoid the spread of the mold in the house
  • Create a separate resting or sleeping area in your house. Avoid wearing damp clothes, dry off your hair after a shower, and don’t transfer things from other parts of the house. Open the windows to allow fresh air to circulate in the room during the day
  • Seal any moldy items or clean them. Throw away musty papers that are not in use. If you cannot throw them away, dry and seal them in a dry bag
  • Use fans and air conditioners wisely. If you have an HVAC system, let it be inspected by a professional before turning it on. It could spread mold quickly in your house
  • If the HVAC is in good condition. Don’t let it run the whole day because it could lead to more dampness and mold growth in your home
  • If the HVAC is not functional or there’s non, open the windows to let fresh air circulate in the house. Try opening windows that do not have mold debris from the outside
  • If you use a portable fan, place it near a door or window blowing out. Pointing fans at moldy surfaces will spread the mold instead

Bronchitis vs. mold-causing bronchitis

Viruses mainly cause Acute bronchitis, the same viruses that cause flu and colds. In most cases, antibiotics don’t kill viruses, so the medication is useless when treating bronchitis.

Chronic bronchitis, on the other hand, is caused mainly by smoking cigarettes. Toxic gases in working environments, air-polluted environments, and dust can also cause chronic bronchitis.

Damp and moldy homes or surfaces are primarily associated with increased respiratory infections such as bronchitis.

The table below shows the symptoms of acute and chronic bronchitis and mold-causing bronchitis.

Acute & chronic bronchitis symptomsMold-causing bronchitis symptoms
1. Shortness of breath1. Runny or stuffy nose
2. Fatigue2. Itchy eyes, nose, and throat
3. Slight chills and fever3. Sneezing
4. Chest discomfort4. Fever
5. Mucus production can be yellowish in color or clear. In rare cases, it may have blood. 5. Coughing accompanied by mucus or blood.
6. Cough6. Watery eyes
7. Shortness of breath or wheezing
8. Dry, scaly skin  


When to see a doctor

For both bronchitis and mold-causing bronchitis, you should see a doctor if:

  1. The symptoms above prevent you from sleeping
  2. If there is blood produced when coughing
  3. If there is discolored mucus produced
  4. If the cough lasts more than three weeks
  5. If you have shortness of breath or wheezing sound
  6. If the fever is higher than 38°C or 100.4°F

FAQs

What is bronchitis?

Bronchitis is the inflammation of the tubes that deliver air from your windpipe into the lungs caused by irritation or infection around the area from other causes.

People with bronchitis often have a cough with thick mucus, chest pain, fever, and shortness of breath.

What are the two types of bronchitis?

Chronic and acute bronchitis are the two main types of bronchitis.

Chronic bronchitis refers to persistent bronchitis that can last for more than three months, while acute bronchitis is a short-term illness that lasts for a few days.

Is bronchitis contagious?

It can be contagious if the cause of bronchitis is bacterial or viral. It is not infectious if the reason is air pollution, inhaled irritants, or smocking.

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