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Connection Between Mold and Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis

Case Study: Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis and Mold - is there a connection with mold growth?

Hypersensitivity pneumonitis as it's usually called, is a serious condition that affects a person's ability to breathe. It can cause flu-like symptoms, and in extremely rare cases, it can be fatal.

To avoid this health issue, you need to understand one of the main causes: mold. Mold exposure has been linked to Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis, so knowing the signs of mold, and knowing when to call a mold remediation team, is critical.

What is Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis?

Hypersensitivity pneumonitis is a rare but serious condition where the air sacs in the lungs, known as alveoli, become inflamed. The condition is caused by the inhalation of various antigens found in many different environments. Over a long period, this condition can lead to lung scarring and significant problems with breathing.

Symptoms of Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis can be immediate; they may disappear just as quickly as they came. However, it's also possible for issues to develop over a long period. In certain situations the issue can be long-lasting. In this case, Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis is called "chronic" as opposed to "acute", which is the term for brief, temporary symptoms.

Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis is an allergic reaction caused by a variety of factors. Essentially, when foreign substances enter the airways and lungs, a person's immune system overreacts. (Overreaction from the immune system is the underlying factor for all allergies.) The issue can be caused by bacteria, fungi, animal or plant proteins, and, as we will see, mold.

Can Mold Exposure Cause Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis?

Mold exposure is one of the most common causes of hypersensitivity pneumonitis. According to an article published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology titled "The medical effects of mold exposure", Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis is often rooted in mold exposure.

In the article, they point out that Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis is rare, largely because it requires prolonged exposure to high concentrations. Most cases are "occupational", meaning people come down with the condition because of work. Farmers, for example, are often exposed to moldy conditions, so the issue is more common in this profession.

No matter how the condition arrives, one thing is certain: mold is a possible cause. And when it affects someone's health, the symptoms can be troublesome, damaging, and even painful.

Symptoms of Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis

Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis can come suddenly or gradually. Either way, it will cause a variety of symptoms that go far beyond merely coughing and wheezing.

Most of the symptoms from Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis impact the airways and lungs. This is because the mold spores and other particles are inhaled and make direct contact with these locations. Shortness of breath is one of the most common problems people will experience, but they may also have a dry cough coupled with chest tightness.

Although rooted in the respiratory system, symptoms can impact other areas of the body as well. In some cases, victims of Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis will experience symptoms that seem like the flu. Chills, fatigue, fever, and muscle aches are common among sufferers of hypersensitivity pneumonitis.

If the condition becomes chronic (meaning long-lasting) the symptoms can include weight loss and "clubbing" of the toes and fingers. Clubbing is a swelling usually caused by a lack of oxygen.

Case Study: Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis from Exposure to Fusarium Vasinfectum

To best understand Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis and its symptoms, let's look at a case report that discusses Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis at its most frightening. The report, which is documented in the International Archives of Allergy and Immunology, looked at a case where a man became sick and actually died because of mold-induced hypersensitivity pneumonitis.

Background of the case study

This report starts with a general background and summary of hypersensitivity pneumonitis.

Although the report is written with sophisticated, often confusing scientific language ("Ouchterlony double diffusion technique documented high antibody titer to F. vasinfectum," for example), it essentially discusses how the condition is rare, meaning it doesn't impact a large percentage of the population, and often occupational. However, they also mention that it can be found in the home.

In other words, you don't have to be in a job with high mold exposure to suffer from Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis.

In the background summary, the authors also mention that early detection and immediate removal are critical. Finally, they wrap the background section by noting that fatalities are rare.

They may be rare, but as we will see, they are not impossible.

Case Report

The report goes on to discuss the actual case. In this situation, a 37-year-old white man was suffering from coughing, weight loss, regular fatigue, and difficulty breathing. The issue was ongoing and lasted over six months. Why was he having these troubles? It turns out the man had been working on a home-restoration project, attempting to self-renovate a water-damaged mobile home that was infested with mold.

The man was evaluated by medical professionals, who completed a physical evaluation, lung and breathing tests, chest scans, and a biopsy were also completed. The doctors prescribed IV steroids ("aggressive intravenous corticosteroid treatment"), but the man's lung function continued to decline.

When an open-lung biopsy was completed, the man's condition was so bad that he was unable to be taken off a ventilator, which eventually resulted in his passing.


This report carries massive significance. Most importantly, it's the first reported death caused by Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis related to fusarium vasinfectum. Essentially, researchers came to the conclusion that awareness of Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis and its causes, as well as its prevention, should be better understood by the general public.

As they say, a "high index of suspicion for Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis" is needed for patients to seek treatment, but because it's so rare, few people know about mold-induced Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis. And because few people know about it, those that do contract the problem don't understand its severity. Unfortunately, they often wait weeks or even months to seek medical help.

But, with early detection and prompt removal, Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis is usually mild and treatable.

How to Treat Mold-Induced Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis?

The most important step in treating mold-induced Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis is to know the symptoms and general causes, then seek medical treatment whenever the issues start.

You must consult with a doctor to get a complete diagnosis. If the doctor determines that mold is causing your lung problems and flu-like symptoms, it's critical that you find and remove the mold immediately. In most cases, this means professional mold-removal services from trained experts like the team at Mold KO.

While you are having mold removed, you and your doctor can start treating your body and, hopefully, begin the recovery process.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, there are a variety of medications and treatments that can be used to overcome the issue. Steroids and drugs that suppress the immune system from attacking healthy cells can help reduce inflammation, while anti-fibrotic drugs can slow lung scarring. You can also do breathing exercises and physical therapy to make breathing easier.

In severe cases, oxygen therapy may be needed. In extreme situations, a lung transplant could be the only way to overcome this health condition.

Drugs and therapy are one thing. Aggressive lung replacement is an entirely different concern. Regardless of treatments, regardless of their severity, the best practice is to avoid Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis entirely. And this means preventing mold and removing it from your home.

How to Prevent Mold as a Cause of Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis

Mold removal and remediation can be time-consuming, and may require you to leave your home for an extended period. It's better to prevent mold growth (and the potential for Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis) by having a dry, clean house and, if you work in a high-exposure occupation, taking smart precautions at work.

At home, use dehumidifiers to remove excess moisture from the air. Don't let water stand for long periods, and keep tubs and heating or cooling systems in good condition. Clean any mold you find quickly, and if there are large infestations, call a trained professional immediately.

See Mold? Don't Wait Another Moment!

If you have mold in your home, you can't afford to wait another second. Call our professional mold-removal experts at 888-253-4551 to get the service and support you deserve. We provide fast mold remediation services and have all the appropriate licenses for residential and commercial properties.

Don't put your health at risk any longer; call your mold remediation team today!

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Connection Between Mold and Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis
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