According to the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, mold can have negative effects on humans in three ways:
Allergic reactions are the most common effects of mold. These effects can occur in the form of a stuffy nose, irritated eyes, wheezing, or skin irritation. The severity of the reaction depends on the sensitivity of the person. Those who are very sensitive, or have compromised immune systems, should take precautions to minimize mold exposure. They should also rely on someone else to clean or remove mold in their house.
Superficial infections, such as on the skin or in mucus layered areas such as nasal cavities, are common areas for mold infection. Common occurrences include tinea pedis (athlete’s foot), tinea onychomycosis (nail infection), tinea cruris (jock itch), tinea corporis (dry body skin).
Severe infections are more rare and largely effect only individual with immune deficiencies. Cancer patients undergoing intense chemotherapy, those receiving bone marrow transplants, or any other patient taking an immunosuppressive drug are more susceptible to severe infections. Only those with such compromised immune systems should be concerned with this level of infection. Superficial infections can typically be treated with a prescription or over the counter medication.Advertisement
The majority of human and veterinary poisonings related to mold are due to ingestion of mold-infected food. Other severe intoxications have come from inhaling large amounts of mold fragments and spores, typically found in agricultural settings with spoiled food (known as “grain fever”). In order for poisoning to occur, the right type of mold must be present and it must be in significant quantities to intoxicate. It also must have an avenue to intoxicate, such through ingestion or inhalation.