It’s near the end of the rainy season in Nicaragua. Theresa suffered with respiratory problems, a slow heart rate, symptoms of a sluggish thyroid, severe fatigue, insomnia, and a feeling of brain fog. “I just don’t understand what’s wrong with me,” she said. “All I want to do is eat Snickers bars and watch TV. My resting heart rate is 40 beats per minute. Am I going to die? It is so unlike me.”
If you have undiagnosed symptoms like Theresa’s, then you may want to check out Mycotoxicity, or Sick Building Syndrome. Environmental mold, especially black mold, can cause very serious medical and psychological problems. The airborne mold spores take refuge in the body, creating all kinds of havoc. Mycotoxins are also neurotoxins. Simply stated, a poison to the brain. “Controversial evidence suggests that ‘Yellow Rain’ (trichothecene mycotoxins) attacks by U.S. military in Southeast Asia caused thousands of deaths between 1974 and 1981.” ( McGovern, T. W. and Christopher, G.W., Biological Warfare and its Cutaneous Manifestations, telemedicine.org, n.d.). Research has clearly demonstrated neurological damage as a result of their presence.
Scary, right? Fortunately, Theresa is a retired RN. Armed with all her symptoms and the help of several doctors on Ometepe Island, she received blood tests, an EKG, and the diagnosis of Mycotoxicity. Throughout Theresa’s mysterious onset of symptoms, I learned how devastating black mold can be, as well as the harmful health effects of breathing in malicious mold spores daily.
What does black mold look like?
Theresa took me on a hunt for black mold around my house. The picture above is the inside of my porch with the peeling paint as the mold slowly devours the concrete. Outside, growing on the brick is a gelatinous green-black mold.
Theresa lives in an unsealed concrete block house. At the baseboard level inside, she noticed black mold growing and moisture seeping through the cracked walls. For the duration of the rainy season, she had ingested the toxic spores as she slept.
Toxic Black Mold website
What can you do to rid your house of black mold?
Theresa sealed the outside of her walls with a cement covering after cleaning, disinfecting the area with chlorine bleach, and drying. Then, she tackled the inside walls with a solution of vinegar and soapy water.
I have to laugh at the research I’ve conducted because it says to contact a professional mold remover. Well, living in Nicaragua, that’s an impossibility. We have to do it ourselves. What horrifies me is the number of poorly constructed homes in Nicaragua. The poorest of the population live with dirt floors, black plastic walls, and thatched roofs. As money is available for sturdier houses, they buy cement blocks and construct one wall at a time. Only the wealthiest homeowners can afford to seal their cement walls against the elements and the deluge of water during the rainy season.
Asthma is a huge problem in Nicaragua. I’m beginning to wonder if it is a result of Mycotoxicity. Theresa was lucky. Her symptoms led to a correct diagnosis and medicine to alleviate most of the symptoms. There is no cure for Mycotoxicity, but awareness and proper treatment can alleviate most of the health problems…if caught in time.
A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home by the United States Environmental Protection Agency
Please spread the word about black mold, toxic tea. The rainy season is almost over, but precautions for the next rainy season can begin.
Clinical Microbiology Review on Mycotoxins
Study on the symptoms and effects of Micotoxicity