The first step in any moldy situation is to find the source and stop the influx of toxic exposure. Let me share a quick analogy that illustrates this concept.
If you are in a boat and it springs a leak - what do you do first? ...do you frantically start scooping out the water or do you stop the leak that is causing the influx of water coming in?
I love this analogy because it always acknowledges something called energy spent. Many of us who have had toxicant exposures including molds may also experience adrenal exhaustion. We need our adrenals to be strong while we begin to bring balance back to our body.
Step 1: Find the Source
Sometimes this is obvious. Mold can be seen growing on drywall, ceilings, flooring. If it is not obvious, as it was in two of my exposure - then you will want to begin an investigation.
Investigation of Source
The first obvious places to look for leaks is where you have water piping. Behind bathroom cabinets/ toilets/ showers/ kitchen sinks and your washer and dryer. Look for discoloration, a musty smell or actual leaks from the piping themselves. Look on the ceilings for roof leaks and gutter leaks.
The next step is to screen your living space for mold. First, always do a visual inspection, then narrow down the rooms to test. We have a great, cost effective screening tool for our clients - It's the Got Mold? Test Kit. This professional quality air testing, without the hassle or expense -gives you the answers you need in three simple steps. Click this link and use code nourish10 to receive 10% off your kit purchase. Tests roughly over 100k spore producing mold and fungi.
Once you narrow down the location and types of mold - you have a few options. One, you can work with a remediation specialist to ensure you have narrowed down the location and can write you a remediation plan. Two, you can work with a contractor, who is mold remediated trained and correct the areas you have narrowed down.
Step 2: Remove Yourself
If at all possible you should remove yourself and other family members (including pets) from the source area - until you can have it safely remediated. Remember, some of these molds are extremely dangerous.
Keep in mind, if your space was contaminated with mold - that also means items found in that space will also have mold spores and mycotoxins attached and those need to be a part of the remediation.
When it comes to remediation, there are some extremely important things to remember. Mold can be extremely dangerous - even though you often can not see it. It is highly recommended to work with a specialist who follows the EPA guidelines on addressing and clearing out the mold.
*For Central Coast, CA for mold removal and air quality, we recommend reaching out to: Pure Maintenance.
Once you have located the source and damaged area - the mold remediation specialist will follow these general guidelines laid out by the EPA. During the remediation, no person or animal should inhabit the space unless you are part of the clean up team. Please be cautious and aware mold spores can travel from the initial location and still produce mycotoxins - even after the remediation. It's best to work with a specialist to ensure your area in contained ands all is eradicated.
Repair the water problem/ source. This will help prevent new mold spores from growing.
Isolate the contaminated area. Quarantine the area and seal all doors and windows.
Suppress dust. This is typically done by creating a zero pressure environment.
Remove materials. Remove all wet and mold-damaged porous materials. (EPA protocol)
Place materials in plastic bags. Discard all wet and moldy materials in plastic bags. (EPA protocol)
Clean the affected area. HEPA vacuums and specific cleaning products.
Retest area. Independent mold/ environmental inspector retests the area to approve all mold & spores have been removed.
Repair area. All materials that were moved should be replaced or repaired. Often times you need to bring in a contractor if the area is large.
Prevention is key! Remember mold likes dark, damp places. You may need to increase air flow, add air vents ect...in order to deter a future issue.
Future Mold Care: Adding in a quality home air filter can be extremely helpful for your overall health. (check our Nourish Shop for our recommended system) Additionally, there are home foggers (bioblance) that you can purchase and periodically spray in your house. These have been shown to help lower mold spore counts. (Visit our Nourish Shop)
In our most recent mold exposure cases, after the remediation, we had an Environmental specialist come back in and retest the area to ensure all was cleared. For example, our mold count in our affected space prior to remediation was 4700, 4000 of that being aspergillus (a toxic mold).
Now that you have a better understanding of toxic molds and their effect on the body - let's now dive in and explore how to begin to clean up the body from these exposures. It is possible, but it may take some hard work and some time!
One of the first steps into knowing the appropriate body detox protocol is knowing your toxic mold level. We have listed some helpful tests that we use with our clients in our Practice.
Mycotoxins Urine Test (at home test) See our Mold Test Package
OAT (organic acids test) (at home test)
MARcons (nasal swab - at home test)
At-Home Air Testing, here
DIET: Clean up your diet. Eliminate sugar, alcohol, gluten, dairy ect. Eat organic and clean foods. Drink clean water. Eat food low in histamines.
ENVIRONMENT: Lower your toxic load by avoiding toxic house cleaners, personal care and cookware/ plastics. Ideally turn off Wifi at night. See Nourish Shop for Ditch & Switch options.
DETOX CHANNELS: Upregulate your liver, gallbladder, and kidney. Take epsom salt baths - encourage sweating. Bowels - ensure you are pooping minimum 1xday, ideally 2.
BINDERS: Bind the mobilized toxins with a binding agent such as charcoal, clay or pectin.
MOBILIZE LYMPHATICS: Rebound, dry brush, enemas. * Sleep is important for the glymphatic (brains lymphatic system) system.
GUT: Address leaky gut, dysbiosis.
NUTRITION: Support nutritional deficiencies.
SLEEP: Mold can be at the root of sleep issues, so work with someone who knows sleep hacks.
SINUS: Flush sinuses and address any mold overgrowth in sinuses.
IMMUNE SYSTEM: Balance the TH1 & TH2 arm of the immune system.
REPAIR: Repair damaged cell membranes, mitochondria and nervous system.
There is much to bringing your body back into balance after a mold exposure. Some can recover quickly while others may have long lasting symptoms. Working with a skilled Practitioner who is aware of the impact toxic mold can have on the body is key!
Reach out if you want to deep dive as this is what we do!
Have a Nourishing Day!