We often run into customers who talk of Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS). CIRS occurs when there is widespread inflammation caused by a bio-toxin (often mold) in the body that leads to immune system dysfunction. “Mold illness” is a subcategory of CIRS but this inflammatory process can also be caused by exposure to other bio-toxins including Lyme disease. I once had a healthcare practitioner tell me that if you have Lyme Disease, you likely have been in a water-damaged home or building for an extended period of time. He went on to say millions of people have Lyme Disease with no symptoms until their body has been subjected to mold toxins. This creates an overload on the immune system and symptoms manifest themselves.

The complex nature of mold illness has caused many patients to go from doctor to doctor wondering what’s wrong with them. People are often sick for years before ever receiving a diagnosis. For a long time there weren’t very many answers for people with CIRS. However, recent developments including studies and improved testing have offered thousands of people relief. We now know that mold and mycotoxins from water-damaged buildings or homes can cause all kinds of health-related issues. There is a gene which encodes a specific protein giving the body and immune system information about toxins.

Recent studies have concluded that 25% of the population are more likely to get chronic inflammatory response syndrome because they have inappropriate 1 immune responses and don’t recognize mold toxins as harmful. The toxin, upon entering the body, is not being “tagged” as an enemy. Therefore, instead of the body ridding itself of these harmful toxins, the toxins remain and cause inflammation. This inflammation manifests itself in all sorts of symptoms. Within this “inflammatory” umbrella are fibromyalgia, Chronic fatigue syndrome, MS symptoms, brain fog, depression, etc.

It’s often difficult for people, including health care practitioners, to get to the bottom of their health issues when it is associated with mold. Often times, a traditional family doctor will not even think of the possibility of it being an environmental issue. It is also further complicated because it is typical for most of the family members to feel fine. For example, if there is water damage in a house, often only one member of the family with one of these gene types may become sick, while the rest of the family is relatively unaffected. This has led to a lot of confusion. In some cases, the person with CIRS has been accused of making it up, or has told the symptoms are in their head.

Home building techniques in the U.S. have dramatically changed in the past 40 years. We have transitioned from plaster walls to sheetrock with paper as a food source for mold. We have also introduced more porous building materials to our homes i.e. particle board, which soak up the water and create an ideal breeding ground for mold. We have also decided, in an effort to be more energy efficient, to wrap our homes tightly. This may improve the heating and air conditioning costs, but the homes no longer can breathe. This helps mold to gain a stronghold in the home. All of these subtle changes have created widespread elevated mold spore counts in our homes. This can happen even if you have not experienced a flood or leak of some kind. PNW Mold Control of Washington offers a unique and affordable process to rid a home of mold, mold toxins, and bacteria. Typically in a 4-6 hour window, we can return the home to less than outdoor mold spore levels.