Treatment of Lyme disease can be an uphill battle. This is largely due to the fact that when the Lyme-causing Borrelia bacteria infiltrates the body, it can lay dormant and remain untouched by antibiotics, lying in wait to wreak havoc at a later date. This can hinder treatment, even if it is sought early.
Mold exposure is another dangerous condition, though of a different type to Lyme disease. Generally speaking, mold exposure affects people differently and with varying degrees of severity. But what happens when someone with Lyme disease comes in contact with mold? Can exposure to mold disrupt Lyme treatment, and if so, how?
Let’s take a look at the effects of both Lyme disease and mold exposure, and examine how one might affect the other.
What are the long-term effects of Lyme disease?
Chronic Lyme disease occurs when the first round of treatment is ineffective at ridding the body of the disease, or when the infection goes without treatment altogether. The progression of the disease will vary, but in most cases, people can expect to experience:
- Fatigue and trouble sleeping
- Pain and inflammation throughout the body, especially in the joints and muscles
- Cognitive impairment such as memory loss or concentration issues
- Speech problems
- Facial palsy
- Irregular heartbeat
- Liver inflammation
Lyme disease can also have a negative effect on the immune system, which can lead to immune function suppression. When this occurs, those with Lyme disease become more susceptible to other infections, because their system is unable to fight off invading pathogens as well as it otherwise might.
Mold toxicity symptoms
Mold can be found outside and inside, depending on the environment. Mold spores need to attach themselves to damp places to be able to thrive. Once it does begin to grow in abundance, mold can lead to health problems for those who continuously inhale the spores. A mold infestation large enough to cause problems can generally be seen or smelt; however, if it occurs in hidden areas of a home or building, it can circulate in the air without being detected.
Mold toxicity won’t present the same in everyone, and some people may even find that they have no symptoms at all. The most common symptoms of overexposure to a mold infestation include:
- Aches and pains
- Mood changes and disturbances
- Headaches and memory loss
- Symptoms reminiscent of allergies such as runny nose, watery eyes, skin rash, and wheezing
- Shortness of breath in severe cases
- The worsening of chronic lung conditions
Early exposure to mold has also been found to increase the risk of children developing asthma over the course of their lifetime.
Chronic Lyme and mold
Although chronic Lyme disease won’t induce a mold infection, it can leave the body more at risk of negative health effects in the case of exposure. Both Lyme disease and mold toxicity can weaken immune function in the body.
There are also some similar symptoms between Lyme disease and mold exposure. They include:
- Cognitive issues with memory and focus
- Mood swings or disruptions
- Pain in the muscles and joints
The similarity across symptoms can make recovery much harder in someone fighting Lyme disease and mold buildup within the system.
Can you get Lyme disease from mold exposure?
You can only contract Lyme disease by being bitten by an infected tick. However, people suffering from mold toxicity prior to the transmission of Lyme disease can experience worsened symptoms.
Some people have the genetic predisposition to fight off the effects of mold exposure easily, whereas others do not. This is especially important to consider when it comes to the possibility of Lyme infection. The damage caused by a chronic Lyme disease infection can also give mold toxicity a flourishing environment in which to grow.
How to avoid disruption of Lyme disease treatment
During a course of Lyme disease treatment, it is especially important to take care of other aspects of health as well as you can. Eating a diet rich in wholefoods will help to restore nutrient levels that may otherwise become depleted due to the infection and the body’s efforts to get rid of it. Exercise can also be a great way to help boost immune function in those suffering from Lyme disease; it can also help to lower inflammation and improve joint and muscle health.
Mold exposure isn’t always completely avoidable, but for people with Lyme disease, the risk of it causing a disruption in treatment is heightened. If you have Lyme disease and are worried about mold exposure, the best option is to ensure that your immediate environment is mold-free. You can do this by:
- Controlling the air moisture levels to eliminate mold’s ability to grow
- Not leaving water leaks or any other moisture-inducing problems untreated
- Keeping humidity as low as possible
- Ensuring you have proper ventilation in your home
Being exposed to mold can exacerbate Lyme disease symptoms and make it harder to recover from the disease. But with a few simple practices, you can keep mold out of your home and away from your body during Lyme treatment.
Featured image by Sandy Millar on Unsplash