Mold is a type of fungi that can be found both indoors and outdoors. When the spores make their way into the air, they can be ingested. For some people, inhaling mold spores won’t elicit any sort of response. It’s unclear why mold affects some more than others, but those living with a weakened immune system, respiratory illness, allergies, or asthma can all experience negative health effects from exposure to mold spores.
The health effects caused by mold growth occur because of the organic compounds it releases into the air, including allergens, irritants and mycotoxins. In areas where excessive moisture and dampness is an issue, the number of irritants released through an overgrowth of mold can increase, leading to further exposure and possible side effects.
So, what are the ways mold can influence immune response? Immune function is compromised by overexposure to mold in several ways:
- The disruption of proper cytokine production
- Mast cell activation
- Eliciting an allergic reaction within the body, leading to further illness