Hair loss for any reason can make a person self-conscious. Some common reasons for hair loss include the following:
- Hormonal imbalances
- General anesthesia
…and there’s one more that may surprise you: MOLD.
Mold exposure is known to cause a variety of health problems like coughing, sneezing and itchy, watery eyes. But it can also cause neurological problems, skin rashes and hair loss.
In the following sections, we’ll expose how mold causes hair loss and how to prevent mold-related hair loss in your home.
How Mold Exposure Can Lead to Hair Loss
You might expect breathing issues and allergic reactions to be your body’s response to mold. After all, mold spores are breathed in, so it makes sense that the respiratory system would react first and most noticeably.
However, an allergic reaction in the body can come in different forms, such as hair loss.
The reason for hair loss is the exact same thing that causes coughing, congestion and skin irritation. When you are exposed to an allergen like mold, your body produces histamine. This chemical is usually responsible for itching, but it can also cause inflammation. Inflammation, in turn, restricts blood flow.
In some cases, the hair follicles on your scalp can be affected by this lack of blood flow. (FYI: Hair follicles on other parts of the body can be affected, too, but hair loss on the scalp is the most noticeable.)
When hair follicles don’t have an adequate blood supply, it causes the hair to fall out at the root.
It’s important to note that hair loss does not occur after a single exposure to mold. A reaction this extreme is usually the result of one or more conditions:
- Prolonged mold exposure
- Severe mold allergy
- Excessive amounts of mold
We spend the most time at home, whether sleeping, working or relaxing, so home is where most mold allergies originate. This fact causes some homeowners shame or embarrassment, believing that their homes are not clean, but household mold is a common occurrence.
A couple of things to note about household mold:
- The cleanliness of the home does not lead to or prevent mold growth. Mold will grow anywhere the conditions are right.
- Mold is as common in newer homes as older ones due to poor ventilation, which can occur in any home.
It is estimated that 1 out of every 2 American homes has mold growth, so there’s no need to be embarrassed by its presence.
Additional Mold-Related Ailments
As mentioned earlier, mold can cause a long list of respiratory symptoms, like sneezing, coughing, congestion, and shortness of breath. This is expected because we breathe in microscopic mold spores which irritate the lining of our lungs and the rest of the respiratory system.
But it can also cause irritation of the eyes and skin rashes. These are also allergic reactions.
Even stranger is mold’s effect on other systems in the body. The neurological and physiological reactions that mold can cause include sleep disruptions, insomnia, headaches, mood changes, depression and anxiety.
Mold is very bad for people who are allergic to it, obviously. Babies and elderly people are also highly sensitive to mold.
Treating Hair Loss from Mold
Controlling mold symptoms is possible with a doctor’s guidance.
So, the first step in treating hair loss due to mold is to visit a doctor. If you have had a reaction as severe as hair loss, you probably won’t be able to treat it on your own.
The obvious choice is your primary care physician. This doctor may be able to control your symptoms. They are certainly qualified, but some general practitioners prefer to refer patients with allergies to a specialist.
If this is the case, your doctor will refer you to a dermatologist or an allergist. Both of these specialties can treat your hair loss as a result of mold exposure.
A correct diagnosis is the first step to getting treated for hair loss. You may have to undergo blood tests, allergy skin prick tests or both.
During your appointment, share all your symptoms with your doctor, even if they seem unrelated to one another. Because mold can cause so many different symptoms, you may not make the connection between them, but your doctor will.
If you know you’ve been exposed to mold, share this information as well. This can save the doctor a lot of time ruling out other factors.
Treatment for Mold Exposure
Once the results are in, your doctor will know which specific types of mold are causing your reaction and have an even better idea of how to treat your allergy.
Below are a few of the ways a mold allergy can be treated:
- Antihistamines – Antihistamines block the chemical in your immune system that is overreacting to mold, whether it’s causing sniffles or hair loss. Antihistamines can be purchased over-the-counter. They do not prevent mold reactions, only treat the symptoms.
- Corticosteroids – Steroids prevent or reduce inflammation caused by a mold reaction. This can stop hair loss before it starts. Corticosteroids are available through your physician by prescription.
- Immunotherapy – Allergy shots are a preventative measure for those who have undergone a skin prick test that proves a mold allergy. Allergy shots are generally administered monthly by a medical professional.
Mold Removal in Your Home
Hair loss and other mold symptoms will go away over time if you are no longer exposed to it. Therefore, removing the mold from your home as soon as possible is a no-brainer.
If you have experienced a severe mold reaction (like hair loss), don’t attempt to remove the mold yourself. This will result in concentrated mold exposure and probably exacerbate your symptoms.
Hire a professional mold removal company like Pure Maintenance of St. Louis to remove mold. From the initial inspection through professional removal, this is the only way to guarantee that all of the mold in your home is found and safely removed.