How do I find out if aspergilllus is what's made me ill?

Basically HELP!! I believe that for a substantial period of time I was exposed to mould as a direct result of being in a house where undetected leaks had occurred. I was nearly driven mad thinking my walls were poisoning me. After several months of being severely unwell and many visits to the doctor I came to the conclusion that mounld/damp must be the root cause. During this time I became more dependent on inhalers (something I have never really done before) and also had a nasty lung infection. The doctor ruled out lots of things - he had never really heard of aspegillus. Apart from my family and close friends, who saw a drastic change in my appearance and behaviour, no-one wold believe a word I was saying. In June I moved in with my parents and haven't looked back health wise. However, since the damp, cold weather started many of the symptoms have returned and I am just finishing a course of antibiotics for a chest infection. This has almost driven me crackers and I cannot bear the thought of being ill as I was some months ago. Any advice would be much appreciated.

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  • Clemmie, If i were you I would go to a infectious disease doctor. Be sure to mention the mould problems you lived with. i have aspergillus in my lungs, and was deathly ill for 22 days in the hospital. that was 4 1/2 yrs past. I have been off antifungal (vfend) for 6 mos. Please get to a infectious disease doctor. feel better

  • On reflection my initial post may have made me come across as abit crackers so here goes with a better stab at it and sorry if I go on abit! Had viral encephalitis 4 and a half years which left me with various problems then had pneumonia 6 months after that. I started to feel really ill this time last year and got progressively worse. Contiual sinus problems, sensation of phlegm at back of throat, headaches (sensation of bearing down on top of skull), sleeping problems, chest infection, ringing in ears and feeling of fullness in right ear, feeling drunk when going from home to fresh air. All of this got worse over the months. I felt as if something was clinging to the house walls when no ventilation, but whatever was there was rising up from the floor when there was ventilation. I even moved my bed from against an outer wall in the early hours one morning because it got so bad. After many visits to the doctor ended up being sent for what was thought to be carbon monoxide poisoning at A & E. Proved that there was cause for concern, but house tested negative. I really needed an answer to why I felt so ill and why I was OK staying with parents but ill again at home. Eventually (after a lung infection and blood tests showing liver and kidney abnormalities related to drinking and I don't drink) got people in and substantial ongoing leak was found which put through a portion of flooring and evidence of old leaks was found. 2 independent surveys stated house was damp as did local fire brigade. However, landlord wouldn't believe a word I said and neither will local council. Have ended up with no home and am now suffering similar symptoms as the weather has stated to become cold and damp. Am not out to get anyone, but need answers (fi indeed any exist) so that I can say to the council I didn't "contrive" to make myself homeless and I am not a nutcase!! Mostly I need answers for my own piece of mind and would welcome any help.

  • Hi Clemmie

    Living in a damp home can cause respiratory symptoms and sometimes infection. Moving away from the damp home helped your symptoms so we have satisfied at least one question - it does seem that your home was making you ill. Sinusitis is a possibility given your symptoms and experiences. You might try seeing an ENT specialist.

    At the National Aspergillosis Centre we are trying to understand the relationship between moulds, damp homes and symptoms along with the ISSE (www.ISSE.org.uk). There is much to do to find a way to get landlords and other house owners to take the health risks associated with damp seriously and part of that task is going to be gettiing all the involved parties to have sensible discussion - including the person living in the damp home as they are a major factor, as is the structure of the home and the protocols and equipment that needs to be in place to prevent damp.

    Anxiety about damp on the part of the person living in the home has been increased by many press stories about 'toxic fungi' of 'black mould' and while we agree that they are bad for health (and will help campaign to prevent anyone having to live in a damp home) there has to be some perspective brought into the discussion. Symptoms are generally respiratory & allergic and while they can be extremely unpleasant they are not generally life threatening in the way they have been described in some stories.

    There are some people we know who are at increased risk of infection and allergy and certainly asthmatics should avoid damp homes completely so prioritization of housing needs should be addressed by housing authorities taking this in for account.

    This all boils down to - if you feel better when not living in a house then it isn't good for you to live there - move if you can. Especially if your landlord is uncooperative.

    If your landlord recognises the problem and helps by installing 'fresh air' devices (see ISSE), tumble dryer and ouside clothes drying facilities, extractor fans in kitchen & bathroom and you find that some of your living habits are increasing the problem (this is very common) e.g. keeping windows shut when cooking, taking showers etc. - then there remains a possibility that the home can be ventilated better, mould & bacteria removed and living conditions improved. Improvements may or may not be possible while still living in the property - it depends on the severity of symptoms suffered and how well the work is done. Needless to say if you can move out while changes are made then it would usually be best to do so.

    However there remain some properties that are almost impossible to 'cure' of damp and mould - many older properties that have had chimneys blocked up, high rise flats with no clothes drying facilities are two common examples. It is difficult to envisage any solution other than demolition in this case!

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