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My mold allergy tests came back negative

Why do I still feel bad in a moldy building?

First of all, how was the testing done? Testing blood for allergies is good, but skin prick testing is even better.

But even if both were negative, you could still have a reaction to mold because you can react to mold badly in more than one way.

As an analogy, Sarah tells you she can drink milk and feel fine.  Bob, however, says he breaks out in hives and starts wheezing when he has milk.  He is allergic.  Yoko feels none of that, but if she eats or drinks dairy, she gets diarrhea and bloating.  She’s not allergic.   Her tests for allergy are normal.   She has lactose intolerance.   Wynne can have dairy and feel fine…for a while.     But over the next day or two she gets a little congested, her joints ache and she feels fatigued.  Is she allergic? No. Is she crazy? No. But she is sensitive to dairy.

For Yoko we could verify her lactose intolerance by having her drink milk only and testing her blood sugar before and after. If it doesn’t go up, she’s not digesting it.  We could also do a hydrogen breath test on her to tell as the level would be high after milk, if she were truly digesting it.

For Wynne we could do a blood IgG antibody test or better have her formally remove dairy for a month and bring it back in and record any changes in how she feels over the next three days.

Mold biotoxin illness (Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome, CIRS) as described in last month’s blog is a special reaction that genetically susceptible people have to mold and the other toxins of a water damaged building.  While Jennifer may be able to tolerate a slightly moldy house, Jill might really deteriorate even though she’s not allergic.

How would Jill know?   The case definition for CIRS* is that she would be

  1. Exposed to a water damaged building
  2. Have a multisystem multi system multisystem illness
  3. Have laboratory testing similar to others who have CIRS
  4. Have a response to appropriate treatment
  1. Exposure to mold

Often you can see mold or detect a musty smell.   Its presence can be verified by a DNA test of the dust. More on the differences between that and air spore trapping in the next blog post. Most people get a test called the Health Effects Roster of Type Specific (Formers) of Mycotoxins and Inflammagens, Version 2 (HERTSMI 2).

  1. Multi-system, multi-symptom illness

There is a 37 symptom roster divided into 8 categories.  People with this condition generally have at least 1 symptom in each of 8 categories.  You can take this survey along with an initial screening test called the Visual contrast test online **

  1. Have laboratory testing similar to others who have CIRS

When someone is being checked for mold biotoxin illness we do a battery of tests of the body’s response to the biotoxins.  Generally, to be felt to have the condition you have to have 5 tests outside of the optimal range, the most important of which is the genetic susceptibility test.

  1. Have a response to appropriate treatment

If you have CIRS and you truly get in a safe place and walk down another step to the treatment path, we expect to see a noticeable improvement.

In summary, you can be allergic to mold but your response to mold could be much different and unfortunately worse than just an allergy.  These four things are how you know. If you’d like help looking at them, come see us- schedule an appointment today- (317) 795-1516