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Robinhubb

Pans and mold

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So I just got a whole bunch of labs back and my kids and I all have might myco p and our levels of tons of molds were tested as well and the worst one which is Stachybotrys chart arum

 

im frustrated!! Glad we have answers but do we move? What do we do? We can’t afford to move or be sick.. any advice

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Robin, I'm so surprised that there were no replies -- probably due to the holidays, because I know that we can't be the only ones who've dealt with mold.  My sympathies go to you -- mold is such a pain to deal with, especially with a sick one and all the financial implications.   

We'd done a bunch of things over the three years since we discovered mold.  And initially, despite all I knew, despite my love for my very ill DS, I made a variety of mistakes.  What the best things to do are depends a lot on your specific situation -- do you know the source of the contamination?  Do you have insurance that will cover some?   What's  contaminated?   Just how bad is the contamination?   How sick is your kid?  Do you have  some relatives/friends to stay with during remediation,  etc. etc.

A super-useful book is "Toxic" by Neil Nathan.  With chapters on de-toxifying your body from mycotoxins (mold toxins).  And a chapter (appendix?) by the incomparable John Banta, Certified Industrial Hygienist on cleaning.  It's possible to read just the chapters you need up front though of course it's somewhat cumulative.  It's become my bible.

I'd do better to quote from there, but here are some initial guidelines, some of which I resisted initially.

  • first do no harm. 
    Meaning, avoid spreading the mold (don't open sealed boxes, don't open closed books, change your shoes & clothes when moving from contaminated to uncontaminated rooms (if any).  But also, don't toss irreplaceable things like your grandmother's photographs and quilts.  For such, if they're not wet, you can almost always stop any growth and set aside the question of if/how to restore till you have the time and emotional energy).
  • If possible, get at least some consulting time from the inspector / mold remediation companies, certified industrial hygienists, etc.  You may get some for free, some you may pay for, but it will save you mistakes.
  • Before spending money on remediation (of the structure), make sure you have found ALL sources of water intrusion, both active (slow drip under the sink or from a leaky roof), and intermittent (say you get moisture in the attic only when the AC is on and a duct has condensation, or water coming through brick foundation, but only when the soil is saturated).

Till you can move out

  • minimize the exposure in your child(ren)'s bedroom.
    If your child's room is clean, keep it that way. If you have air-recirculating central heating, tape off the vent into your child's room to keep contaminated air out. Install a kid-safe room heater if needed.  Maybe even Install a zippered doorway seal (we did. They're $20 from HD). Or a 2-overlapping plastic flaps system -- anything to reduce air flow into the child's room.  Mold is pushed on air currents through tiny cracks whenever there are air pressure changes, like when the heater comes on or a door slams, so nothing is perfect, but 
    Since mold settles, changing slippers just inside the room helps. 
  • If the child's room wasn't that clean, but another room is, move them.  You can wipe down a wooden crib really carefully, and get a new crib mattress. Don't move a dirty mattress (or pillow) into a clean room though; air beds are much cheaper and nicer than they used to be, and have the advantage of never getting contaminated on the inside.  Or at least cover the mattress with a bedbug-sealing zippered mattress cover.
  • Get a good HEPA filter air cleaner and have it running 24/7 within 3-4' of your child's head, esp. when they're in bed.  Sometimes you can score a great "dinged" model on Amazon of Austin Air, IQ air etc.  I bought an Austin Air for less than the price of a replacement filter.  But honestly, any reputable HEPA air cleaner, like the Honeywell 200/300, is going to be much better than none at all.    The key is that it only collects and cleans air well from a 3-4' radius.  
  • Get a good sealed HEPA vacuum cleaner, and vacuum the house often.
  • Wear a good face mask and gloves while handling contaminated stuff.  Even the best fitting N100 face mask (with a valve) only reduces your exposure by about 80%, because the seal iis never perfect.  So pay extra attention to the seal, (I had to buy 4 different brands before I found one that fit my short face).
  • Vacuum all dusty objects before handling them. 
  • If at least the most vulnerable parts of the family can move out while the unaffected members stay behind to supervise remediation (from an IICRC certified firm), that will help.  (I ERMI tested my relatives' bedrooms first)
  • Throw out any fabric-upholstered furniture, pillows, mattresses and carpeting in significantly contaminated rooms.  There are exceptions to this but as those things are impossible to clean completely, this is the  clearest, "easy to say" rule.
  • If there are no active leaks, don't waste your money on ultrasound, ozone, etc treatments to kill the mold -- a dead mold's toxins are just as toxic as a live one's.   

Healing

  • Before focusing on elimination, have to support the liver, gut and kidneys, since those are essential to metabolizing and excreting the mycotoxins.  See Neil Nathan's book, or Shoemaker's.    It is important to do the milk thistle, Liver GI Detox or such first, else there won't be much elimination, no matter how much mycotoxins there are in the body. That means you'd also get a "false negative" on any urine tests.  
  • There are herbal and medical things one can do to help eliminate mycotoxins. 
  • Many folks would say that it's best to start on those after the patient is out of the contamination, certainly for powerful tools like Cholestyramine, which some folks become sensitized to if they're still inflamed from active mold exposure.
  • Too much to say at this time of the night.  But there are certainly youtube videos to help.  
  • If you're not sure that mold is a major part of your child's issues, then you can do genetic susceptibility testing (see Shomaker's DRB-DQ) testing.
  • If you want to have a sense of how much your child may have absorbed, there's no direct measure.  The best you can get is how much they are excreting.  After they are able to excrete.  That's the reason for step 1 in this section.  So, after you do the first item in this list (getting the liver working well), have the child do a urine mycotoxin test from Great Plains Lab or Real Time Labs. .  Neil Nathan's book gives other tips for making the test more likely to be positive, to show what's stored, and goes over the pros/cons of the two labs that do these tests.


PS.  Just FYI,  here are some key mistakes I made:

  • I didn't move out my son to a friend's house as early as I should have. 
  • I kept a lot of things at the start, not realizing the risks of cross-contamination (I'm a former refugee - it's hard for me to toss things),
  • I appeased DH more (he really didn't want the hassle, and thought I was being extreme). 
  • We had our stuff in a POD outside our home, some apparently getting musty from the repeated condensation.   
  • We didn't get our "un-contaminated" parts of the home re-tested before moving things back in, and bought new mattresses before we knew all was healthy.
  • We didn't fully follow Shoemaker's 3-phase serum testiing protocol  (test before leaving, do 1 month of cholestyramine 4x daily, re-test after a month.  Reduce cholestyramine.  If you have to wait to re-enter home, enter home, re-test again just before return, and re-test 4 days after re-entry to see if you're tolerating the remediated home.    We didn't do the 1-month test, to show us iif he was ready to reduce the dose.  
  • I didn't check my son's therapist's office and OT therapy room for mold.  Both turned out to be highly contaminated and when he began doing both, he had a relapse.
  • I didn't realize that inability to eat much, and nausea could b gastroparesis from mast cell activation (from mold)
  • I expected my relatives to understand why I had to be so anal once we got serious about keeping DS away from mold.  I was blind-sighted by their judgmental reaction, (while I was also pleasantly surprised by the understanding and caring from less close friends,.)
  • there's lots else. 

Still, my son is definitely healthier and happier now.  The process stinks, but knowledge is power. 

Good luck.

It's been a month since you posted. please add a status update and ask more questions.

 

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We are a I’ll in the midst of finding the issue. Nothing visible but def something hiding. I’m pissed. Want to leave our house all together. We are broke and tired!!!! Thanks for the help

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Oh do I understand the stuck and pissed, and $$$ stressed and tired.
 
If you want to talk over what you've already done and seen, and brainstorm, give me a call.  I'm not an environmental hygienist, but I've unfortunately dealt with hidden sources.  And as the CIH I work with repeatedly told me, "an outlet or hairline crack in the drywall is like a highway"  and the killer thing is that "every time you change air pressure, say by closing a door, it forces mold fragments & mycotoxins out through those gaps".

So if I can help with the detective work, I will.
Where are you located?
Lucy

PS. I'm a night owl on PST, in the SF Bay Area.  Send a DM.

Edited by wisdom_seeker
Replaced my number with request for DM.

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I’m just seeing this. I’m a night owl most nights too as my kids harm thoughts keep me up. So I’m in the Houston area. Frustrated to say the least. Cholestramine hasn’t done much. Now homeschooling and even I myself am having bad dreams of her hurting herself .. because it’s what I fear. I’m mad because bobs keeps denying IVIG. Any help would be great.

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On 1/19/2020 at 12:46 AM, wisdom_seeker said:

Oh do I understand the stuck and pissed, and $$$ stressed and tired.
 
If you want to talk over what you've already done and seen, and brainstorm, give me a call.  I'm not an environmental hygienist, but I've unfortunately dealt with hidden sources.  And as the CIH I work with repeatedly told me, "an outlet or hairline crack in the drywall is like a highway"  and the killer thing is that "every time you change air pressure, say by closing a door, it forces mold fragments & mycotoxins out through those gaps".

So if I can help with the detective work, I will.
Where are you located?
Lucy
408-464-3255

PS. I'm a night owl on PST, in the SF Bay Area.

Had house tested bad Theron had moisture. Cleaned it up, and the ac vents tested positive for aspergillosis. So we had all new duct work and a halo put in. It’s basically an ozone mold and bacteria killer. Still dealing with this. 

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Do you have central Air? If so you can use low level micron filters. I would suggest adding uv light at the filter. I use a portable lamp in the bathrooms. Lights are cheap.

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