Symptoms such as an inflamed nasal passage, body aches and a cold that worsens usually suggest a sinus infection caused by bacteria. However, sometimes sinus problems aren’t due to bacterial infections but are caused from molds. A sinus infection caused by molds can easily be overlooked because of its rarity. Fortunately, exposure to mold is usually harmless to people having healthy immune systems. However, people with weak immune system who live in extreme fungal conditions are likely to suffer from sinus infections yearly.
Sinuses are air-filled passages in the face and head that are lined with a mucous membrane, which is a thin, moist layer of tissue. A sinus infection from mold is a condition occurring when the mucous membrane becomes inflamed because a person inhales airborne spores released from mold, which is a type of fungus, usually growing in moist damp areas.
In addition to the common symptoms of a bacterial sinus infection, there are other symptoms linked with a sinus problem caused by molds. Fever that comes and goes is a common symptom. A constant sore throat that doesn’t seem to heal is another sign. Caused by a fungal infection of the esophagus known as Candida esophagitis, the sore throat is the result of a weakened immune system.
Most treatments can be done at home. For example, hot showers and facial steam baths can help relieve congested sinuses. Over-the-counter decongestants and antihistamines are effective. Oral antibiotics, used daily for about two to three weeks, are the most common type of treatment. Nebulized antibiotics can treat a sinus infection topically, involving breathing in the medication through the nose, allowing antibiotics to go directly to the infection.
Each room of a home should be checked for signs of mold infestation. For example, in extremely humid areas, mold can easily grow on bed clothes and pillow cases. Regularly washing sheets in hot water kills mold. Other preventive measures include using indoor air purifiers and giving away old books, in addition to other items where mold is prone to grow. Keeping a clean kitchen and refrigerator also helps prevent mold from growing.
Besides homes, various types of toxic molds are sometimes found in child care centers and schools. Indoor air quality in schools and other public buildings used by children should be a major concern for parents and anyone using these buildings. Common sinus symptoms in children should be noted, besides parents ensuring schools are regularly inspected for mold.