What Is Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome?

Potential homeowners are always warned about having a mold inspection done before purchase, and in the aftermath of a flood or water leak, homeowners are cautioned about mold removal. But is any of this truly necessary? After all, isn’t mold harmless and easily eradicated with bleach and a paper towel? Is mold found in the home, truly dangerous?

There are more than 100,000 species of mold in the world, and many of them are completely harmless to human beings. Then there are some species of mold whose encounters with humans can leave people with serious medical problems. Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS), is probably best known as “sick building disease“, and has been recognized as a legitimate health problem by the World Health Organization (WHO) since the 1980s. As the name indicates, victims of this condition have exposure to, or are actually living within, a structure that has a living environment that produces physical illnesses. While there are multiple causes of CIRS, WHO data indicates that the majority of its sufferers are living in water damaged buildings. This leads to the formation of and exposure to toxic “household molds” such as Stachybotrys chartarum.

CIRS is believed to be triggered when individuals are exposed to certain molds, algae, or fungus. Causing the exposed person’s immune system to go into overdrive, CIRS can cause a number of symptoms, ranging from chronic fatigue and headaches to memory loss to vision problems. Fever, rapid heart rates, and elevated white blood cell counts are other and more serious symptoms of CIRS. Studies have shown that removing sufferers from infested houses alone does not always cause their symptoms to abate.

Because CIRS shares so many symptoms with other illnesses, it can be difficult to diagnose. Its recovery prospects are mixed, with the best outcomes involving quick diagnosis and treatment. Home preventative maintenance can be very helpful, such as mold testing in the aftermath of water exposure in a home, and quick correction of water damage. But testing for the presence of toxic mold in a building is not a DIY project. Rather, homeowners should contact a professional testing company, such as AirMD. AirMD’s technicians will first conduct a visual inspection for the presence of mold, and note the extent of its presence. They will sample mold found in the air and on surfaces to determine its type. AirMD technicians will also measure both mold and moisture levels throughout the building. And the results of the AirMD inspection will be sent to an independent lab for analysis. Following a lab testing, AirMD will then send building owners lab results, plus recommendations for mold removal within 3-5 business days, so that owners can begin the process of having mold removed. Remember, moving mold quickly can keep CIRS from moving in.

By Simon Hahessy | Posted in Building Science