Is Your Home Making You Sick? – Part 1

I have recently come across mould disease and Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS). I didn’t realise how big an issue mould in our homes could be. So I decided to speak to Building Biologist, Carol Parr from Mitey Fresh, to find out more.

What can you tell me about CIRS?

Homes are generally considered to be safe and healthy living environments where people spend a large part of their time each day. The interaction of the home and the environment it is located in determines the quality of the indoor air and in turn impacts and determines occupant health and well-being.

In response to exposure to Water Damaged Buildings, Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS), involves a systemic inflammatory response that results when an individual does not have the immune response genes to eliminate neurotoxins produced by their exposure to Water Damaged Buildings.

CIRS affects multiple systems in the body. Causes patients suffering from exposure to biotoxins to exhibit multiple symptoms including fatigue, weakness, muscle cramps, memory problems, difficulties with concentration, disorientation and confusion, headaches, vertigo, light headedness, muscle aches, post-exertion malaise, cramping, joint pains without inflammatory arthritis, hypersensitivity to bright light, blurred vision, burning or red eyes, tearing, cough, asthma-like illness, shortness of breath, chronic sinus congestion, air hunger or unusual shortness of breath at rest, chronic abdominal problems including nausea, cramping, secretory diarrhoea, a propensity to experience static shocks as well as establish the underlying cause of Multiple Sclerosis, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, fibromyalgia and depression.

Dr Ritchie Shoemaker discovered that 24% of the population are genetically pre-disposed to develop CIRS after exposure. CIRS is diagnosed through blood tests for known inflammatory markers and treated successfully, including now in Australia.

What other issues can mould cause?

Mould is ubiquitous throughout the world, found indoors and outdoors, growing virtually on any organic substance, as long as moisture and oxygen are present and with dust and dirt normally present, provides sufficient nutrients.

Its when buildings get wet or damp and stay damp for long periods of time, that microbial growths – moulds, fungi and bacteria grow on and decompose materials and furnishings. This microbial growth can result in significant increases of indoor concentrations of airborne mould spores, fragments, mycotoxins and microbial volatile organic compounds.

When moisture intrusion or accumulation is discovered, the source should be identified and eliminated as soon as possible to stop microbial growth and building material degradation, health problems for the occupants and the deterioration of the buildings. 

Mould can be invisible and odourless in spite of causing problems. Only 25% of mould spores are viable, that is, able to germinate. Some moulds produce MVOCS creating damp, musty odours synonymous with water damaged buildings.

What is a building biologist and what do you do?

Building Biology examines the interaction between all living things and their natural and built environments and connects their impact upon the health and well-being of those who occupy them, synergistically providing us with an understanding of how to manage healthier homes, work places, schools and effectively enhance healthy, happy, productive occupants.

When nothing else seems to have worked and you and your family are still sick, I come to your home to help you understand what’s going on. Analyse, assess and identify the adverse health hazards, help you implement simple, immediate solutions to more complex mitigation so you and your family can become happy and healthy once more.

So, what does a Healthy Home Assessment cover? Together, you and me, look at things very thoroughly!

  • your home inside and out
  • the history of the house, the site, building materials and design,
  • environmental allergens, mould, dust mites, pollen and pollution,
  • bedding, furnishing materials, toys and clothing,
  • moisture, ventilation, heating and cooling,
  • chemicals, pesticides, cleaning and personal care products,
  • pets, pet hair and dander,
  • electrical appliances and telecommunication devices,
  • drinking water, food packaging and kitchenware,
  • health issues of every family member,
  • and much more!

In essence, I determine exactly what you need to do to create a healthy outcome for you and your loved ones. You’ll receive a comprehensive understanding of the issues in your house, your environment and the issues that are likely to be causing you and your family adverse health problems. 

How do people know when to call you? What should they look for in their homes?

Are you always sick? Is it your home? Maybe you feel like you’re going crazy. Maybe nobody believes you when you say there’s something wrong. Or…maybe you’ve been right all along and it’s time to find a solution.

It can be frustrating when no-one listens. Can’t they see that something isn’t right?

You’re feeling tired and unhappy. Or your spouse is always complaining about headaches. Your child just isn’t getting better … the tension and unknowing is getting overwhelming.

So you head to the internet and find no help. A mess of contradictory information, scare tactics, pages of maybe this nonsense or maybe that, someone heard a story once from someone they knew one time about someone else…Confusing?

Your family and friends look at you with perplexity. Even your partner is starting to get frustrated. And your doctors … they mean well, but they just don’t get it.

Why won’t anyone believe you? All you want is to be healthy and normal again.

Can it really be all in your head? If it’s all in your head, why do you feel this way? If only there were something you could do. The good news is… There is.

I can imagine exactly how you must be feeling, locked into a chronic cycle of debilitating symptoms and spending endless amounts of money looking for a cure. When you’re not getting any better, and it starts to impact through loss of time at work or your child’s attendance at school, it starts to get more serious. You’ve tried everything and you’re at your wit’s end. So, tell me, what’s it like at your place?

Is bathroom mould ok or going to make you sick?

Bathrooms fundamentally are prime locations for mould invaders. Some types of mould do grow easily in showers, it’s the cellulose hungry mould that encourages mould growth and the water-resistant, shower surface material that discourages it. It doesn’t mean the mould in your bathroom is of the most dangerous variety.

Authorities do not recommend random laboratory testing, the only reliable method for determining what type of mould is growing in your shower. No matter what type of mould you have, the solution is the same, get rid of it!

To contact Mitey Fresh or find out more Click Here.

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About the Author

Liama Aesha has been a Shiatsu Practitioner for 17 years and a Yoga Teacher for 10 years.

She owns her own clinic and Yoga studio in Dee Why. She believes in empowering her clients with the knowledge to understand their own health and to give them the best tools to use as and when they require.

Registered Member of Shiatsu Therapy Association, Australia.
Registered Level 2 Teacher with Yoga Australia
Registered Yoga Therapist with Yoga Australia


Training Certified with Yoga Australia