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Struggling Practicing Mold Avoidance: How to avoid cross-contaminating new living space when moving?

Discussion in 'Addressing Biotoxin, Chemical & Food Sensitivities' started by DuguXinJoy, Jul 16, 2015.

  1. DuguXinJoy

    DuguXinJoy

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    Hello! This is my first post here. :) *waves*

    So, I'm pretty sure that I have biotoxin illness. I began having MCS a year and a half ago, then proceeded to move into not one, but TWO water-damaged buildings. (D'oh.)

    I'd be very grateful for advice from those who are more experienced with practicing vigilant mold avoidance.

    ----

    I've just gotten the finances, my mental/emotional state, and life in order enough to move out of the water-damaged building I was living in.

    I'm very new to mold avoidance and having a good amount of trouble with it.

    I'm making my way through Lisa Petrison and Erik Johnson's book, although EMF sensitivities and brain fog, combined with sensitivities to paper products, really prevent me from educating myself as quickly or thoroughly as I'd like. :-(

    I moved a couple of weeks ago to a house in an environmental-sensitivity-safe housing community and brought no possessions with me.

    It seemed fine in terms of acute reactions when I got here, but...

    I have been finding that when I shower here, or come into contact with clothing, towels, etc., I feel like the toxins from my body are cross-contaminating my living space.

    I can smelly moldiness in the air strongly, particularly in the bathroom, and even with open window and bathroom vent, it's still gotten gradually worse -- itchiness on skin on contact with the air around the room, breathing sensitivities....

    The indoor air quality in general got significantly worse when I (foolishly) ran the in-house washing machine in an odd circumstance.

    (Perhaps the items I was washing had been left damp for too long prior to the wash, since I'm sure the washer/dryer here have been used inside here before, and the air seemed fine when I moved in? -- I'd mistakenly thrown some hand-washed items into the washer rather than the dryer in a late-night head fog, only to find them in the wrong unit--and still wet--in the morning.

    So, decided to try giving them a spin in the washing machine, and that's when the major issues with indoor air quality here began, in my perceptions.

    If my perceptions are accurate, it seems I would've been better off (a) not doing laundry or potentially cross-contaminatey things while very tired or head-fogged and (b) just tossing the towels out and replacing them.

    And probably better off using a hand-washing/-drying system, so I don't have a laundry machine to potentially cross contaminate?).

    After just a few days here, the sheets, new towels/pillowcases, etc. that had been fine began feeling significantly mycotoxin-/toxin-laden.

    Am I cross-contaminating from my body? My head especially seems to feel very itchy/burny and give me horrid neurological symptoms which showering alleviates (albeit only for a few hours).

    Shaving the hair off in a close shave is what helps the most - more than washing even a very short length of hair (less than 1 cm all over) 7 times has, by far. Shaving the hair off actually feels like it gets rid of whatever the problem was, for the most part.

    (The stubble left still gives me a hellish itch and symptoms, but it's far better than letting it grow out for even a few days, and just trying to wash it.)

    Anyplace on my body with noticeable hair growth gives me similar feelings of illness and nausea. And of late, I've been very diligent in simply keeping it all shaved pretty closely.

    But, I still feel like I'm accumulating mycotoxins on my body, and each shower isn't removing enough. I've tried activated charcoal soap, but it feels like my body just isn't fully decontaminated, even after scrubbing to the point of drying the skin out a bit too much. And often just becomes quickly either recontaminated, or re-symptomatic from the existing, incompletely removed toxins I still feel on me.

    I've only moved this once from my previous, severely moisture-/water-damaged building thusfar, but I had gone out on short, half-day excursions prior to this.

    I found that when I'd, say, gone to a friend's house for the day (where I borrowed clean clothing to wea, and my reactivity disappeared - this was the first of many clues that it was my house and possessions that had spent time around it making me ill), the mycotoxins on my body seemed to contaminate items I was in contact with - particularly cloth-based items. Sheets, sofa, pillows...

    (I determine this by the insanely itchy sensations that don't go away unless I'm in clean air, away from clothes, sheets, or other fibrous materials that provoke me, skin crawling sensations, sharp tingling sensations all over the skin that are a cross between static electricity and a limb "falling asleep," all sorts of raised, rash-like bumps appearing... These reactions all start up within seconds or milliseconds of touching something I believe to be contaminated.)

    ...so, I'm considering moving -again-, to one of the other available units here.

    I think this housing community is my best option short-term, what with severe MCS and issues with travelling.

    (I hope to find an option out in the desert, or someplace naturally low in humidity or mold growth, in the next couple of months, and arrange to move there. Right now, I'm in a very humid part of the country and suspect that contributes strongly to mold growth/mycotoxin problems.

    And, I'm somewhat aware of others reporting issues in "environmentally safe housing," because previous residents tend to have a high likelihood of having brought mycotoxins along, given that MCS is often co-morbid with living in a moldy/water-damaged home.

    I haven't ERMI tested here, and waiting on the ERMI test we managed to finagle getting done at the previous water-damaged residence, but ERMI or not, this MCS community is the best immediate housing option I've found so far, and better than actually being in the water-damaged house. :) )

    But, I'm a bit bewildered by this chain of feeling fine when I get someplace, then feeling like I'm slowly cross-contaminating things.

    I've wondered if this is why those practicing extreme mold avoidance often have to move multiple times -- simply repeated cross-contamination?

    Vitamins and supplements and antioxidants (liposomal C, liposomal B vitamins, aloe, CoQ10, lion's mane, various others that've worked for me) all make me feel noticeably better briefly -- often clearing up my brain fog, migraines, joint pain, stomach pains, etc., ...and then skin contact or breathing in questionable-quality air begins to make me feel a lot worse within an hour or less, and I begin itching all over.

    The horrible itchiness and rash all over my body begins to fade and disappear within minutes when I'm not in contact with any clothing, and clothing is one of the worst things for me to try to maneuver, what with having severe MCS too.

    Any suggestions regarding clothing, laundry techniques, or laundry additives for severe mycotoxin sensitivities are welcomed, too!

    I'm trying to wrap my foggy mind around how one would manage to shower or wash off upon arrival at a new living space (or when needing to de-contaminate) without releasing noticeable amounts of mycotoxins and the like into the air of the bathroom area, where they'll aggregate. Or disperse into the other parts of the house.

    Even if one showers carefully at the previous living space, it seems like there's going to be _some_ transfer while one transitions from one place to another.

    What am I missing? Should this be simpler, or going better? Is this going to simply take a lot of failures and re-contaminations?

    Am I just super hypersensitive and in need of much more extreme avoidance?

    How do I clean off properly from past environments or re-exposures, and avoid cross-contaminations in a furnished place that I'm renting?

    Was it the laundry / head-fog issue? Am I not being careful enough in my mold avoidance?

    Is my body somehow being a very effective mycotoxin-storage sponge?

    Are there things that I can do to mitigate the problem, or ensure that I nip a mycotoxin contamination issue in the bud before it gets going, hops on me/into the air, and contaminates everything I own yet again?

    Thanks for your time and effort in any answers or repsonses!

    DuguXin
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2015
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  2. Forebearance

    Forebearance Senior Member

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    Hi and welcome, DuguXin!

    Congratulations on getting out of your water-damaged building! That is a huge accomplishment.

    The time when you first start living a mold avoidance lifestyle can be very challenging.
    I have sympathy and empathy for what you are going through. I'm so sorry you are experiencing all these tough challenges!

    It's normal to be hypersensitve at this point. And it's normal to make mistakes. I takes a lot of trial and error to learn how to live this lifestyle.

    Some people luck out and find a good place to live right away. Other people find they have to move several times, for various reasons. Living places can go bad, they can turn out to be worse than they seemed at first, or we can accidentally cross-contaminate them.

    I've moved many times and have accidentally ruined many rental homes and hotel rooms. it's taken me years to get good at doing this.

    It's really nice that you can shave your head, because that does make things easier!

    I'm glad that you are living somewhere where you can move easily. It does sound like moving to a different unit might help things.

    It does make life easier if you are living in a place with really pristine outdoor air. It gives you more of a margin of error. You can recover more easily from small mistakes.

    It sounds like you might be detoxing really hard and fast, if you are radiating toxins from your body. That might be a good thing in the long run. Maybe you will get well more quickly than some of us have!

    I remember Erik talking about sleeping with many towels under his head when he was seriously detoxing. He would wake up and remove the top towel which had absorbed a bunch of poisons and then go back to sleep. I think he did something similar with sheets.

    But you might want to wait until you are sure you are in a good place before you buy a bunch of linens. You will probably have to buy new stuff when you move to a new unit.

    The best place to do serious heavy detoxing is probably sleeping in a tent outdoors. Especially in a location with pristine outside air. But I know that camping is a big logistical effort, especially when a person is still really sick. Even sleeping in a tent in your back yard might be helpful if you are super reactive and detoxing hard.

    Are you taking any kind of binders? Like cholestyramine, Welchol, phytosterols, or soluble fiber? They can help by sucking up the internal toxins that get released when detoxing.

    Other things that can help are soaking in a hot springs or hot tub, or using an far infrafred sauna. Or even swimming.

    If you look at other threads in this section, you will see discussions about supplements that have helped other people who are working on detoxing mold toxins.

    I once rented a vacation cabin that seemed fine at first. Then I ran the washing machine and realized that it was pretty moldy. The whole cabin felt bad to me after that, and I had to leave. It does happen.

    I can't give you specific advice for your situation, since we are all different and I don't know everything. But I hope that you can trust your gut instincts about what to do and what feels good.

    I haven't had the experience of contaminating a place by taking a shower and washing off the bad stuff. But that doesn't mean it couldn't happen. Anything is probably possible in this world of hyper reactivity.

    And I began practicing mold avoidance in a location where the outside air is fairly decent. So that helped. I could open the windows and air the place out and at times it worked to de-contaminate things.

    I wish you all the best and I hope that you can figure out a way to live that feels decent to you and will allow you to heal.

    Forebearance
     
  3. DuguXinJoy

    DuguXinJoy

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    @Forebearance

    Hi!

    I just wanted to say thank you for this post.

    I have a bad habit of trying to formulate a really well thought out response but being too head-fogged or sick to do so, and not getting back to a conversational topic for some months, sometimes.

    ...your response meant a lot to me and was clearly thought out and kind.

    It's been a big difference in my life, having found the Phoenix Rising community.

    I'm not taking binders yet. I've been slowly browsing/lurking around the baords on ME.

    I haven't tried anything other than Activated Charcoal and Bentonite Clay (taking the clay internally) so far.

    Tend to throw up or have bowel incontinence and massive nausea/illness for days after taking either, though - not sure if that means I'm quite toxic?

    I might have a look at citrus pectin or some of the others.

    Would have to likely get out to a doctor before I could get someone to prescribe CSM, but I really want to.

    I'm also actually not sure whether I've contracted mosquito-borne Lyme, since I spent summer 2014, and some part of early this summer outside in backyards, in well-known Lyme-carrying mosquito area, getting bitten severely for lack of safe indoor shelter.

    Towards the end of that period earlier this summer, right prior to finding the current housing situation, I started getting very very reactive to any bites from mosquitoes at all, and very unusual joint aches and exhaustion in response to a bite.

    Does that (possible Lyme) change how one might want to deal with binders?

    Lyme seems like such a big topic - and one that I haven't really even begun to research - that I'm not sure that that's even a valid question in how simplistically it's stated.

    Didn't manage to get to a safe place regarding mold, yet. Got even worse over the last couple weeks, am sure it's moldy here, still trying to work out how to move.

    Kind of a scary prospect, being on the move and messing it up over and over again until I've learned to get it right stably enough -- don't have much experience with this and didn't have much time to develop my life-living skills in the bit of life I've lived prior to getting sick (Asperger's, PTSD, always somewhat on the edge of post-exertional fatigue for years prior to actually getting acutely sick).

    The prospect of dealing with landlords, building contractors, or whomever else might be involved in suitable living situations, that don't know about ME, environmental sensitivities, biotoxin illness ... can seem a bit daunting at times.

    Especially without always having the energy to communicate politely and clearly about the relevant issues and not seem overly out there and insane.

    The living situation I was in was with a family member previously. It's eerie how much his treatment of me was to a T what's described in the most recent post about mistreatment by UK workers.

    I didn't know about post-exertional fatigue and post-exertional neurological exhaustion as deep dangers properly until some of my recent research.

    Living in that environment, any discovery of needing to rest, or rest being important, was so threatening to the family member caretaking for me that I couldn't both educate myself on my illness and keep my financial/physical support.

    I still feel like I have strong PTSD from it; educating myself on facets of taking my ME/CFS seriously sends me into a panic attack if I go too fast.

    ...I'm still learning to slow down and cast off years of "just pick yourself up by your bootstraps; you look fine!" that I've gotten to internalizing.

    I think it was hard to do that while I was still super-dependent on living with family, to admit that their treatment of me was tantamount to medical care/emotional abuse.

    I guess I'm learning not to overpush myself emotionally, noticing that I've been carrying around this internalized ... background "you must be stressed and up at at 'em at all times" guilt/shaming around actually relaxing/resting, and my energy levels are pretty shot at the moment.

    I had some other questions I'd meant to ask about your experiences and how you managed to find a safe place to live, or travel properly, when you had to move.

    Can't seem to form them into coherent quest format at the moment, though.

    The ERMI on the old place with family came back at 10.38.

    I'm considering getting an ERMI done at this new place. Moving attempt didn't help, and I ended up staying in this same unit, which I'm absolutely sure is moldy now.

    Developed several new biotoxin illness symptoms, a bizarre severe rash, and short-term memory and mental clarity got a lot worse.

    Not yet sure how to go about moving, as I have severe MCS. :) Determined to make it work out somehow, and keep fighting the fight to live well with this illness, though!

    Apologies if this reply is somewhat incoherent - brain fog and adrenal fatigue is being a doozy.

    Did really want to get back to you and thank you for your kind reply!

    DuguXin
     
  4. Forebearance

    Forebearance Senior Member

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    Wow, @DuguXinJoy it sounds like your life is full of challenges right now. I'm so sorry to hear how hard things have been for you.

    I am glad you are being very gentle with yourself. Yes, I think your instinct about being quite toxic when you react to binders that way is right. Either you are really toxic or those binders just didn't agree with you.

    It might be safer to start with some binders that are much less powerful. I couldn't handle charcoal or clay, either. They suck out all kinds of nutrients as well as toxins.

    But binders in general are good for people with Lyme disease, too. Having the Lyme bacteria in you is like having lots of tiny toxin factories inside. The best way to head off Lyme disease is to do a course of antibiotics as soon as you suspect you have aquired the illness. But if you've had it a long time, you might have to be more careful and start more gradually at killing off the bacteria.

    I knew one person with Lyme disease who was so sensitive to binders that her doctor told her, just start out by eating an apple every day. (Apples have a lot of soluble fiber in them.) Or a bowl of oatmeal is another suple gentle form of soluble fiber.

    Yes, unfortunately finding a decent living situation can be very difficult. It takes a certain amount of luck. Some people have found good situations, though. So it is not impossible!

    Don't worry about how soon you are able to reply. I think all of us on this board understand how it is.

    And yes, I think that for me this whole illness has been about learning how to take better care of myself.

    If you are able to spend a couple hours in an outside place with nice fresh air, that can help. I used to go sit in a city park when I was first dealing with this stuff. Well, I still do that sometimes!

    Love,
    Forebearance
     
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  5. Christopher

    Christopher Senior Member

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  6. DuguXinJoy

    DuguXinJoy

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    @Forebearance

    Thank you so much for the love and really kind post. :)

    ---

    ("It might be safer to start with some binders that are much less powerful. I couldn't handle charcoal or clay, either. They suck out all kinds of nutrients as well as toxins.")

    ---


    Sorry if this is a muddle-headed question, but which of the binders are a lot less powerful?

    I'm having a bit of trouble digesting the information piecemeal forum posts I found as far as gentler binders go.

    Or, is there a good set of resources you can point me to on that?

    If I've likely had Lyme for awhile, is Phoenix Rising a good place to start in educating myself? I'm usually fairly good at sifting through information, but the entirety of Lyme info available online seems a little more like a tangle of contradictions to me at the moment, and I've heard in passing of others' various poor experiences on bad protocols.

    ---

    ("Don't worry about how soon you are able to reply. I think all of us on this board understand how it is.

    And yes, I think that for me this whole illness has been about learning how to take better care of myself.

    If you are able to spend a couple hours in an outside place with nice fresh air, that can help. I used to go sit in a city park when I was first dealing with this stuff. Well, I still do that sometimes!")

    ---


    That sounds wonderful. I wish I were able to tolerate the outdoor air. I have severe enough MCS that -- unless it's just biotoxins, or other stuff in the air that's merely endemic to this area -- I can't be outside anywhere in a city for very long, even with a mask.

    Prior to getting sick acutely, I loved the serenity of spending time in a clean outside place.

    Here, which is a bit of a ways outside on the countryside, the degree of toxins that I experience inhaling - combined with summer heat - is still a bit much for my body.

    But, I'm making an extra note of outdoor air quality as a crucial aspect to look for in finding a way to accomplish safe living as a result of your suggestions. :)

    ---

    ("Love,
    Forebearance")


    ---

    Love,

    DuguXin
     
  7. Forebearance

    Forebearance Senior Member

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    Hi @DuguXin,

    Okay, let me think about the less powerful binders. There is Welchol, which is a prescription medicine here in the US. Some people who can't tolerate cholestyramine can tolerate it better. But it is still pretty strong for someone who is sensitive.

    Then there are phytosterols. You can find them in the health food store in the "cholesterol lowering" section. They are still a bit too strong for me, personally. Then there is soluble fiber. Examples are citrus pectin, Benefiber, psyllium. Then there are foods that are rich in soluble fiber, like the apples and oatment I mentioned.

    Oh yeah, there is chlorella. I am sure there are many more, but I can't remember them right now! I hope someone else will post and add some.

    I don't know a good Lyme resource, except that I remember people talking about something called Lyme Net. Is that still the most popular place to discuss Lyme disease? Maybe someone else here will answer that for you.

    I'm sorry to hear that you have to deal with outdoor pollution, on top of your other challenges. I am lucky to be in a city that is not very polluted, especially out at the edges of town.

    Fore
     
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  8. GypsyGirl

    GypsyGirl

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    Hey @DuguXinJoy ,

    Whew, I feel ya. I've moved around a bit trying to find a safe mold-free environment, and tried many things to make the mold-present situations more tolerable.

    Here is a thread from last year, when I was trying to figure it out. http://forums.phoenixrising.me/index.php?threads/help-how-to-move-from-moldy-environment.30104/
    I updated that thread while finding which things that worked for me (with lists of what I used). After more than a year, I have seen huge improvements.

    If nothing else, try purifying the air in your place with a few drops of Four Thieves oil (a knockoff version of Thieves, but I'll vouch that it did work for me) to a bowl of hot water and letting it disperse. I found I could breathe better almost immediately...I changed these bowls every 3 days or so.

    Whatever you can do to filter air can help - I used a portable HEPA air purifier, got higher quality a/c filters. You can clean things in your apartment, but plastic gloves and inexpensive disposable activated charcoal masks are useful if you're sensitive... and when trying to de-mold while living in a moldy environment means you will stir some things up while attempting to clean.

    Not mentioned in the linked thread: I also eventually got a dehumidifier (high humidity = mold, and I'm in a high humidity area). If you can't buy a new mattress, consider getting waterproof allergy covers for your mattress/box spring/pillows. I would recommend replacing pillows entirely if you can.

    One other thing in reference to the detox protocols discussed in this thread:
    Dr. Shoemaker mentions something to the effect of getting OUT of the mold environment before starting cholestyramine (and other binders). Detox protocols can both cause Herxheimer effects and temporarily make you MORE sensitive to mold, and possibly more susceptible to further temporary allergies/sensitivities.

    I tried cholestyramine while living in a moldy environment and it made everything worse with no improvement. My ENT (who follows Shoemaker's protocols) said that my body simply couldn't tolerate the act of trying to detox while being actively poisoned. :p Once mold in the environment was under more control, I was able to slowly ramp up detox methods. I was quite sick when I moved, so it may be different for you... but I felt I should mention it.

    If you would like specific details or have other questions, feel free to query away or PM me. Hang in there. Getting rid of mold can be done.
     
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  9. Forebearance

    Forebearance Senior Member

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    That's a good point about not taking binders while you're still being poisoned, @GypsyGirl .
     
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  10. GypsyGirl

    GypsyGirl

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    Oh, I meant to mention Lyme resources in my post.

    I haven't found a great Lyme website. I'm a member of lyme.net, which I've used mostly for doc referrals. Healingwell.com has been a resource for me, but there's as much misleading as helpful info as it's people just like us experimenting.

    Honestly, the most useful Lyme resource I'm come across is the book "Why Can't I get Better" by Dr. Richard Horowitz. http://www.amazon.com/Better-Solving-Mystery-Chronic-Disease/dp/1250019400

    It's sound information, and he organizes the book so it's very easy to read a little bit at a time. I learned more comprehensively about Lyme and how it can interact with other health issues more from that than anything else. My local library had it.
     
  11. GypsyGirl

    GypsyGirl

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    And one more addendum (sorry if I'm overwhelming you!), but regarding laundry:

    For about three months after moving, I washed all my clothes/bedding in a white vinegar rinse (a couple cups of vinegar in a large load of laundry), a regular wash with unscented laundry detergent and some borax, and preheated the dryer on high for a couple minutes before starting the dryer with an unscented dryer sheet. Once a cycle ended, I immediately switched out the clothes into the dryer or took them into my apartment to hang dry (so there weren't sitting wet for more than a minute or two).

    Vinegar, borax, and heat all help kill mold to different degrees. Perhaps once a week I'd bleach the washer for the first month or so, then every couple of months. (Bleach kills mold.)

    New clothing I'd have to wash a handful of times (basically til it stopped itching). Due to MCS, I seemed to develop a sensitivity to antiwrinkle fabrics. I read anti-wrinkle fabric has formaldehyde. So if the usual laundry tactics hadn't worked, I soaked new pieces of itchy clothes in a diluted whole milk bath for a few days (in the fridge, covered) then washed as usual noted above. That worked. (Milk apparently can pull formaldehyde out of clothes. It certainly pulled something out of it.)

    After the 3 month mark, I was able to slowly stop doing all the extra precautions and wash clothes as normal. Whew.
     
  12. GypsyGirl

    GypsyGirl

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    Starwatcher, Forebearance and waiting like this.
  13. Starwatcher

    Starwatcher

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    Hi Gypsiegirl,
    I came across your posts and found this forum when I was searching for information on moving from a high mold spore (and possibly toxic mold) environment. I have found your posts very informative, and a desire to help people going through mold overexposure or illness. I am new to all of this and may not use the correct terminology.

    I plan on moving soon from a home that has had a high mold count in the air ever since a back room in the house was demolished. There was a "slow mold spore leak" prior to that from what i could tell, i had just moved in here, but then after the room demolition, I could definitely tell by the earthy, musty smell and dusty feel of the air that it must be mold. After going through a lot to try to get the owners to remediate the issue, i just ordered and completed a Hertsmi (smaller version of Ermi test) myself.

    I have been very nervous about what I will find. I've also been very overwhlemed with so many aspects of this, such as, which test is most reliable, many say ermi is the best test, others online say no, that's not the case. And as far as moving, which is what i am focused on now, not so much remediation, my concern is how do i transport my things without cross contaminating my new environment?

    Again, there are various differing views on this Online, which can make it hard and confusing regarding what is the best or right answer... I have read that mold toxicity is a field still in its infancy, and it doesn't help that most doctors do not know much about it, or how to advise a person.. I have not yet seen an environmental or naturopathic doctor as I have to figure that out with insurance. That is, it seems most of them don't take it.

    I've been getting exposed to the moldy air for 5 months now. My sympfoms have not been severe compsred to others' I hsve heard. I am not even sure yet if there is toxic mold. However, I initially became congested, sneeing, felf tightness in my chest occasional discomfort on my sides, perhaps kidneys or spleen, had a couple of nosebleeds; then at other times when thd spore felt really high, I got lightheaded, disoriented and dizzy, my arms felt heavy, I got an intermittant pain in the mostly left side of my head - that's what most concerned me, and i've eondered if it's just allergies or something worse..

    I usually felt better after leaving my home. Anyway, I have yet to see what exactly I have been exposed to. but I have to move probably before I find out. I'm overwhelmed and scared about the cleaning and packing, should I thfow ghings away. Skme advise to throw everything away. I do not plan on throwing my clothes away, unless it is something old. And how would you remediate shoes? Clothes you can wash, but they say throw shoes away.

    And what about my matress and laptop? Did you find that cleaning them using a Hepa vacuum was enough afterwards? I'm concered about my laptop as they have fans and can keep blowing spores out into the air. I don't really have a staging area. The stairwell outside my apartment also seems ccontaminated. It's an apartment building I'll be moving I to, there are hallways I could place my probbaly bins instaed of boxes I'll be using to clean before I bring inside apartment, but I don't want to contaminate that area either.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 17, 2015
  14. Starwatcher

    Starwatcher

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    Hi, sorry my post got sent somehow before I finished writing or editing it. Sorry this got so long, it just goes to show how overwhelmed I am, I guess.. Anyway, I need a good plan as fo how to clean and transport my things so they don't cross contaminate new property. I have used essential oild in a diffuser in my current apartment, and I wished I'd discovered it sooner, but it all depended on what I found online, as I don't know anyone else going through this, and like I said, the mainstream docrors don't know. I am thankful for forums such as these. Should I wipe everything down with the E O and or vinegar and hydrogen peroxide? Then quickly put them in the plastic bins, leave them overnight until they are moved out the next day? I guess I'll have to clean the ouside of the bins before i move them in? And anything that can't be put in a bin?

    How do I clean them and keep them "safe" overnight until they are moved out the next day?. This is the case with my wooden bookcases. how shall i clean them the night before so that they are not contaminated again before koving them. There are sooo many steps, I don't know how people do this..I get tired only thinking about strategizing this. If you got to this point, thanks for listening!
     
  15. GypsyGirl

    GypsyGirl

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    Hello Starwatcher,

    Whew. Firstly, take a deep slow breath with me. Let it out. Rinse & repeat.

    There's a lot going on, but I have some ideas.I'm going to write down essentially what I did moving from my Mold House to New Apartment.

    1) Ask what air filter size your new place has. Buy a new air filter. Replace every 3 months. (Apartment buildings generally go with cheap air filters, but it's worth the $20 to put in your own. Go with an electrostatic, MERV 11 or MERV 13 filter. Example: http://www.homedepot.com/p/Honeywel...ated-FPR-9-Air-Filter-90901-0119523/203641925)

    2) Enlist a couple family members, friends, or hire an errand service to help you move in/clean the day of. You need extra sets of hands to coordinate a cross contamination effort.

    3) Use the first room/front room apartment as a staging area. Wipe down items in front room before moving to other rooms. (If you can periodically vacuum with a HEPA vacuum, even better.) I used the harsh cleaner "Zep" for the first wipe. Vinegar for the 2nd wipe. (Diluted in half for more delicate surfaces.) I opened the windows because the cleansers had strong smells. Did the wipe process with all furniture....there was a garage, so I was able to slowly clean smaller items and clothing. I had to get rid of books, papers, furniture with padding/cloth covers. I also replaced the mattress. I was VERY sick, so I had to be willing to take an all or nothing approach. If I hadn't been, I might have tried to simply get waterproof mattress covers - but bedding/thick padded furniture is probably the worst for mold. You just can't clean it. Of course, practically, one may not be able to afford replacements, so this is a personal call. Also, I wore gloves and a mask while cleaning, and for a while, had a clothing hamper that I sealed up - initially I became MORE sensitive to mold and started breaking out in hives if my clothes came into contact with it. This wore off after the first 3 months or so.

    4) Clean regularly (and more than usual) for the first 3 months or until symptoms subside.

    After the initial cleaning, I was very diligent about also cleaning/vacuuming/wiping down dust. Probably a couple times a week for the first few months. I switched up using vinegar, baking soda & hydrogen peroxide, and Concrobium as seemed most appropriate for the item/surface. I washed loads of laundry with either a half cup of baking soda or the recommended Borax amount (what's printed on the box). Baking soda is a great fabric softener.

    5) Set out bowls of water in each room (or a diffuser - I just didn't have one!) with a few drops of mold killing essential oil. I mentioned this above: "Try purifying the air in your place with a few drops of Four Thieves oil (a knockoff version of Thieves, but I'll vouch that it did work for me) to a bowl of hot water and letting it disperse. I found I could breathe better almost immediately...I changed these bowls every 3 days or so."

    Other stuff:
    I've had good success with a HEPA vacuum and a HEPA room air purifier. It seemed to slowly help the mold exposure (and consequent multiple chemical sensitivity).

    In reply to your questions & thoughts, I haven't heard of the HERTSMI (but wow, what a name, sounds like "hurts me", doesn't it!?). Whatever the test reveals, just think of it as a jumping off point. If it's very bad, then you should probably clean more initially and possibly think of letting go of the most mold contaminated things because they can't be remediated. If it's very good, then great - less of a problem, but perhaps consider that you might be quite sensitive to mold if you're having strong reactions at that amount.

    The Mold House I was living in didn't have toxic black mold, though a skin test revealed I was allergic to about 7 strains of mold. (Ha!) Either way, the result is that I got very sick, and the most reliable way (not most scientific, but most reliable) to figure this out is that I feel terrible in certain homes/buildings. I was in a lovely apartment today and got a pounding headache/felt like someone had put weights on my body/overall flu-ish & foggy within about 5 minutes. Once out of the building for a half hour, I started to feel all right again. It varies in timing and severity, but yeah - paying attention to my body's warning signals has been very useful. I once replaced the a/c air filter a month ahead of schedule because I realized I was short of breath all the time for a handful of weeks, and pop! In a few days, my breathing became regular.

    Shoes is something I only kept a few of. I wiped them down lightly with Zep and then vinegar - inside and outside. Not all the shoes survived the process. (I lost a pair of blue suedes, but they were from Target. Haha) I did this with a few other things too - luggage, for instance. I cleaned things coming out of bins, then wiped down the outside & inside of bins. Some bins I couldn't unpack right away. For books, I wrapped them in plastic bags, twice, packed them in plastic bins, and set them on plastic sheeting in one corner of a room and wiped the outsides down. Later, I took a box one at a time and wiped down or washed contents on the apartment balcony (with cleansing sprays, a bowl of sudsy water, basic stuff). It's not a perfect cross contamination system, but it's the best compromise I could come up with.

    Computers are a risk as they can keep blowing out spores as you'd mentioned. I put my computer in a nook and carried the room air purifier from space to space throughout the day as able, again, especially through the first 3 months. I didn't keep the mattress/box spring. For me - malnourished, having pseudoseizures & asthma attacks, and feeling much worse in bed but being unable to get out of bed for very long - I felt like I had to get rid of the bed. It was going to release way more mold into the air than the average piece of furniture or my computer. I bought a new one at the Original Mattress Factory for a little over $1,000. During the time before I could get it, I slept on an air mattress that I aired out (because those have strong plastic fumes and I was reacting to everything).

    I had to get rid of a lot. And had to experiment a lot. It's been a year and a half, I believe, and my chemical sensitivity is way down. The asthma attacks & pseudoseizures have stopped. In the last 4 months or so, I've noticed I have a lot more clarity of thoughts internally - brain fog is going down. I'm still sick, but I had a big ol' basket that mold poisoning only triggered... so all in all, an improvement.I hope the listing out of order of things helps a little; it is right to the point of how I did it, and what I did seemed to work/seems to be working.

    If you have further questions, I'll try to answer in a timely manner. And if not, I wish you the very best, and promise that - though this feels overwhelming, it can be managed.

    Many well wishes to you.
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2015
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  16. Gingergrrl

    Gingergrrl Senior Member

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    I have not had a chance to read this whole thread and am bookmarking it for later. I just wanted to add that I am also very sensitive to binders b/c of MCAS and am currently using a mixture of oats, oat bran, apple, and apple pectin and it is working very well. I initially started with too high of an amount and was not drinking enough water and it gave me constipation. However, I cut the amount of oats & bran by 50% (except still eat the whole apple and the 1/4 tsp apple pectin) and increased fluids and the constipation is gone. This binder is allowing me to nebulize glutathione without any side effects with the long-term plan to detox the mold.
     
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  17. Starwatcher

    Starwatcher

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    Hi Gypsygirl,
    Thanks for your reply, and so timely!
    Yes, overhwelming is the word I have used aboutbthe whole experience, but, my plan is to try to manage this.
    Pardon my ignorance, I really didn't have much knowledge concerning building construction and such prior to this whole mold overexposure experince, but I have been learning new things. I have a Hepa air purifier that bought a couple of months ago. I had a previous one by honeywell that was a couple of heras old, but after using it for a while, it seemd to be blowing out mold spores into the air so I stopped using thst snd got the newer one, it's a good quality one, and I dk not want to discard it simply because but has been exposed to mold spores, as some say you should do. I've had it a couple of months, it was not cheap. I want to clean it but it says filter should only be replaced after two years, after it has turned black, mine is still white. But, you are referring to the air filter in my new place - what kind of air filter, windows, or something else?

    Yes, I will have extra pairs of hands witht the moving, but I'm concerned about the ckeaning, as I know that it needs to be done, and how I want it done, but just not too sure about getting help with that in the protocol i want to take, that it will be followed correctly, and so forth. That's why i feel i have to do most of the cleaning on my own.

    I haven't heard of zep, the cleaner, can i ask whede you get that? I did use concrobium mold cleaner and fogged it in the rooms of the house. It seemed to work for a few days , and air felt like fresh ocean air afterward, it was wonderful. But, I must admit the concrobium product itself made me feel kind of queezy, and when I was collecting mold dust samples for the Hertsmi test(yes, I too thought "hurts me" - how appropriate!!) that I was going to mail in, I noticed that I must have stirred up the dormant spores and also the dried up concrobium mist on top of high furniture. I could smell the lingering concrobium and spore combination I guess, even months after I first used it. I haven't felt good for a couple of days afterward, and even got burning sensation in my chest or abdomen a few times. I am probably sensitive to concrobium. In fact, I have been more sensitive to a lot more things lately, I tried buying all natural scented lotions, and one contained shea butter and an essential oil. Just using that seemedd to increase my snesigivity to the diffiser oils I was using, and made me feel weak, and congested. A lot of times I go places where I am confronted by scents and odors that seem hidden to other people. I think I have developed chemical sensitivity.

    I do notice that cleaning definitely helps with clearing the air, remving sporsx. Of course I am usjng the aif purifier, and I got a hepa vacuum - another item I have to deligently clean for my new place. you're supposed fo wash the filters in this one (a shark vacuum) but I have fo see if I can just replace them. Did you have to replzce your vacuum?
    You said, Gypsygirl that you were really sick, I'm glad to hear how much you've improved, sounds like you deserve a lot of credit for that. Did you have times where you felt better during that time period you lived in the mold house, such as when you left the house? It's amazing, much is written about the toxic black mold and its threats, but people can still be made sick by the non-toxic ones as well. There is still so much to know and understand about this phenomenon.

    With books and papers, you first remediated them by putting them in the sun, then in zip locked bags with mold killing cotton dipped essential oils? The sun isn't so strong here this time of year, but I like the zip lock idea. Did you find it really worked? I think I'll keep my books stored in the sealed bags for a while like you did.
    You put your computer in a nook, a small corner in the house and you found that having the air purifier near it helped? One suggestion I read was to hepa vacuum the computer before transporting it. I wonder if this might make a big difference..? This is funny but, for matresses, I read one can use vodka to sanitize, and hydrogen peroxide for spot cleaning. I will keep the waterproof mattress
    Covers in mind.
    Again, thanks for your reply, and no rush on future replies.



     
  18. GypsyGirl

    GypsyGirl

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    North Carolina
    It's all right; I'd never heard of these kinds of mold issues til I came down with them all. :p I was referring to the main house filter (the central a/c filter). In an apartment, there's usually only one main one, located on the walls or ceiling. It can vary in size.

    Here are some pics so you can see what I mean:

    On wall by floor:
    http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl...d=0ahUKEwjRx7TQrp_JAhVF2T4KHUMXCiUQMwgiKAUwBQ

    Ceiling filter:
    http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl...d=0ahUKEwjRx7TQrp_JAhVF2T4KHUMXCiUQMwgnKAowCg

    As for your HEPA filter...I honestly don't know, as I bought my HEPA air purifier after moving into the new apartment.

    I had to have help cleaning because I couldn't stand up for more than a few seconds when I moved. Although getting it done yourself so it's done right is tempting, it may not be fast enough. (depending on moving day time constraints) I wrote down a note with the order & dilution of how to clean and asked friends to read it and help me keep the cleaning process in line. People generally appreciate polite direction especially if they know your well-being depends on it.

    Dealing with INVISIBLE SPORES is crazy-making. I never had OCD tendencies, but I can see how they can develop. This thing that myself & other people can't see makes me truly, deeply sick. Trying to cope with it means that I have to find a balance between asking for help/letting go and keeping my routine that keeps me well. That's not a technical point, but I was surprised at the emotional exhaustion I went through in the beginning - maybe sharing my experience there will help you figure out designation.

    I got all products at Home Depot, and during the initial move-in, kept all the windows open because the smells of product were strong. I'd developed (new to me) MCS after the mold poisoning, and it's continued though improved over many months.

    I bought a new HEPA vaccuum to replace my old cheapie one. I pretty much replaced everything I could possibly afford. It's not a hard & fast rule, because no one seems to have absolute rules concerning mold contamination. My reasoning was that I was very sensitive, and this was a chance to make this place mold-free. So I erred on the side of over-caution, especially because I was investing in several pricey things and I didn't want to have to repeat the process.

    Looking back, I can say that I made a very MINOR improvement in the main bedroom/attached bathroom. I'd cleaned every surface but the ceiling with a generic "green" multipurpose cleanser and then vinegar wipedown. Bathroom also got hydro peroxide/baking soda & bleach cleaning. I put down Four Thieves oil by each vent. (Not ON the vent, but in the flooring beside the vent.) I noticed (again, a MINOR) breathing improvement in that room that faded over time. But I was still having asthma attacks & seizures along with all the other symptoms despite those efforts. I don't think I could have effectively cleaned the air in a 2500-3000 sq ft home with a basement no matter what I tried to do in one set of rooms.

    Yes to how you described, but only papers (not books). I set them out in the sun under heavy things do they wouldn't blow away on a dry day and rotated every few hours so the sun would hit at all angles. Then put in bag with a cotton ball & drop of Four Thieves' oil for a couple of days. I do feel there was still some contamination, because I would have some mild-moderate breathing issues despite this while cleaning and then trying to bring papers back into the apartment. When I took the papers out, I would set them in the computer nook to air out further with the HEPA filter. These were mostly medical papers & some legal/business papers that I had to have regular access to, so highest priority on my list.

    I still have books on storage, but am weary of trying to save them at the moment. It's so hard - I'm a book lover and some of them are friends' signed books and rare editions - but they're also physical poison to me at the moment. I feel a bit like a refugee from my own things, but they are just things. Being able to breathe means I can laugh, and that's so much better. (Haha, but also, seriously.)

    Another thing I'm not sure about is HEPA vacuuming your mattress, simply because I haven't done it myself. I would be cautious of the idea - a vacuuming might help, but mold spores are invisible and penetrate deeply, so I doubt it would be a long-term fix.

    Vodka (and rubbing alcohol, any kind of plain strong alcohol) are another way to clean mold and other contaminants. Sometimes they're recommended because they dry out much more quickly on furniture than say, soap & water. Hydrogen peroxide is great for spot cleaning lots of things. (I use it mostly to clean my bathtub & teeth, both with baking soda.)

    You might find this webpage helpful; I referred to it often: http://blackmold.awardspace.com/kill-remove-mold.html

    Hope that helps!
     
  19. Starwatcher

    Starwatcher

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    Thanks for your reply Gypsygirl. Yes, it is crazy making dealing with the invisible mold spores, especially when it comes to explaining it to others and telling them why I need my stuff wiped clean. They think, if you don't see it, there must be nothing there, it must be ok, and it can make one hysterical!

    I started my cleaning process as I'll be moving soon. It 's been kind of nerve racking'cause I wanted to clean as close to the move date as possible, but that Iisn't so practical, it's too much to do. I've been asking myself how do people do this, it's very challenging.. but, now that I've started, I've found that I seem to be reacting to the product blend iself that I am cleaning with. I am not using harsh chemicals, I opted not to do that, based on my research, I started using a blend of vinegar, a little bit of baking soda, and a few drops of grapefruit seed extract esssential oil - it's supposed to be a good mold exterminator. After using it for a day, I felt kind of light headed, and a taste in my mouth - I think the baking soda, it was sort of metallic. The thing is, the mold spores also make me feel this way! I think I was being exposed to both as chemicals, even though the vinegar blend is supposed to be all natural. I felt I was having chemical sensitivity to all these things. I wore a charcoal covered "r95" mask, not the disposable ones you mention, as I had already bought so many products to deal with this problem,I didn't think I had time to order another product online. The mask probably helped a little, but the odors were still getting thru snd csusing me to even feel nauseous and sven a little delirious by last night. So, I had to stop and rethink this. What to do now about my stuff? Maybe just diluted vinegar , and I like your plastic bag idea, I'll put stuff in zip lock bags with a drop of essentsil oil, I have a blend similar to four thieves, with cinnamon and cloves. I thought the grapefruit seed extract oil would be ok, but msybe i'm reacting to that too.. have you ever used it? Then I could put the bags in plastic bins, or take to storage until a later date.. It's too cold this time of year to put them out in the sun. Or even just throwing a lot of stuff away. Anyway, this is a trial and error process, like you said, it would have been nice to have it figured out way before now though.
     

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