Updated: Feb 10
Imagine not being able to sleep all night because you're hot, flustered, sweating, then freezing, pull off blanket, pull on blanket. You're walking up and down your house because you have this raging throbbing headache and back pain that you've never experienced quite to this extend. You look at the time, 2am. 3am. 5am, thinking, 'I'm going crazy'. Just like this GIF.
Well, this was me.
'What is going on? This has never happened to me before'.
I knew there was something in my room that was triggering these horrible symptoms, plus I knew it was suppressing my immune system because I was waking up with a blocked nose. But I couldn't figure it out for a few days. I even avoided entering my room so slept on my couch in the living room for the next few days until I could figure out what was going on.
What was lurking in my room, making me go physically and mentally crazy?
When I got back from a 2 week Japan trip, in February 2020, we had mega floods in the Northern Rivers. I had left my windows open for fresh air, but locked my room door. An already humid area, combined with more humidity from the floods was only a recipe for disaster.
A mould, disaster.
Only a few months prior, I visited my best friend living in Sydney, where I noticed that a couple of pairs of her black suede boots were covered in mould. Like most people, she had mistakenly assumed it was just dust. I asked if she had any flu-like symptoms, respiratory issues, headaches, aches and pains, or more fatigue than usual. She said she hadn't, but her housemate's asthma had flared up since moving in.
So as I lay in bed resting from a huge day working on monthly detox retreats, with a blocked nose, soldiering on through the week (terrible Naturopath, I know!), I finally observed what looked like 'dust' on my wooden bed-head.
Just like my friend's suede boots.
I suddenly had a Madonna, 'I've seen it all before' moment, and thought, uh oh, I'm dealing with the most resilient species on this planet - fungi!
I then checked my entire bed frame. Covered in mould. I check my wooden dressing table. Covered in mould. I check my clothes in the wardrobe. My linen clothes, covered in mould.
As I was working flat out on a detox retreat, and knew I needed an entire day to thoroughly clean these personally uninvited visitors infesting my room, so only had the Sunday to complete my mouldy mission.
Gloves on, mask on, my ghost busters outfit on, music blaring, windows open, I cleared everything in my room. I created a 'Good riddance mould' spray by mixing bicarb soda, white vinegar, clove and tea-tree essential oil. This mould was infested everywhere, especially behind my bed frame and dressing table facing flat to the wall. Thank God I was wearing a face mask, this was disturbingly nasty to wipe down. Because mould hides in dark places due to being more moist, I picked up my mattress only to discover even more infesting alongside my bed-frame adjacent to my mattress - great!
After airing out my room for a couple of days to remove the vinegar smell from my room, it was habitable again. I can sleep in peace now.
In terms of supporting my immune system, for the next few days I ate fresh fruit and vegetables, added fresh coriander to meals each day to support detoxification with a drop of food-grade clove oil, administered practitioner quality zinc and liposomal vitamin C, and performed a series of colonics to aid in the removal of any mould inside my body (if you don't know why I love colonics so much, here's why).
The scary thing was, I was exposed to mould for less than a week. People are exposed to this for YEARS not knowing simply because they cannot always see or smell mould.
Here are some of the symptoms of chronic mould exposure or what it can exacerbate:
Asthma, bronchitis, even pneumonia
Muscle and joint aches and pain
Brain fog, lowered memory and concentration
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Exposure to mould is something I ask every single patient. It could be the missing piece to your health puzzle. Whether it be from work, your home, even where you grew up. It has significant effects on your health.
What is mould and where does it come from?
Mould is a type of fungus that reproduces through spores. They inhabit everywhere on this planet as they are nature's greatest decomposers. Fungal spores are present in every indoor environment, in the air and in the settled dust.
Remember photosynthesis in Chemistry class? Carbon dioxide and water are converted into glucose (sugar/energy) and oxygen by light and chlorophyll (plants). Well, mould lacks chlorophyll, therefore, not needing light to grow.