What Happens If Aspergillosis or Other Mold Gets in Your Lungs?

woman coughing because of mold in her lungs contribution on PinterestDrazen Zigic/Getty Images Mold is a type of fungus that grows in many places in and outside your home. It reproduces by creating spores. These spores float through the air and grow into mold when they come into contact with dampen surfaces. We breathe in model spores every day. normally, these spores don ’ metric ton cause health problems, but people with respiratory disease or weakened immune systems are at an raised hazard of developing breathing issues.

Some molds can trigger an allergic chemical reaction or cause an contagion in your lungs. For example, researchers estimate that a many as 2.5 percentage of people globally with asthma develop an allergic chemical reaction to molds in the Aspergillus genus. Keep reading as we look at the typical symptoms of mold in your lungs, how it ’ s diagnosed, and what the likely treatment options are.

Can you have mold in your lungs?

We constantly breathe in shape spores tied when we ’ ra outside. sometimes, these spores can lead to allergic reactions or infections, specially in people with respiratory disease or compromised immune systems. The fungus Aspergillus fumigatus is responsible for the huge majority of health problems. It grows in many places including decaying vegetation and leaves. infection or an allergic reaction to this mildew is called aspergillosis. Some other types of molds can besides enter your lungs and cause health problems. Infections caused by other molds are called non-Aspergillus infections. Non-Aspergillus molds are creditworthy for about 10 to 25 percentage of infections in people with blood cancer or receiving organ transplants.

What is mold?

Mold is a large group of fungi found about anywhere you can find moisture and oxygen. It spreads through bantam spores that waft through the air. These spores are besides humble to see with your bare eye. even the largest spores are normally smaller than 4 ten-thousandths of an column inch across. These spores grow when they encounter damp environments such as vegetation, decaying organic material, or damp wood.

What types of mold can affect the lungs?

Most health issues caused by cast in the lungs are linked to molds in the Aspergillus genus. But some early types of molds have been reported to caused issues in humans. Outbreaks of some of these molds have been linked to natural disasters such as tornados and contaminated medical equipment .


Mucormycetes are the most common cause of non-Aspergillus determine infection in humans. The preponderance of Mucormycete infection varies based on geographic region, but an raise phone number of cases have been reported in some countries such as France or Switzerland .


Hyalohyphomycetes look similar to Aspergillus molds under a microscope. They ’ re found in many places such as land, plant material, and water. In the United States and Europe, a type of Hyalohyphomycete called Fusarium is the second most common lawsuit of non-Aspergillus infection in humans .


Phaeohyphomycetes are a group of more than 100 fungi that have a dark pigmentation. They most much cause meek infection in people with suppressed immune systems. They can cause good infections in rare circumstances .

What are the symptoms?

Your symptoms can vary depending on what type of mold is in your lungs and what type of reaction you have. Mold in your lungs can cause an allergic reaction called allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis ( ABPA ). Symptoms are similar to asthma symptoms and include :

  • coughing
  • wheezing
  • shortness of breath
  • fever (rare)
  • worsening of asthma symptoms

invasive aspergillosis is when an Aspergillus fungus grows in your lungs. It can cause symptoms such as :

  • fever
  • chest pain
  • cough
  • coughing up blood
  • shortness of breath
  • potentially life threatening symptoms if it spreads past your lungs

Symptoms of non-Aspergillus molds infections tend to be alike.

It ’ second besides potential for determine to form a ball in your lungs. This condition is called aspergilloma when caused by an Aspergillus cast. The musket ball most often stays in your lungs but can lead to tissue price. Symptoms normally include abruptness of breath, cough, or coughing up blood .

How is it diagnosed?

Your sophisticate will ask you about your symptoms and examine your medical history. They may suspect ABPA or a mold contagion if you have a condition that weakens your immune system or an existing respiratory condition. The future gradation of diagnosis much involves taking a small sample of your lung fluid to examine under a microscope. They take the sample by inserting a extra instrument into your nozzle or mouth to collect a humble total of lung tissue. Your repair may besides run a lineage test to look for tell of fungal spores or antibodies in your blood. An x-ray or CT scan may help them rule out other conditions and look for a buildup of mold in your lungs.

What is the treatment?

It ’ s about impossible to avoid all contact with fungal spores, so discussion for cast in your lungs much consists of taking medications. Corticosteroids much help open your airways to make coughing easier. You may need to take them when daily or only when your symptoms solar flare. You may besides be given an antifungal medication such as itraconazole, but its potency is still debated. In a 2014 study, researchers found that 97.1 percentage of patients with ABPA received a prescription drug for oral corticosteroids. About 41 percentage of patients received a prescription for oral corticosteroids combined with inhale corticosteroids and antifungal drugs. surgery may be needed if mold reaches your heart or early organs .

What are the risk factors?

The people at the highest risk for developing health complications from breathing in mold are :

  • people with respiratory issues such as asthma or cystic fibrosis
  • people taking immune-suppressing medication after an organ transplant
  • people with immunosuppressive conditions such as HIV/AIDS, diabetes, malnutrition, some genetic disorders, and cancer

What to do if you find mold in your home

You can often remove mold yourself with commercial products, soap and water, or 8 ounces of bleach diluted in a gallon of water. It ’ sulfur important to wear safety equipment while cleaning cast to avoid breathing it in or getting it on your hide. When cleaning mold at base :

  • Open a window.
  • Wear a protective mask and gloves and eyewear.
  • Never mix cleaners or ammonia with bleach, and try to avoid mixing chemicals in general.

Call a professional if :

  • there’s a lot of mold or you can’t reach it
  • you have a lot of water damage
  • you have respiratory issues or a known mold allergy

What’s the outlook for people with mold in their lungs?

The mentality for people with ABPA is adept if you have only mild symptoms, and it normally heals with discussion. Patients who delay treatment may develop corticosteroid electric resistance and may need to take corticosteroids long-run. The mentality for patients with an invasive Aspergillus infection is poor, specially in people with a compromised immune arrangement. The mortality rate in people with immunosuppression or who have undergone an harmonium transfer is more than 50 percentage.

The takeaway

Mold spores are in the air out all around us, and we breathe them in about every day. Most of the time, these spores don ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate campaign any health issues, but sometimes they can lead to infections or allergic reactions. People with respiratory conditions like asthma or who have suppressed immune systems are at the highest risk of developing health problems after breathing in mold. If you think you may be having an allergic reaction to mold, you can visit your repair. If your doctor confirms that model is the lawsuit of your symptoms, they ’ ll likely give you a type of medication called a corticosteroid and possibly an fungicidal drug .

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