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Can Mold Cause Pneumonia?



Mold does NOT cause pneumonia. 

Mold is a type of fungus common throughout the world. While mold causes a number of home and commercial problems, it is a powerful respiratory and dermatological irritant. Mold spores can float through the air, can be found growing in moist environments near organic materials or can cling to certain types of building materials such as concrete, paint and wood. Although some reactions to mold closely resemble pneumonia, research states that mold usually does not directly cause pneumonia except in the immuno-compromised.

Mold Caused Illnesses

Mold can cause you a vast array of respiratory illnesses as well as exacerbate preexisting respiratory conditions. For example, if you have asthma, being in a moldy environment for even a brief period will enhance the negative symptoms. Mold will also cause a great deal of upper respiratory symptoms such as sneezing and coughing. More severe cases may lead to inflammation of the lungs and airways thus exemplifying symptoms of bronchitis or emphysema. In some of its worst cases and in its most acute form, mold may cause symptoms that appear to be identical to bacterial pneumonia. This often leads to a misdiagnosis and unsuccessful treatment.

Immune System

On the other hand, if your immune system is already weakened from a preexisting disease or certain medications, the foreign mold spores can lodge in your lungs and be attacked by the white blood cells. This happens quite rarely. In these instances, the infection may be difficult to annihilate with basic antibiotics and a multifaceted treatment approach may be needed.

In general, mold is not known to cause pneumonia However, in rare circumstances, usually with the immuno-compromised, it may. Mold usually causes allergic reactions to the upper respiratory system or irritation and inflammation in the lower airways and lungs.



“CDC – Mold – General Information – Basic Facts.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Dec. 2011. .

“Pneumonia – weakened immune system: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia.” National Library of Medicine – National Institutes of Health. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Dec. 2011.

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