UPDATED: Family Told to Stay Out of Home After Possible Mold Poisoning

Sept. 3, 2014

UPDATED: 6:23 PM

A family of four called 911 Wednesday morning after experiencing symptoms of black mold poisoning for about a week.

Several rescue squads responded to the 1900 block of Avon Street Extended in Charlottesville. There, they found a woman and three children suffering from what appeared to be mold poisoning symptoms.

Fire officials say mold was found in the basement.

All four people were taken to the University of Virginia Medical Center to get evaluated.

However, the medical director of the Blue Ridge Poison Center at UVa says that their symptoms might've been a reaction to something else.

“People have significant allergies to molds and that can cause you to have a runny nose, irritated eyes, wheezing or things like asthmatics have, but it depends on if you are sensitive to molds,” says Dr. Chris Holstege.

He says that you can have an allergic reaction to mold that would cause symptoms like coughing, sneezing or a runny nose, but that the toxins released by the mold would not be harmful unless you eat them.

“Having patients breathing air in houses when they see a black mold that’s going to cause them significant toxicity, there's no data out there that shows that will be problematic,” says Dr. Holstege. “Other than allergies and maybe not feeling well from that, but am I worried that we are going to become toxic from that mold? Not at all, not unless they're eating it.”

Dr. Holstege says that you should get rid of any mold in your home, and that you can do so with bleach and water, but says that you shouldn't get caught up in the notion that mold can cause serious harm.

“Certainly don't eat the mold in your house, but otherwise we want to get rid of it,” says Dr. Holstege. “We don't want it in our house, but it's more of an allergic aspect.”

“As a toxicologist do I have great fears that the mold is going to damage you? Not at all.”

As for the family of four who was taken to the hospital for mold poisoning symptoms, Dr. Holstege says that other gases could’ve been a factor.

The family was advised to stay out of the house until the mold is removed.

The landlord will be notified of the situation.


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