Headaches always have a cause. Whether it’s too much time on your phone or computer, dehydration, or something else entirely, you can usually trace a headache back to an internal or external source.
But those seemingly “random” headaches could have a sinister cause: mold.
There has been debate over the years about whether or not mold causes headaches, but research has finally concluded that it does.
In addition to sneezing, coughing, skin irritation, and sinus congestion, many people with mold allergies report headaches as a common symptom. Even people without mold allergies can develop headaches from mold exposure, especially long term.
How Does Mold Cause Headaches?
There isn’t one specific type of mold that causes headaches. Therefore, any mold in your home is a potential headache-inducing substance. However, toxic mold — known as Stachybotrys chartarum or black mold — is closely tied to headaches and many other symptoms.
But what is the link between mold and headaches? We’ll explain below.
Chronic Headaches and Migraines
Recently, a study revealed that 4.6% of the population reports 15 or more headache days a month.
Chronic headaches are not a normal part of life. If you have frequent headaches for 6 months or more, see your doctor to determine what is causing of your headaches.
Migraines are debilitating for most sufferers. Migraine symptoms can last for a few hours or a few days and bring with them any of the following:
- Light sensitivity
- Noise sensitivity
- Pain – throbbing, pulsing or a dull ache
In general, a migraine will worsen after activity.
Migraines can be mistaken for sinus headaches, especially if they are mild. A doctor can help you determine the type of headaches you are having. There are medications that can alleviate migraine symptoms and even stop them before they start.
You don’t want to take a nasal decongestant thinking you have a sinus headache when it’s actually a migraine. Decongestants can be addictive, and they won’t do anything for your migraine.
The more likely reason for frequent headaches is a sinus irritation or an allergy. You could be allergic to anything from a new candle to pet dander, but the one thing that over 50% of homes have in common is mold.
Mold spores are small and travel through the air, making it impossible to avoid breathing them in. When mold spores come in contact with the respiratory system, it causes the symptoms you would expect: coughing, sneezing, congestion, and itchy eyes.
But the effects of mold don’t stop there.
When one body system (the respiratory system) is affected, others are as well. In this case, the immune system may be compromised, and then the sinus cavity itself is at risk.
A sinus headache comes with pressure behind the eyes or teeth. The pain of a sinus headache generally stays consistent and does not throb or pulse like a migraine.
Fortunately, an over-the-counter decongestant and pain reliever can reduce the pressure of a sinus headache and give you some relief. Unfortunately, these medications do not cure sinus headaches.
Is Mold to Blame for Your Headaches?
Migraine headaches require medical attention, but it is hard for some people to tell what kind of headache they are experiencing. If this is you, it’s time to look at external factors.
Here are a few things to consider when deciding if you have a migraine or a sinus headache as a result of mold exposure:
- Your head pain is accompanied by allergy symptoms like sneezing, scratchy throat or itchy, watery eyes. This is a great indicator that your headaches are sinus related. That doesn’t necessarily mean mold is to blame, but it is a good way to rule out migraines.
- You have headaches on days you spend time indoors, but not when you spend time outside. Mold is present outside, of course, but it is in very low concentration relative to the vast atmosphere. By comparison, there is a finite amount of air inside buildings, and once mold is inside, it is trapped, free to multiply in ideal conditions.
- Your headaches come after being inside a specific building, like your job, school or (hopefully not) your home. Maybe you don’t have headaches at home, but you do at work, or vice versa. If you notice that they only occur on days when you’re in the office, attend a class or work from home, this could be a valuable clue.
- Your headaches are limited to a certain time of year. Seasonal allergies are most common in the spring, and some people also deal with them in the fall. If your headaches occur during these times of year, pollen could be the problem. However, mold thrives in warm, moist climates, so it grows well in summer and, surprisingly, in winter because of the cozy indoor temperatures.
- Your headaches always start in the evening. Unfortunately, this is all too common. It usually means that your home is the source of the mold infestation. If your headaches start after you arrive home each day, it’s time to have your home inspected for mold.
These factors don’t definitely indicate that your headaches are mold-related, but keeping track of these factors will help you recognize patterns if there are any, and it is useful information for your doctor.
Mold inspections can relieve your worries — and your headaches
A professional mold inspection from Pure Maintenance of Central Illinois will examine every nook and cranny of your home, uncovering hidden mold in places you’d never think to check. We provide mold services in Champaign, IL, Decatur, Bloomington, Urbana and more areas in Central Illinois.
You may have an idea of the places mold can often be found: the shower, the basement, window sills, etc. But an expert knows these surface level problems are only the beginning.
Our technicians check under loose tiles, within the walls, and underneath carpeting until they find the mold that’s causing headaches and other symptoms. And when you trust a mold company to locate mold, you can also rely on them to remove it safely and thoroughly.