Lots of people love mushrooms, especially sauteed with a nice steak. But did you know that there are certain kinds of mushrooms that can infect the sinus passages?
The mushrooms we’re talking about here aren’t the kind used for food, but they belong to the species known as fungi, including certain types of molds. Fungi are organisms that resemble plants, but unlike genuine plants can’t produce their own food through the process of photosynthesis. Usually these types of fungi live in our warm, moist nasal passages without causing any problems. However, when a body’s resistance is low, these fungi can become harmful.
Fungi usually feed on dead organic matter, which is why food mushrooms are found living at the roots of trees and in the carpet of leaves composting on a forest floor. Fungi like dark, warm, wet places, just like the insides of our noses. Sometimes fungi can feed on other living organisms, such as the mucus membranes inside nasal and sinus passages. When that happens, these membranes become inflamed and can become infected.
Molds are a kind of microscopic fungi related to mushrooms. To reproduce themselves, they release spores that can sail through the air like pollen. Fungi of this type can be found throughout the year in many regions. They’re affected by the weather – when’s warm and rainy, or even warm and humid, you can expect an increase in the growth of molds. That’s one of the reasons why it can be essential to control the humidity in a home, to reduce the likelihood of mold growing in the walls, especially on building materials that contain a lot of cellulose (once again, that’s a wood-derived product of the kind that outdoor fungi are so fond of eating).
Common types of mold found indoors include Aspergillus and its subspecies (A. Flavus, A. Versicolor); Cladosporium; Penicillium; Alternaria and the toxic "Black Mold, " Stachybotrys atra (S. Atra). Any of these indoor molds can be the microscopic mushrooms that infect sinuses. Sometimes they produce effects that are quite toxic to the human body. The best way to avoid such an infection is by working to prevent their growth in the home, and through good health habits, especially frequent hand washing and other forms of hygiene.
If you do become infected, see your doctor immediately. And if you suspect fungi may have invaded your home, contact a building specialist to conduct tests. It’s better to be safe than suffer with a fungal infection.
Disclaimer: This article is for information purposes only and does not seek to diagnose, advise or treat any health condition whatsoever. If you have or think you might have a health condition, contact your primary care physician for diagnosis, advice and treatment. The USFDA has not evaluated statements about any product mentioned in this article.