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Lung diseases

Mold and the lung

08/17/2009

Question:

I had alot of mold in my bedroom closet, after I cleaned it off about a week later, I developed a upper respertory infection,it was very bad,I couldn`t stop coughing for weeks. later after a lung xray I learned I had a calcified granuloma in my lung, Is there an association??

Answer:

The calcified granuloma in your lung is probably from exposure to Histoplasmosis - a fungus that lives in the soil through the Ohio and Mississippi River valleys. It does not grow as mold in bedroom closets. The vast majority of the time Histoplasmosis causes no symptoms and only creates these changes which can be seen on Xray (and are seen in approximately 80% of people living in areas with Histoplasmosis). Mold has been associated with a lung disease called hypersensitivity pneumonitis. CT scans can show changes suggestive of hypersensitivity pneumonitis and a biopsy can show the pathologic changes of the condition. However, most likely, you simply had a cold, by coincidence, one week after cleaning your closet. You may want to see a lung doctor if your cough continues.

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Response by:

James M O'Brien, Jr, MD James M O'Brien, Jr, MD
Former Associate Professor
Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University