A Patient’s Story of Chronic Sinusitis and Hypersensitivity Dermatitis From Toxic Mold Exposure

by Dr. Donald P. Dennis, MD, FACS

In my clinical and surgical experience treating mycotoxicosis in thousands of patients for more than 30 years now, I am continually reminded of the tremendous level of exposure caused by inhaled mycotoxins from indoor environments. As an ENT, I am focused directly on the sinuses and the mycotoxin concentrations that can build in the sinus mucosa from trapped mold spores. Since we breathe in 2,904 gallons of air per day, unless you clean up the air you are breathing or get to a safe place where you know you are improving, there is not a possibility of long-term treatment success or recovery. No sinus surgery or product can outdo the exposure you are getting from the air you breathe. In fact, if you are suffering from mold toxicity, the MOST important thing to spend your money on is getting your environment right. Then, after the environmental piece is in place, it is equally as important to address your sinuses. In this article, I want to share the story of a recent surgical case that illustrates the systemic nature of mold exposure and the healing that comes from addressing the mucosa in the sinuses as the mold entry point into the body where the highest concentrations of mycotoxins can build and continue to cause full-body symptoms.

A Story of Hope

Patient “Sarah” had a heart transplant at age 3 months. She is now 23 years old with a history of having toxic mold exposure while living in a bus she traveled in to sing in various churches. The bus’s air conditioning system was contaminated with black mold, and Sarah became very ill. She endured severe, persistent sinus infections and polyps in all eight sinuses. She was also diagnosed with severe eczema of the entire body such that all of her skin was constantly peeling off, regardless of the multiple prescription creams that she applied to her body.

Sarah’s sinus CT scan revealed complete opacification of all 8 sinuses with a fungus ball in the left maxillary sinus. My suggested treatment was Functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS) with Irrigation of all eight sinuses with Amphotericin-B using a Cyclone which provides “pressure-washer-like” cleaning and suctioning away of all toxins. (Note: Use of the Cyclone is key for mold exposure sinus surgeries because it prevents mycotoxins from being washed away and liberated into the bloodstream.)

During the surgery, we were able to physically remove all of the sinus disease, fungal polyps, and the environmental “fungal soup” of mold spores, mycotoxins, which are microscopic oil droplets that float on dust particles, and MVOC’s which are microbial volatile organic compounds which are chemicals that act like ether, acetone, or glue fumes. These chemicals go through sheetrock, implant into wood, and will go through a sealed plastic bag. Thus, when present in the sinuses, they can go directly into the brain. These toxins cause all manner of brain dysfunction, cognitive decline, memory loss, concentration problems, balance disturbances, visual disturbances, hearing loss, tinnitus, tremors, muscle weakness, paralysis, immune suppression, malignancies (rarer), and many other symptoms.

We placed the ethmoid sinus lining (mucosa) on a Petri dish with SDA agar. In 3 days there was a brown halo around the dark brown ethmoid tissue. The brown halo indicates mycotoxins leaching out of the ethmoid mucosa into the agar media. We know this from hundreds of cases we have done in which both the ethmoid mucosa and the brown halo agar tested positive for a variety of mycotoxins. Thus, when mold colonizes the sinus mucosa, it can become its own mycotoxin-producing factory within the body. I conjecture that many patients who are still experiencing mold symptoms, even when out of the moldy environment, and when on maximum treatment and therapy, may still be sick because the mycotoxins are still present inside the sinuses. For some, continual nasal irrigation with natural antifungals, or Rx antifungal nasal sprays is enough to solve the problem, but for others with fungal polyps, systemic and neurological symptoms, surgery may be required to move their recovery forward. In Sarah’s case, skin inflammation, skin peeling, and hypersensitivity had continued and were making it difficult to lead a normal life.

The Pictures Say it All

On the one-week, post-operative visit all of her skin was clear of inflammation and skin peeling (hypersensitivity dermatitis).

The Exposure is the Poison

Sarah’s case is enlightening, because, in a very visible way, it shows the systemic (everywhere) nature of mycotoxicosis and MVOC’s. Since we now know that mycotoxins become present in the urine after inhalational exposure, we also know that once inhaled, mycotoxins are absorbed into the bloodstream and can travel everywhere in the body causing various damage to all tissues.

Helpful Interventions

For Your Environment

The single most important thing to do in severe mycotoxin illness is to get out of the toxic, contaminated environment and not take anything with you, because, as I stated at the beginning of this article, you are breathing 2,904 gallons of air through your nose per day. Even if you decide to have your home fixed and remediated, you need to escape the exposure, if at all possible, to begin healing. As a Band-Aid, the Environmental treatment protocol (ETP) can help lower the mold load with the added help of HEPA air filters in the rooms where you spend the most time. Using the EC3 fogger 2-3 times per week, the EC3 Laundry Additive, and burning the EC3 Candles in each room you spend 1 hour or longer in per day is helpful.

When you are looking for a safe environment, look for places in which, when you first enter, you know the air is very clean and fresh with no odors. The air should feel light and not heavy. If you are uncertain if an environment is safe or have any reactions to it, then it is “NO.” Go to the next place. Then when you find a place, stay in it a few days to confirm that you are feeling better. Rent by the day until you know you can stay there without harm to your health. I also recommend testing the indoor environment with an EMMA or Environmental Mycotoxin Test or having a good, “experienced in human health”, mold inspector or Building Biologist go over the house to see what it needs to be safe for you.

For Your Body

Here are things I suggest for just about every patient I see:

1. While air is #1, diet is # 2 as all fungi have the same cell wall structure. This means that when you get air exposure to mold,  you become sensitized to your own gut yeast and begin to react to it with GERD and food allergies. Taking Candida Rid is helpful, 1-2 capsules, 2 times daily. But if you eat carbohydrates, bread, rice, potatoes, sweets, and grains, it changes the shape of the yeast to an invasive hyphal form that is antifungal resistant; no drug will work no matter how much or how many you take. Thus, an anti-yeast or antifungal diet is just as important and essential as the clean air to get well.

2. Nasopure saline nasal irrigation with 4-5 drops of Citridrops Dietary Supplement per 8 oz saline.

3. CitriDrops Nasal Spray, 1-2 sprays in each nostril, 1-2 times per day.

4. Immune system support: Sinus Defense and Complete Thymic Formula.

5. If you have postnasal drip or nasal congestion, Histamine Relief.

6. Antioxidant support: L-Glutathione, and N-Acetyl Cysteine.

7. MycoDetox Liver Support to strengthen and detoxify the liver.

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