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.
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.
[…] If you would like to read my story and get more educated about systemic effects of mold from Dr. Dennis’ perspective, you can check it out here: https://www.sinusitiswellness.com/a-patients-story-of-chronic-sinusitis-and-hypersensitivity-dermati… […]
Hello Dr Dennis. I was exposed to black mold both in my house and at work for 2 years. I became really sick and when the mold was discovered we left and left everything behind. It’s been 8 months since we have moved out, I have done a full detox for 6 months with a Dr.
It’s been 8 months and although I am better I still feel like I have a horrible sinus infection. I have had a CT, swab, and scope and they say all is clear. The CT showed a small thickening in my sinuses and inflammation. I am at a loss as to what to do from here. I feel like there are spores trapped in my nose and or sinuses.
Do you think this could be a fungal sinus infection? I also have itchy painful ears, headaches, hashimotos, crusty eyes, painful eyes,brain fog, insomnia, and anxiety. All which I never had before this.
I would suggest finding an ENT in your area who is environmentally trained and/or who treats fungal sinusitis. I do not where you are based or where you live, but I would suggest hiring a skilled IEP or Building Biologist to do testing of your current home and mechanical systems. I would also do mycotoxin urine testing to see if you are still being exposed. If you home tests as being safe, but your urine mycotoxins are still high, you could have sinus colonization. I also see patients in my office in Atlanta, GA. Here is a link to the website https://www.drdennisatlantaent.com/
Please call me Dr Dennis 509-552-7067
Hi, Candy, you can reach Dr. Dennis’s office at 404-350-9062.
Dr Dennis I live in hidden mold and bad Mystery toxin s outside here and ten miles from air Force Base in high desert it’s so bad here I have mycotoxcins and mast cell activation and hoshimotoes and cirs and chemical sensitivity and mthfr gene and mold toxicity and chemical sensitivity and mthfr gene and detox pathways don’t work right and I have marcons please help me where are you at
I went to the dentist with some pretty bad teeth and he probed my gums all over. That night I felt pretty sick, but he said he though my immune system could handle it without antibiotics. But since then I have had a permanent sinus infection. It isn’t the sinus I breathe through. It has been about 5 or 6 months. I am afraid it is a sinus that my immune system doesn’t have access to. Help?
I would suggest going to see an ENT. The doctor will be able to examine you and to take the information and dental history along with what is discovered to help you with the proper course of sinus treatment.
Hi Dr. Dennis,
I appreciate this for a few reasons. Firstly it was sent over to me from a customer of mine. Next I have had several surgeries due to chronic sinus issues. I also own a mold remediation firm in Arizona helping CIRS and MCS patients from several doctors out her.
I am empathetic to what they go through and I see many of them use every product under the sun in hopes to get better.
We have found the homes here are built with Energy efficiencies in mind and NOT health. I dont know the value of the EC3 product. I have come to the opinion of source removal and cleaning along with advanced filtration and mechanical fresh air into the building.
Another opinion as a professional who deals with homes is we dont get fresh air into them. This is key. always open for conversation. Thanks Dustin Anderson 5202629234
We also advocate for source identification and removal prior to any cleaning. That is the best and only way to truly make a home safe. Ventilation and properly sized, installed, and maintained mechanical systems is also key. Tight homes are not always healthy homes; we are in agreement there. Our products are designed for a Band Aid approach prior to remediation or moving, and are for maintainance. They are a safe and effective alternative to biocides and chemical agents that are more inflammatory and increase the reactivity of this sensitive patient population. I am a “body” guy, though, not a “buildings” professional, so I try to leave most of that to you and to others helping those suffering. Thank you for your work for these folks. It is often difficult for my patients to find professional in the remediation industry 1) who actually care, and 2) who understand what they are going through. Thank you for writing.
I appreciate these blog posts. We left and took next to nothing and are doing pretty well in our new area, in a one year old apartment. (We were very picky about where we ended up.) I use ec3 with a small hand held fogger once a week and use the citridrops spray 2x per day. I just bought the dietary citridrops as well to see if it helps but really I am feeling great. We changed our diet to be eating mostly organic and a lot more veggies. We also take some supplements like fish oil, quercetin, probiotics, d3, coq10, liposomal c and glutathione. We shower frequently and use borax and other things to help in the laundry. I feel healthier than I have in years. Thank you for doing these posts, I always learn something new.
Thank you so much for writing. Hearing from people who are being helped and who are getting their lives and health back makes everything we do all the more meaningful. Take care!
Dear Dr. Dennis,
Many thanks to you and your patient for sharing this enlightening case. How .wonderful that she has recovered so well. Very encouraging.
1. Can one burn an EC3 Candle and run a Hepa Air Purifier in a room at the same time or does one interfere with the other? Note: keeping them a safe distance apart of course.
2. Do you believe mold exposure can aggravate and even provoke histamine intolerance in an individual? If one is dealing with histamine issues along with mold toxicity , are there any particular measures one should take or avoid?
Thank you very much. Beth
Thank you for writing.
1. Yes, certainly you can do that. Make sure the candle is far away from the purifier, though.
2. Yes. Mold is the master antigen. It can cause the body to react to all other substances and antigens x1000. The histamine issues can be dampened with an antifungal diet and some histamine-specific nutraceuticals (we make one called Histamine Relief) while you get out of or remediate the mold exposure. The mold is the number one thing to avoid whenever possible. You breathe almost 3,000 gallons of air a day, thus no other intervention is going to be as powerful or as meaningful for recovery as getting away from the mold that is triggering everything else.
Ease call me candy Brooks 509-552-7067 I have mold toxicity and chemical sensitivity and mast cell activation and hoshimotoes and cirs and yeast and metal and have mthfr gene and marcons please help me and I love in high desert ten miles from air Force Base..mold house but can’t see mold built in 1958 and the air in this town is very bad the mold avoiders group people have gotten sick coming through this town they said mystery toxins her mold and chemicals and other mystery toxins and sewer.live in high dessert in Idaho please I need a doctor’s help