Sinusitis and Mold Sensitivity Evaluation Can Save You Time, Money, and Misery

By Cesar Collado

House MD (a favorite TV Show of mine) repeatedly illustrated the importance of looking beyond lab diagnostics to situations, circumstances, and patient environments for the underlying causes to their illnesses. Dr. House and his team often did not rely on patient responses to questions about their illnesses.  Instead, they performed regular ‘inappropriate and illegal’ searches of patients’ homes and/or offices in order to find the environmental answers behind their oftentimes peculiar and rare illnesses. While this is TV fiction, without this subterfuge and detective work, the patient would not have been helped by regular medical intervention and lines of treatment. Thus, the notion that the causal clues to sickness might not be obvious can be true with many medical issues.

A more practical (and ethical) solution is practiced by Dr. Dennis. He

uses a simple triage process to identify or eliminate mold as the cause early in the diagnostic process. This saves the patient both time and money.  Since mold can manifest as an allergy, immune system dysfunction, or chronic illness, a patient can find themselves in an endless path of diagnostics, specialists, and misdiagnoses, costing the patient significant amounts of time, money pain and discomfort. In my article “Taking Mold off the Table,” I discuss this triage method in detail.

One of the diagnostic tools that Dr. Dennis uses is a short
questionnaire that can serve as a roadmap to further questions, treatment steps, diagnostics, or environmental testing. This same questionnaire is available for free online. It can instantly provide you with a wealth of information about whether or not mold in your environment is causing your health issues.  These clues can then lead to cost-effective and efficient diagnostic testing to address the illness.

I thought I would walk through the evaluation on this site to better illustrate information that is critical to focus on to get better.  I did it on my iPhone so you can see the screens and how easy it is.  After reading this article, my hope is that you find 5 minutes to take this free, brief test for you to see how your own answers will lead to  more precise and efficient medical care.

I’ll walk through each section to illustrate the ease and speed with which you can identify and obtain powerful information that can help you and your physician find answers related to the cause of your illness.

Section 1: Sinus History:

Since the vast majority of mold exposures occur through inhalation, it only makes sense to ask qu

estions about sinus health.  The first section asks questions regarding previous episodes of sinusitis and nasal symptoms.

Of particular importance here is the clarity you can provide your doctor regarding chronic sinusitis (vs. Acute). These questions address symptoms and also provide answers to a couple binary questions about allergies and previous sinus surgeries.  All of this information is important to the physician for a proper diagnosis.

For purposes of illustrating my points as I go, I will take the evaluation and show screenshots as I proceed.

While I do not have sinus issues, I did identify that I do have a loss of smell and “at night my nose feels stopped up.”

Section 2: Your Environment

Most physicians focus on symptoms and rarely ask about your

home.  Most have not been trained in this line of questioning.  More obvious, their schedules are often full, and they want to stay on schedule.  It is up to us (the patients) to point things out to focus our limited exam time with a general practitioner.  If you are seeing a doctor that focuses on mold, they usually schedule much more time to be thorough.

This section asks specific questions about your home regarding dampness and flooding. Embedded in the list are questions about your HVAC system and its surroundings. One question asks, “Is your heater located in the attic with blown-in insulation?” While this question seems irrelevant, it is important as microscopic fiberglass fibers can get into ventilation.  These particles create “divots” in the sinuses that house and protect mold and create a better environment for reproduction and infection.

On my survey, I recognized that I did have a flood that resulted from a washing machine problem. This is critical as water-damaged homes expose drywall to moisture that is then absorbed and maintained unless repaired.  In my case, I had Servpro come in with dryers to ensure mold did not have the 24-48 hours of wetness that it requires to take hold.  It is also important to note that some mycotoxin-producing molds are often found in water-damaged homes.  To be more specific, aspergillus, stachybotrys, and penicillium are often found where moisture meets gypsum drywall.  These species produce potent toxins that can cause cognitive, neurological, and motor function symptoms. These are the “scariest” symptoms patients complain about.

The questionnaire also asks obvious questions like whether you can see mold.  It also asks less obvious questions about how you feel away from your home and office and whether you have a pet.

Section 3: Additional History:

The final section asks questions about numerous symptoms that may not be obvious or noticeable to you, but, that have significant relevance to determine if you have symptoms indicative of other chronic illnesses.  These are often not taken into consideration by your physician.

The most important question, in my opinion, asks you to rank your energy level.  This symptom is often overlooked by the best of us who trudge through fatigue every workday, thinking it is just stress or normal.

These symptoms may seem far-fetched for mold; however, mold and mycotoxins can severely compromise a person’s health and wellbeing.  If you do not ask yourself about these symptoms in the context of mold, it may be improbable that either you or your physician will connect the dots.  For example, headaches, pains, gut problems, memory loss, tremors, etc. are all symptoms people often experience, but attribute to other illnesses, a “bug,” or stress.

Once you are finished, you will receive an email indicating your score.  The score will provide you with an indication of the severity of your symptoms and some suggestions.


I shared some of my own personal answers to the questions.  As you can see below, my response was calculated into a score showing my Sinus Severity Score as Slight.

What does that mean? It means my physician can “take mold off the table.”  If my results had indicated my symptoms as more severe, taking the evaluation could save me multiple visits to specialists, expensive imaging diagnostics, and unnecessary medications like antidepressants or pain medications. All of these steps would have lengthened my journey to wellness, and not helped me to find any answers or relief.

This evaluation provides extremely valuable information to both you and your physician.  It empowers you to bring up issues, ask questions, and streamline your treatment plan. It also can provide piece of mind to you that your home is a healthy home for you, your family, pets, and guests.

What this evaluation cannot do is diagnose or treat any illness.  Please read the disclaimers to understand that all information gathered from taking it will be used by you and your physician to more accurately diagnose your condition and to find or eliminate mold as a contributor to your illness.

The bittersweet byproduct of this evaluation is that it may require some repairs, remediation, or thoughtful cleaning of your home, sinuses, and clothes.  The upside is that these repairs are often dwarfed by the alternative medical bills and additional hardship.

Microbalance Health Products are safe, all-natural, botanical-based products formulated to address mold issues in your nose, home and clothes.  Click below form more information.



Cesar Collado is a former pharmaceutical R&D executive, venture capitalist, and seasoned strategy consultant in biotechnology and technology industries in general. He currently works as an advisor to multiple technology start-ups and advises several companies that provide healthcare and other services for environmental illness.




About the Author:

Cesar Collado is a former pharmaceutical R&D executive, venture capitalist, and seasoned strategy consultant in biotechnology and technology industries in general. He currently works as an advisor to multiple technology start-ups and advises several companies that provide healthcare and other services for environmental illness. Read More


  1. Janette May 9, 2018 at 6:04 am - Reply

    I thought the mold products were designed to kill spores on just about everything. Is this not true!

    • Cesar Collado May 10, 2018 at 1:43 am - Reply

      The products are all natural and anti-fungal botanicals. They are safe to use on just about everything and they are effective on porous surfaces, upholstery and carpets.

      There are a few important considerations that need to be understood:

      1) Fungi are extremely resilient pathogens that exist everywhere and reproduce uncontrollably when they meet moisture and food (building materials and furnishings)

      2) Alternatives to kill mold include several very toxic chemicals that can be more harmful and toxic to humans and animals.

      3) You have to get the product to the mold both inside and outside your body and air

      4) The products eliminate mold in the air we breath, in our sinuses, and our guts. Our body’s remarkable healing system does the work inside our body.

      5) Practicing “mold hygiene” will help keep you from a long chronic illness.

      I cannot state they they “are designed to kill spores on just about anything.

  2. Justine Simone May 8, 2018 at 2:06 pm - Reply

    Thank you Cesar for a well presented thorough article on mold in the home and in the body.
    While your advice is valid, there is still the issue that GPs do not listen or believe mold as causation, as I have mentioned before.
    An Allergist or Immunologist who excels in their field of study will more likely consider the facts presented.
    When mold spore counts reach significant levels throughout the dwelling, sometimes the best defense is moving out as quickly as possible.
    Also, people with severely suppressed immune systems do not have the wherewithal to withstand mold which they unintentionally move with them. We must beware of cross contaminating our new residence. “Stuff” should not be worth the cost to our health. Painful as it may be, both monetarily and emotionally. A reminder, that porous materials such as paper, photos and cardboard backing on picture frames, leather, furs, any tightly woven fabric, even wood are all penetratable by invisible mold spores.
    I wish the best to all victims of mold infiltration.
    Thanks again.
    Justine Simone

    • Cesar Collado May 8, 2018 at 3:22 pm - Reply

      Hi Justine,

      Everything you mention is correct. I try to provide as much good information I can based on facts I learn. The GP issue remains one of the core problems. I have written articles on how to find local Drs. who treat mold. Searching with Google and calling ahead to ask is important. I also suggest Naturopathic and Integrative and functional medicine physicians, as they have training in environmental illness. Sometimes it takes patients armed with facts to change how a doctor practices medicine.

      History shows that when physicians are not correct and science catches up, change is slow. We saw this with h-pylori as the cause of ulcers discovered in 1982 with a Nobel Prize awarded in 2005. Only now are most physicians on board.

      Mold patients have a near impossible task to find help. The diligence on all the ways to find the right information and treatment falls on them. I try to find different approaches to arm readers with information that will help them find wellness. There is no magic bullet. Being aware of their home environment is almost always the starting point.

      Today’s article is about gathering information. It is a challenging message to tell a reader to move and get rid of their belongings. A good physician can make that call when they see the results of the evaluation. The questions on how patients feel away from home, work, and at the beach are in the questionnaire for that reason.

      I will do some homework on the topic you raise. Catherine on has written about this in detail recently. I try to stick to science & facts and she focuses on her experiences as a mold sufferer.

      Thank you for your comments. I will be happy to write about this topic. I’d like to do some research with physicians, patients, and mold remediation pros so that I can learn about the success rates.

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