*Pullularia (Aureobasidium pullulans) is a mildew type of mould that can live in water, on wood, metal and in rotting vegetation. I’m familiar with Cladosporium and Aspergillus, I even wrote a poem about them and the impact they have on my life, however, Pullaria has only just popped up on my intellectual radar; but it’s been on my immunological radar for far longer… First though, from Moldhelp.org, a little bit more info about this mouldy little devil:
This yeast-like fungus is commonly found on caulk or damp window frames in bathrooms. Aureobasidium (Pullularia) may be pink or black in colour. Although it seldom causes infections, it can be allergenic. This is one type of mold that is a type of mildew. It will grow in cooler climates and along with Cladosporium is commonly found growing on siding.
Pullularia occurs indoors in areas of free water, such as condensate pans, or as a primary colonist of broadloom following a flood. Because its growth form is yeast-like (and are not forcibly discharged), its cells/spores only become airborne through mechanical disruption of contaminated materials or aspiration of contaminated water.
Aureobasidium pullulans is not a primary human pathogen nor is it recognized as a producer of significant mycotoxins. High airborne levels of this fungus have been associated with allergic complaints probably due to respiratory irritation mediated by cell-wall components (e. g. beta glucans, glycoproteins), it has also been known as an irritant, and to cause pulmonary problems (small airway).
I first discovered Pullularia when, recently, Dan drove me the two hour trip to my doctor’s offices where the good chap Dr Colin Little, an Allergist and Immunologist, along with his nursing staff, tested me for candida and pullaria sensitivities. The rooms are fragrance free and cigarette smoke (residue) free so it was mostly a pleasure to visit. The testing can sometimes be tiring—or worse, completely futile—but this time I faired okay. And the next day, I was so surprised to find my condition had improved. Perhaps there’s rocket fuel inside those drops? (I am living a housebound existence right now, and avoiding chemical exposures so by rights, I shouldn’t be so sick all the time, yes? (And don’t forget the protocol!))
For the months leading up to my appointment I suffered greatly, I touched on this in the post How to Get Your Mask to Seal Tight, but if I back right up to last summer, when I experienced a huge improvement, like a I-can-get-out-of-bed-and-actually-live-my-life type of improvement, I can share with you with how I was really enjoying the sunshine and green banana smoothies that I had contributed with the gold-star status of being the reason behind my wellness. But then my dog burst that wellness bubble of green smoothie delusion by digging up the garden bed that’s built into the balcony of our rental property. The topiary tree survived but my period of wellness didn’t. And throughout the autumn and winter that followed I kept asking myself if the moulds from that soil exposure set my immune system backwards. You see, in the shot below, which is taken from inside the house, this garden bed runs parallel to my bedroom and living space and backs right against the outside of the house wall (the other room across the balcony is where I store all my boxes and furniture (what I didn’t throw out after living at the last mouldy house)):
The Pullularia discovery unfolded like this:
I was inside my little beach house rental property doing some stretching on my yoga mat; both sliding doors that make up the front wall of the house were open to take full advantage of the fresh air and sunshine. Life was good. I was getting bendy doing some of the Vinyasa moves I learnt studying at the University of Banana Blondie 108 when I noticed it was hurting to breath through my nose, my eyes felt sticky and grainy as if something were inside them, and I began to feel unwell. I could smell damp, wet soil. The smell got stronger. As usual, I fell into a state of cognitive dissonance, possibly a coping mechanism I practice automatically (I need to live my life damn it; I can’t have my sense of smell being my primary representational system of life, yeah?! (It’s a pity that’s almost how it is but nice to try and train my mind not to smell or notice stuff… ), I tried to ignore the rude aroma, telling myself it’s not there. For 15-20 minutes I actually believed everything was fine. But! Annoyingly so, the aroma of soil got stronger, and the middle of my forehead hurt and I knew I was in for a headache so I stopped my yoga practice, sticking my head out the front door to check what was going on: I was greeted by fresh air. The scent of Eucalyptus blew on the breeze. Waves crashed in the distance. And Bella lay on her dog bed sunning her arse in the sunshine. All was well in my world.
Except when I went back to my yoga mat I could still smell damp earth. My sinuses began to ache and as I attempted to sink back into my practice, my mind began to wonder: Had I eaten the wrong thing? Was it the dried blueberries we got from Costco? The dates? The bananas? I’d eaten exactly the same delicious raw-vegan, high-carb, low-fat [read: fruits and veggies!] meals that I’d eaten all summer. All the foods had come from the same suppliers, all fresh, not necessarily organic but definitely fresh, which is how I need to roll! So what in the hell had triggered all this off?
A feeling of de ja vu descended. Which reminded me of how it feels at the height of winter when it’s rained for days and days. The sky was clear; the weather was dry. Distracted, I stopped my workout, grabbed my hat and went outside, sitting in the sun, adding to my vitamin D stores. My skin warmed against the suns rays; fresh air soothed my nostrils and my headache backed down a notch. Children laughed in the distance as they rode their bikes down the street. I looked to the left and what do you think I saw? Bella had dug the whole garden bed up! Soil and baby box hedges were everywhere. My mind went back to the yoga mat, the soil odour and the sinus and eye symptoms. That. Bloody. Little. Shit!
That was March 26th, right before the autumn leaves began to colour; right before the leaves began to fall returning to the earth to compost down over winter. But from that day until I underwent testing in September, I could smell soil and rotting vegetation to varying degrees, all the time.
Then I lost a heap of my safe foods. My tolerance to raw foods was gone. I could smell mildew on my bananas, and they made me sick. Even before I went raw vegan, apples were a staple of my diet: my go-to food when all is not well with my digestion. I lost apples, bananas, melon, dates, almond butter, dark (milk free) chocolate, instant coffee (yes, coffee is a food!), dried fruit (all of it) and tea among others. For the first time in my life I was fruit free, which was pretty horrid! I suppose it’s nice to know I can live on sweet potato and zucchini, but not really desired.
By the middle of winter-time. my reactions to chemicals such as wood-smoke and petrol fumes from my car, had hit my peak level. I kid you not, days were spent holding on to furniture because of the spinning feeling in my head and body; it really felt as if I were moving. I couldn’t go on the shortest car trip, nor could I go for a walk outside because of the impact these tasks would have on me. (Since 2012, winters have been pretty bad for me, but this one took the record!)
I wish I’d gone for testing sooner because now I have these drops that awesomely work:
And I’ve been able to do some gardening on a small scale:
For me, possibly the worse thing about mould sensitivity is it makes all chemical exposures worse. I can’t explain how it happens, nor the mechanics behind it all, but I can say that my sense of smell becomes heightened and that is a nightmare in itself. Coupled with the painful sinus, eye and head symptoms I get, the loss of food tolerance, and the worsening of all symptoms bought on by other chemical exposures, I’d be happy if I never ever experience that level of sickness again. It effects my thought processes, my emotions and my perception of events. I guess the one good thing that came out of it this time is I have learnt to sit back and watch what’s going on without believing that this is how I actually feel or am (In regards to the cognitive and emotional symptoms).
These drops are clearing drops. The test that I had in the doctor’s rooms was positive and the dosage that’s in these drops is the dosage found to have cleared my symptoms. I’ve been taking them a few times a day, more when the symptoms are bad. (I’ll go more into the process of testing another time because I think it may help those of you who want to try it.)
I’ve not been swamped in the smell of soil or rotting vegetation since I’ve had these drops. The smell is not the worst of the symptoms but it does interfere with living my life cause it’s always noticeable. So glad it’s gone! Whether it’s the change in the weather, or the drops, or both combined, I am so much happier.
*Note: I may have the spelling of Pullularia wrong. In my notes is spelled Pulloria but my research on the internet has it as *Pullularia. My apologies if I pissed you off with my ignoramus spelling skills
Thanks for reading xo
Have you had any symptoms caused by mould exposure? Have you found anything that helps? Do you know what type of mould it is you are reacting to?
The Labyrinth: Culture, a poem about mould sensitivity