Australia’s mould crisis has become life-threatening after a young woman in Canberra made a ”gross” discovery.
Caitlin Ross had been suffering intense chest pain and knew something was wrong.
She went through three different courses of antibiotics before doctors discovered mould spores growing in her lungs.
“I was pretty lucky at that point to even be alive,” Ms Ross, who has no idea where she was exposed to the spores, told Channel Nine.
Two years on and she is still suffering the effects of breathing in mould.
“I have permanent scarring in my lungs. If I breathe too hard or exercise too hard, that will pull on the scarring and cause a lot of pain,” she said.
“It’s never going to go away and I’m never going to be able to live life without that pain.”
Deadly damp conditions
As temperatures continue to fall, and Australia’s east coast battles its wettest start to the year on record, experts have issued a dire warning for exposure to mould spores.
“People can develop a chronic lung fibrosis which will limit their respiratory capacity and result in chronic breathlessness, and potentially death as the fibrosis progresses,” associate professor Sonja Klebe, a lung disease specialist from Flinders University, told Yahoo News Australia.
“It is obviously treatable, [but] if people are unlucky and are immunosuppressed and they develop an invasive aspergillosis, then these people can die suddenly if a blood vessel is invaded by the fungus and they develop a fatal pulmonary haemorrhage.”
Ms Ross is urging others to be aware of the danger.
“I nearly died from mould,” she said.
“So it’s something you should be aware of [and] take seriously.”
Mould killers had sold out
The unprecedented weather in Queensland and NSW this year has seen shelves stripped bare of mould removal products.
People took to social media to highlight the damp situation, with one user sharing a photo of empty displays in Bunnings in Brisbane.
“What’s really killing me is I can’t get those wardrobe moisture crystals anywhere,” another person wrote on Reddit. “I keep getting told, ‘sorry we just sold the last pallet’.”
“We are currently experiencing strong demand for mould removal products in Queensland and New South Wales,” Bunnings’ category manager of painting and cleaning, Sharyn Pertzela, told Yahoo News Australia last month.
“We are working closely with our suppliers to replenish [stock] as quickly as possible.”
Do you have a story tip? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.