Woman's disturbing discovery in her lungs: 'I nearly died'

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.

Caitlin Ross, who discovered she had mould in her lungs.
Caitlin Ross had been suffering intense chest pain when doctors discovered mould in her lungs. Source: Channel Nine

“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.”

X-rays of the mould in her lungs.
X-rays revealed slightly opaque white areas where the mould spores were growing. Source: Channel Nine

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.

A mould corner of a home
Homes across Australia's eastern states have been inundated with mould amid the wettest start to the wear on record. Source: Getty

“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.

Bare shelves at Bunnings.
Shoppers took to social media to voice their alarm that mould products were sold out. Source: Reddit

“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.”

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