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The Complete Guide to Multiple Chemical Sensitivity Disorder and How it Affects Your Health

EMF mould mould testing inspection removal black mould toxic mould CIRS

The Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS) Explained

What is Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome?

Chronic inflammatory response syndrome (CIRS) is a long-term inflammation of the body that can lead to many symptoms, such as fatigue and brain fog. It’s also referred to as biotoxin illness. Dr Shoemaker found 37 symptoms in cases with thirteen clusters. CIRS was defined as a finding of 8+ symptom clusters out of 13 clusters.

Building occupants exposed to the indoor air of a water-damaged building can cause a whole body inflammatory state and chronic, complex illness. Indoor air contains a complex mixture of fungi, mycotoxins, bacteria, endotoxins, antigens, lipopolysaccharides and biologically produced volatile compounds.

This state of chronic complex multi-system illness has been coined Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome or CIRS.

Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Check for Mould Illness

The VCS (Visual Contrast Sensitivity) test is a screening tool used to assess an individual’s sensitivity to visual contrast, which can be an indicator of mold illness. The test is typically administered online and involves viewing a series of patterns with varying levels of contrast. The individual is asked to identify the patterns as they appear on the screen, and their results are compared to a normative sample to determine if there is a deficit in contrast sensitivity.

Mold illness, also known as chronic inflammatory response syndrome (CIRS), is a condition caused by exposure to toxic mold. It can result in a variety of symptoms, including neurological and cognitive issues, such as difficulty with memory and concentration, and visual disturbances. The VCS test is one of the tools used to help diagnose mold illness as it can detect changes in visual contrast sensitivity that may indicate the presence of the illness.

While the VCS test is not a definitive diagnosis for mold illness, it can be a useful tool for identifying individuals who may be at risk for the condition. It’s important to note that other tests and assessments should also be conducted to confirm the diagnosis of mold illness, as a VCS test alone should not be used to make a definitive diagnosis.

Commonly Misdiagnosed Symptoms

Given CIRS is a multi-system, multi-organ and multi-symptom illness, unless your medical practitioner is familiar with the disease, misdiagnosis may occur. This creates a longer journey for the individual’s recovery. Some of the more common misdiagnosis are:

  • Fibromyalgia

  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

  • Multiple Sclerosis

  • Depression

  • Stress or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

  • Allergies

  • Somatization

  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome

  • Attention Deficit Disorder

Therefore, it is best to engage a Shoemaker Protocol Certified Physicians,

CIRS Symptoms Clusters

The Shoemaker’s CIRS (Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome) symptoms cluster is a set of symptoms that are commonly associated with mold illness. The cluster was first identified by Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker, a leading expert in the field of mold illness.

The symptoms cluster includes neurological, cognitive, and physical symptoms such as fatigue, memory loss, headaches, and muscle and joint pain. Other symptoms that may be present include light and sound sensitivity, difficulty concentrating, and irritable bowel syndrome. The symptoms cluster can also include psychiatric symptoms, such as anxiety, depression, and insomnia.

This cluster of symptoms is considered to be a reliable indicator of mold illness and is often used by medical professionals to help diagnose the condition. It’s important to note that not all individuals with mold illness will have all of the symptoms in the cluster, and that other conditions can also cause similar symptoms. Therefore, it is important that a proper evaluation and testing are conducted to confirm the diagnosis of mold illness.

CIRS was defined as a finding of 8+ symptom clusters out of 13 clusters.
  • Cluster1: Fatigue / Chronic Fatigue

  • Cluster2: Muscle & Cognitive Issues – weakness, decreased assimilation of knowledge, body aches, headaches or migraines, light sensitivity

  • Cluster3: Cognitive – Memory Impairment & Decreased Word Fencing

  • Cluster4: Concentration – Difficulty concentrating

  • Cluster5: Pain – joint pain, morning stiffness, cramps

  • Cluster6: Nerve/Skin – unusual skin sensations, tingling,

  • Cluster7: Respiratory – shortness of breath, sinus congestion

  • Cluster8: Various – Cough, Confusion, Excessive thirst

  • Cluster9: Various – appetite swings, difficulty regulating temperature, frequent urination

  • Cluster10: Various – red eyes, blurred vision, mood swings, ice pick pain, night sweats

  • Cluster11: Gastrointestinal and Nerve – numbness, diarrhea, abdominal pain

  • Cluster12: Various – tearing, disorientation, metallic taste

  • Cluster13: Various – static shocks, vertigo

How To Get Treatment for CIRS or Biotoxin Illness

Finding a “Shoemaker Protocol Certified Physicians” to support you during your recovery every step of the way is the best approach to your recovery journey.


How To Find Out If Your Home is Water Damaged

Hire a Building Biologist to conduct an Indoor Air Quality Test and a Mould Inspection and Mould Testing of your home or office.

The Indoor Air Quality Tests / Air Testing will investigate key parameters of the indoor air. These include:

  • Temperature

  • Relative Humidity

  • Carbon Dioxide

  • Air Particles of Different Sizes (these sizes are all inhalable causing throat, nose, and lung issues)

    • PM10 – large particles with a diameter of 10 micrometres or less.

    • PM2.5 – are particles with a diameter of 2.5 micrometres or less

    • PM1.0 – fine particles with a diameter of 1.0 micrometres or less

    • PM0.3 – ultra fine particles with a diameter of 0.3 micrometres or less

Surface Testing for Bacteria and Mould – Building Biologists can test surfaces for microbial activity by measuring the ATP levels of microorganisms. Microorganisms can be mould or bacteria growing on the surface.

Mould Inspections and Mould Testing will inspect and identify water damaged rooms and building materials. This helps identify the cause of the water damage. Once this is done, mould testing can be conducted to determine the level of mould spores in the air (and on surfaces). These mould testing samples will be sent to the laboratory for analysis.

Mold spore testing is a process used to identify and quantify the presence of mold spores in the air. One method for collecting and analyzing mold spores is non-viable spore trap air sampling, which utilizes devices such as air-o-cells to capture and collect mold spores from the air. These devices typically consist of a sticky adhesive coated onto a microscope slide, which is placed in a known location for a specific period of time to collect spores.

Once the sample has been collected, it is sent to a laboratory for analysis. The laboratory will then use a microscope to identify the genera of mold spores present in the sample by using morphological and molecular techniques. This method allows for the identification of both common and uncommon mold genera, and the quantification of the spores present. This can be useful to identify the types of mold present in a specific area and to monitor the effectiveness of any remediation efforts. The results are usually presented in a report that shows the types of mold found and the concentration of each type.

It’s important to note that this method only captures the non-viable spores, which are the spores that are not capable of germinating and reproducing. This method can be useful to identify the types of mold present in a specific area but it may not provide a complete picture of the mold situation as it does not detect the potentially harmful and active mold colonies. Other methods such as visual inspections, moisture measurements, and viable (culturable) spore testing may be necessary to fully assess the mold situation.