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Australia’s fungal crisis turns deadly as young woman has permanent lung scars

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Australia’s fungus crisis turns deadly as a young woman is left with permanent scars from spores growing in her lungs

  • Canberra resident Caitlin Ross is the latest victim of Australia’s mold crisis
  • Thousands of Australians are at risk of health problems in wettest year on record
  • Ms Ross has permanent scars on her lungs from fungal spores

Australia’s scorching summer of rain has covered thousands of homes with mold and now there are fears it could have serious health consequences.

From the backs of picture frames and wall-mounted bedheads to hand-woven baskets and storage canisters, thousands of households are battling the dangerous growth and discovering it in hard-to-recognize places.

Caitlin Ross, a resident of Canberra, recently had a chest scan after she had trouble breathing – which revealed fungal spores growing in her lungs.

“I had severe pain in my lung and I knew something was very, very wrong,” she said Nine news

“I had been on three different courses of antibiotics and nothing had helped. I was quite lucky at the time that I was even alive.’

Caitlin Ross says she will have breathing difficulties for the rest of her life after doctors discover fungal spores growing in her lungs

In Australia’s wettest year on record, mold has spread on everything from surfaces to shoes and clothing, but its long-term health effects have yet to be fully measured.

Doctors say people with previous conditions, including asthma, should be extremely vigilant, and recovering Covid patients should also be encouraged to check for possible fungus.

Ms. Ross has had trouble breathing for two years but admitted she doesn’t know where she was exposed to the harmful spores, but said the pain was constant.

“I was a little disgusted, to be honest, mold is something you think is a little dirty and gross and that was in me,” she said.

‘I have permanent scars in my lungs. If I breathe too hard or exercise too hard, it pulls on the scars and causes a lot of pain.’

Ms. Ross has permanent scars on her lungs from fungal spores growing in her organs

Ms. Ross has permanent scars on her lungs from fungal spores growing in her organs

She said doctors had told her the pain would “never go away” and that she would “never live without pain,” confirming that the winter months were particularly difficult.

Professor John Blakey, a respiratory specialist at Asthma Australia, said people can breathe in mold spores without necessarily having it in their home.

“It’s not just the mold that you can see, we all breathe in a lot of mold spores every day,” he said.

Mold has become a normal part of Australian society after its wettest year on record

Mold has become a regular part of Australian society after its wettest year on record

“In the most extreme circumstances, people with weakened immune systems can get a pure infection and that can be very serious.”

While Professor Blakey said Australians should not panic but be aware of the potential problems, Ms Ross had a more stark warning.

“You may not think it’s very dangerous, but I almost died of mold, so it’s something you need to be aware of, take seriously,” she said.

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