By: Dr. Margaret Christensen MD, IFMCP, FACOG, ABOIM

By now you are aware the World Health Organization has declared the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, a pandemic. The symptoms of COVID-19 range anywhere from none at all to life-threatening. It’s easy to be frightened when we see images on the news of hospital camps.  But did you realize the symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to symptoms of other very treatable  illnesses? You have probably spent time worrying about if you have a common illness, the coronavirus, or is it something else?

The media has been focused on  the susceptibility of  those with comorbid conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and respiratory symptom disease.1  What they are NOT talking about is AIR QUALITY and it’s role in many diseases. Did you know that exposure to toxic mold and/ or having candida can also cause complications?

Let’s look at these individually and how they might relate to each other.

What Does the Coronavirus Actually Do to the Body?

You are most likely aware that the incubation period of the COVID-19 is 2-14 days.  If you have COVID-19, you can experience symptoms such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath.2  But is it just the  Covid virus  or are there other underlying factors, increasing your susceptibility? MOST ALL persons will have a mild to moderate case, from simple cold symptoms to a bad flu. The good news is 98% of the time the virus will run its course and you will not need to seek medical attention!

However, if the virus reaches a critical level it may cause an atypical pneumonia and uncontrolled inflammation.3 This can result in swelling and accumulation of fluid in the lungs, damage to the areas where the gas is excreted in your lungs, and oxidative injury to your lungs from not being able to get enough oxygen.

This is called acute respiratory distress [ARDS].4 If this happens the lungs cannot get enough oxygen to the body. This deprives your vital organs the oxygen they need to function. This is a scary part of the coronavirus. If your body is in a life-threatening situation a cascade happens sending the immune system into overdrive.

The Coronavirus and Your Immune Response

If you are infected, the coronavirus attaches to receptors on the cells in your lungs, spleen, and lymphatic system. Your body is alerted to a viral invasion and launches an immune response. Your immune cells and inflammasomes are activated. Inflammasomes signal your body to begin releasing a cascade of pro-inflammatory chemical messengers.5

Part of these chemical messengers are “cytokines”. Cytokines are a small class of proteins that play a crucial role in your immune system. If your immune system is working normally the right levels of balanced cytokines for your body are secreted to neutralize the invading virus and your life returns to normal.  If these proteins are excreted too quickly, a “cytokine storm” forms in your body.6 It is this overproduction of immune cells and cytokines in the lungs in response to the coronavirus that causes the damage that is hard to recover from.

Why Should I Be Concerned About Mold Exposure??  

Some of the symptoms of mold exposure are the same as the coronavirus. Coughing, wheezing, headaches, difficulty breathing, fatigue and lethargy are all common allergic responses to mold.7

Because the symptoms of both are similar and many are not aware if you’ve had mold exposure, you might be confused as to which you are experiencing. While most shelter in place orders are allowing for us to move around outside, the truth is we are spending more time indoors right now. Many are confined to their homes for fear of being exposed to the virus and they should be concerned.

Be aware if you are in a previously flooded area, you may be increasing your exposure to mold and that can cause similar symptoms. It’s estimated that pollutants such as toxic mold are 2-5 times higher inside homes than outside. Check out our blog section for many articles on mold exposure and how to take care of your health.

One of the most important things you can do besides diet is to improve the quality of the indoor air you are breathing  I recommend using both a NASA science technology air ionizer from Vollara Fresh Air Everest which will purify approximately 3000 square feet along with considering a high quality HEPA/charcoal filtration unit for the bedroom such as EnviroKlenz.

If you are experiencing some of these symptoms and also have a fever, please contact your doctor to discuss your symptoms.

The Coronavirus, Mold, and Candida

What do all three of these have in common? While all three attack the body in different ways, they all have to do with inflammation.

We know that coronavirus is dangerous due in part to inflammation. We know mycotoxins from mold cause inflammation and that is dangerous to our health. But what about candida?

Candida refers to an overgrowth of detrimental yeast.8 This can result in a weakened immune system. While we are in the midst of a pandemic the last thing you need right now is a weakened immune system. The SAD diet is loaded with sugar, antibiotics, GMO’s and pesticides which all promote Candida overgrowth.

Toxic mold exposures are one of the most common underlying causes for upper respiratory infections: from chronic congestion, to sinus infections, bronchitis, pneumonia, ear infections, strep throat and tonsillitis. These are often treated with antibiotics and steroids, which cause the fungal overgrowth , which  then lowers the immune system, frequently leading to a cyclical pattern of illness. Some of the symptoms of candida overgrowth, as well as mold, can include sinus congestion, post nasal drip, flu-like symptoms, and asthma.9

All three different illnesses, coronavirus, toxic mold exposure, and candida, can present with flu-like symptoms. With candida and mold, those symptoms are likely to be chronic and low grade, increasing susceptibility to acute viruses and other infections. All three present when the body has a weakened immune system. So the important question becomes what can you do to strengthen your immune system?


A strong immune system starts with your diet first. Cleaning up your diet to eliminate processed foods, GMOs, sugar, and foods that might contain mold themselves is the first step in giving your immune system a boost. You can also try an anti-inflammatory diet like

Exercise is another way to strengthen your immune system. Make sure you are enjoying at least 30 minutes of easy exercise like walking in the sunshine. Try some light stretching or yoga to calm the stress response in the body.

Remember staying hydrated is also important for strengthening your immune system. Drink plenty of clean water to flush out any toxins. Want some more suggestions, browse our blog posts while you have some extra time at home. You might find an article you might want to share!

Daily laughter, meditation, singing, dancing, and focusing on gratitude are also time honored ways to decrease the stress and inflammatory response!

Learn more about surviving the immune response to Covid and specific supportive nutrient recommendations from my webinar here.

To learn more about approaches to Candida- check out my interview on the FREE Candida Summit here.