Updated: Dec 1, 2021
For nearly three years, Sue Phoo didn't know why her health was unraveling.
As a lawyer and mother of two, she had always been known as a woman who was full of life, juggling a hectic schedule with a spring in her step and a big smile on her face.
But in 2016, Ms Phoo was suffering from extreme fatigue, depression, respiratory issues, a lack of concentration and no one could work out why.
"I started getting this extreme fatigue and I was tired all the time and to get through the day — it always hit around 2:30pm — I just needed a nap," she said.
"I went and saw a few doctors, and everyone pretty much said, 'you're a working mum with young kids, you're just tired.
Two things stand out in this story:
That the mould was largely invisible to the family, as much of it was underneath the floorboards of the bedroom - this is often the case
As Ms Phoo was the only person with the condition affecting her immune system, it was misdiagnosed many times before a specialist was able to connect the symptoms and do tests.
Mould is an insidious problem that is affecting more people and buildings in Australia, due to design flaws, bad maintenance, wet weather and condensation issues and is the subject of a Parliamentary Committee investigation into the problem.
If you think you have a mould problem or experience some health symptoms which may be related, it is important that you engage qualified mould technicians with the right testing equipment to check your environment. If there is any doubt, they will send samples to a laboratory for a scientific report. Without these tools, results may be inaccurate, cause a delay in proper treatment and may be capitalising on people's fear.