Can Moldy Bread Make You Sick or Give You a Headache?

Food that develops visible mold needs to thrown away to avoid food-borne illness. If you eat moldy bread, you may develop food poisoning and a headache. Food poisoning will make you feel sick to your stomach, causing diarrhea, vomiting and nausea. You may develop a headache from sinus pressure if you're allergic to mold. Call your doctor at the first signs of developing sickness from ingesting moldy bread.

Eating moldy bread may lead to food poisoning. (Image: Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images)

Food Borne Illness

Food poisoning is sickness that is the result of consuming food that is contaminated with an infectious organism, such as parasites, bacteria or toxins. Mold may contain toxins, bacteria and harmful organisms to the human body. Food poisoning can cause minor to severe symptoms depending on the type of infectious organisms that you've ingested. The lining of your digestive system will become inflamed and swell, which leads to a wide range of digestive symptoms. In extreme cases, hospitalization may be required although most food poisoning instances are resolved within one to 10 days.

Illness Symptoms

Common symptoms of food borne illness include fever, chills, stomach cramps, diarrhea that may be bloody, weakness, nausea and vomiting, according to PubMed Health. Most symptoms from food poisoning will not respond to over-the-counter medications for an upset stomach and should be avoided, unless directed by a doctor. Troubling symptoms include vomiting blood, severe diarrhea for more than three days, unable to keep liquids down, severe abdominal pain, blood in your stool, dehydration, a fever over 101.5 F, trouble speaking, double vision, difficulty swallowing and muscle weakness. Report these symptoms to your doctor immediately.

Headaches

A headache may form after eating moldy bread for two reasons. If you have food poisoning and your body is fighting off an infection, your nasal passages may swell, leading to sinus headaches. A mold allergy may also trigger headaches related to nasal congestion after eating moldy bread. Although mold allergies are commonly caused by airborne mold, eating foods that contain mold can also trigger allergy symptoms, according to the Cleveland Clinic. During an allergic reaction various chemicals are released throughout the body that triggers inflammation and swelling. Nasal congestion from a mold allergy can lead to sinus pain, facial tenderness and nasal headaches.

Treatment

Food poisoning is treated with increased liquid intake to prevent dehydration, a modified diet to remove any difficult foods to digest and rest. Your doctor may recommend introducing food back into your diet as your symptoms improve. Headaches that result from sinus congestion may be treated with nasal decongestants and pain relievers. If the headaches are the result of an allergic reaction, oral antihistamines may be used to reduce swelling in the nasal passages.

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