074: How Hidden Fungal Infections Can Cause Skin Rashes w/ Dr. Jess Peatross

Stealth infections (such as mold) are often overlooked in the treatment of chronic skin issues, both in conventional and functional medicine. My guest today shares how identifying and healing stealth infections can have a positive impact on skin (and other) issues.

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My guest today is Dr. Jess Peatross, a visionary for the future of healthcare. She is an expert in the field of stealth infections and infectious disease, biologics and regenerative medicine, cannabis, ozone and environmental toxicities.

Dr. Jess is a board certified internal medicine physician who trained at the University of Louisville. During this time, Dr. Jess experienced what many of her patients today are suffering from: anxiety, hormonal imbalances and adrenal dysfunction. She began to seek out real answers that got to the root cause of disease, not just for herself, but for her patients as well.

After realizing that allopathic medicine was not the perfect fit for chronic disease solutions, Dr. Jess trained in the realm of functional medicine, Gerson therapy, ozone and nutrigenomics. Her philosophy now embodies true health as being all encompassing of mind, body and spirit, which is true health.

What she has learned, and wants to share with the world, is that our bodies are perfect. Ninety percent of disease comes from lifestyle, diet and environment, which is what ultimately changes our genes, so everyone does have a chance to HEAL and reverse chronic disease.

Join us as we talk about how mold and other stealth infections can trigger chronic skin rashes.

Have your skin conditions improved after addressing mold and stealth infections? Tell me about it in the comments!

In this episode:

  • Stealth infections and how they affected Dr. Jess's significant other
  • Mold and mold infections
  • How to figure out if you have a mold infection
  • Why are nasal swabs useful?
  • Why real healing isn't typically a pleasant experience
  • Why eliminating more and more food isn't the answer


“Candida is unicellular. Mold is multicellular. So they behave in a very similar fashion with similar symptoms a lot of the time.” [6:25]

“There's one out of four people in the population who have a genetic predisposition to being very sensitive to mold. And if they're in a chronic exposure, they can't get rid of it—even after they're out of the exposure—without help.” [7:02]

“When your body sees things that it's missed (or that have gone under the radar), it's really going to go into kill mode temporarily—because that pathogen that it missed is not supposed to be in your body.” [11:48]

“A lot of rashes are the body pushing out something that it's viewing as foreign or a threat somehow to the body.” [13:23]

“Your genes load the gun, the environment pulls the trigger.” [14:32]

“I firmly believe that disease comes from four places: hidden infections, heavy metals, other environmental toxicities, and emotional trauma and stress.” [17:58}


Find Dr. Jess online

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074: How Hidden Fungal Infections Can Cause Skin Rashes w/ Dr. Jess Peatross FULL TRANSCRIPT

Jennifer: Hi everyone and welcome back to the Healthy Skin Show. Today I've got a very special guest with me who caught my eye with the very specific Instagram posts that we're going to talk about in a moment that I was like, I really want to speak to this woman. I want to have her on the show for you to learn from because not only is she incredibly well known, but she's incredibly well respected amongst all of my colleagues in the functional medicine world. If you don't know her. Her name is Dr Jess Peatross and she is a visionary for the future of healthcare and a force in functional medicine. She's an expert in the field of Stealth infections and infectious disease, biologics and regenerative medicine, cannabis, ozone and environmental toxicities. Dr Jess is a board certified internal medicine physician who trained at the University of Louisville. During this time, she experienced what many of our patients today are suffering from: anxiety, hormonal imbalances, and adrenal dysfunction. She began to seek out real answers that led to the root cause of disease, not just for herself, but also for her patients. This led her to functional medicine with additional training in Gerson therapy, ozone and nutrogenomix. Her philosophy now embodies true health as encompassing, all that the body is body, mind and spirit, which is in essence the true definition of health. Thank you so much for joining us, Dr Jess. I really appreciate it.

Dr. Jess: That was a mouthful. Yes. Thank you for having me. I am honored. Yeah, thanks for having me on.

Jennifer: So let's talk about this Instagram post that I saw from you, which is what really caught my attention. Your significant other had developed a really serious infection, I guess would be the correct way to describe it. That ended up really dramatically impacting his skin. So could you talk us through what exactly happened so that we could get an understanding of where he was, what he was struggling with, and you know, maybe why doctors would have normally ignored some of these things or just not gone down those rabbit holes.

Dr. Jess: Right, exactly. So the final diagnosis for him was a bunch of stealth infections and I call them frenemies. They like to jump on board and they're really one of the root causes of disease, even cancers and chronic diseases can be triggered rom hidden stealth infections that reside hidden from the body's defenses. And so he had clostridium, Candida and mold and we actually didn't rule out Lyme disease and its coinfection. It was just Biotoxin illness in general, which happens to be my specialty. And so after he was diagnosed, we really went on the war path against this because it is basically a war. And I've been detoxing him now for the last year. With us looking for the root cause to everything and removing everything toxic in his life and how that affected him was basically, he had a lot of brain fog. He had some static shocks on the skin, itchy, kind of restless leg type of sensations and itchy skin sensations at night, especially. He had male pattern baldness. He was thinning actually on his scalp. Even some other issues that ended up being related, even erectile dysfunction, and not being able to think clearly and perform at work and have that sort of stamina throughout the day. Right. So it affected every area of his life. And when you look at the US in general, this is a lot of people that have similar symptoms of pain and brain fog and just generalized vague symptoms that the western medical system isn't really equipped to diagnose because they don't have an ICD 10 code for that.

Jennifer: Isn't that the truth? Well, let me actually ask you a question about the itchy skin thing. Did he have hives or anything or was it just itchiness on the body?

Dr. Jess: Yeah, it wasn't actually hives or anything. He had more like static shocks and weird crawling sensations on the skin, which honestly come of a lot with a mold diagnosis and mycotoxin illness. And it can cause static shocks or feeling like something's kind of pulling the hairs on the skin, especially at night. It's really indicative of that. And a lot of the parasitic infections that can hide in the body, these bugs are nocturnal, so they often move more at night. So when people are lying still, they're very aware of these really eerie body sensations and skin sensations in general.

Jennifer: Oh my goodness. So somebody listening to this is probably going, oh my gosh, I might be living in a body with things that I don't want to be in here. That is sort of like the definition of creepy crawly but it's in you, so your boyfriend was experiencing all of this and how exactly did you even get here to figure out the Candida and the infections?

Dr. Jess: So I have my own line of supplements. And my flagship product was microbiome master, which is a gut and Candida parasite cleanse. So I was aware of these hidden stealth infections, but what hadn't piqued my interest yet was mold. And what ended up happening was I went to a functional diagnostics nutrition (FDN) kind of summit on mold. And when I started hearing it's like I had forgotten about mold. As a western physician, we don't have training in that. And it had been so long since I'd done any sort of continuing medical education on something like that, that I'd forgotten many of the symptoms that were indicative of a mold infection. So when they started rattling off things and really kind of making me remember if you will, I was like, oh my gosh, he has mold. It's not just candida. And both of them are very similar. Candida is unicellular. Mold is multicellular. So they behave in a very similar fashion with similar symptoms a lot of the time.

Jennifer: With mold, I think everybody is more or less concerned about mold in their house. Like maybe they're being exposed to mold. But you're saying he had a mold infection?

Dr. Jess: So yes. So that's where he got it. He got it from a water damaged building. And so that's the thing is about 50% of what we estimate of buildings have previous water damage and 45% have current damage and 85% have previous damage. And there's one out of four people in the population who have a genetic predisposition to being very sensitive to mold. And if they're in a chronic exposure, they can't get rid of it even after they're out of the exposure without help. So he was one of those people. And once mold has lowered your immune system low enough, you could have other frenemies jump on board. Things like Candida or clostridium, which happened to him. And then you have real problems. Your bowel movements get messed up, you have a bloated gut, and then when you don't get things out your bowels, they come out your skin. Right.

Jennifer: Yeah, absolutely. If somebody is listening to you and going, oh my goodness, I used to live in this house where there was a lot of black mold and my symptoms started around then and I have these similar experiences of nighttime symptoms, where would they even start to figure out if they have a mold infection?

Dr. Jess: Right. So it's hard because just like I am the prime example, most doctors, this is kind of flying under the radar and being underdiagnosed and this is a root cause problem. It's linked to Alzheimer's, it's linked to autoimmunity. I mean it's a root cause problem of so many different issues. If people consider this, they should look at the list of other symptoms they have. Things like difficulty holding the urine and being thirsty all the time. The static shocks in the skin I mentioned. Being exhausted all the time, having no libido, kind of shortness of breath, recurrent sinusitis or allergies. And so a lot of that goes hand in hand with things like, you know, Eczema or even asthma as in children is looked at now as being possibility of being mold exposure, especially when children grow out of asthma and it has to do with them moving out of the house they were in possibly. So it's being missed quite a bit. And so if people are interested in those symptoms are like, wow, that sounds like me. They really need to look at someone who is a biotoxin or Lyme literate doctor. A lot of times mold runs hand in hand with Lyme and so these doctors are equipped to look at the environment and test you through like either a urine kit. Uses DNA to test for mycotoxin panels and you can get that done for about 300 bucks. There's also blood work that can be done. That's a probably a little more expensive depending on what people's insurance plans look like.

Jennifer: And you also mentioned to me before we started that for your boyfriend, he had a nasal swab. Why did you do that and what did you find?

Dr. Jess: So the nasal swabs are a really good indicator indirectly of mold. And what they do is it stands for multi antibiotic resistant staph aureus. So basically it's the coag negative staph aureus that lives in the nose and they're swabbing for that. And if it's positive and there's also a biofilm formation with that, that is very indicative that that mold and there's some sort of very looming presence there that's lowering the immune system enough for this biofilm to form for other bugs that are multi new drug resistant to be able to form in the nose. So this is an indicator that there is some sort of mycotoxin illness present possibly. There's also a visual contrast test that people can do for 15 bucks survivingmold.com in 93% of mold patients fail that test.

Jennifer: Really? Wow. So that's survivingmold.com you said? I think to, for those listening who have Eczema, the thing that's popping up for them is staph is such a huge problem with Eczema and, and I've oftentimes wondered, and you're actually not the first person who's mentioned in passing the concept of using nasal swabs to look for staph because what if you do have this chronic issue around your eyes and Eczema around the nose and the mouth and that may be a place where it's been. It's hiding essentially for some people. So tell us a little bit, you figured out all this stuff for your boyfriend and as he's going through the process of addressing this, things start coming out, so to speak. Because I think people think, oh, you figure out what's wrong and you get better.

Dr. Jess: No. Unfortunately, the system that's in place now for medicine has made people believe this fallacy, I will say, because really healing sucks, let's be honest, it's really hard. And it's not fun at all. And when your body sees things that it's missed or that have gone under the radar it's really going to go into kill mode temporarily because that pathogen that it missed is not supposed to be in your body. So it's your body that gives you the fever. It's your body that causes the rashes to push things out. It's your body that causes swelling and all that stuff to get rid of whatever it's viewing as foreign inside of it. And so really, when you suppress those patterns, it's really suppressing the body's job, what it's supposed to be doing. The body's intelligence, it's us that don't understand what our body needs most of the time. So I tell people, you know, understand that whenever you start detoxing. I'm like, but with my boyfriend we started detoxing him with anti herbals and binders and when we first gave him anti herbals, I mean he had this kind of a balding spot here on his head where he was thinning. He didn't know at the time, thank God the whole time. He didn't know cause he couldn't see it, which probably was good for him. But when we gave him the detox, literally he started saying, my head's itching. And I started to watch him. And then I looked in, there were these cysts forming on his head where he'd done, you know, the pumps of the herbal and really that had wiped the Biofilm away where the mold and candida were hiding. So the body's defenses go, oh, there you are, kill, kill, kill. And so his lymph nodes had swollen up in the cervical neck, the cells where they're making soldier cells and they shot those suckers up into the sinuses to run the bugs out. And that's what was happening right before our eyes, literally. And so a lot of rashes are the body pushing out something that it's viewing as foreign or a threat somehow to the body. And many times we don't understand the pathogens that are inside of us that our body may view innately that we don't. Our body's intelligent, it doesn't really make mistakes most of the time it's something that we're missing that the body seeing.

Jennifer: That's really interesting. And I love the perspective actually, it's super interesting and it's one that I think is missing in conventional dermatology cause when I went to the doctor they'd be like, oh well here's another cream. Try this cream. You know, you're just going to have to learn to live with this.

Dr. Jess: Oh yeah. I love that one. I've heard that one so many times. Yeah.

Jennifer: Oh, you know, rashes are normal just a thing, you know, probably runs in your family. You know, it's as if it's just a normal experience that we all have and that we suffer with.

Dr. Jess: It's just, I hate the perspective of your genes are broken. It's your body that's not smart. That's the wrong perspective. It actually is not our genes. Our genes are changed by the environment and exposures that we have throughout our lifetimes. And so I tell people, you know, your genes load the gun, the environment pulls the trigger. And so that's the same with rashes too and everything else we're exposed to. Absolutely.

Dr. Jess: And with your boyfriend now, just to give people a sense of how far he's come. Would you share with us, you know, he started in one spot and to some degree, one could probably argue, as you said, it's a good thing. He couldn't see what was going on on his head and experiencing all these other, not very pleasant symptoms in the process. Where is he now? Is he in a better spot now that he's been going through all of this? And how long did that take?

Dr. Jess: Oh yeah. I tell people he reverse aged. He looks different than he used to because when we got rid of the hidden infections that were involving his sinuses and causing so much inflammation, his hair regrow, his wrinkles went away, his skin lightened up and he had more of a glow. He looked more like the younger version of himself than he did. So it was actually the best anti aging plan that there ever was to look for hidden infections and heavy metals and other environmental toxicities in his body. So he's much better, he's probably, I would say 90 to 95% all the way. We have some cavities in his teeth that had been there for a while that we need to get checked out by can also be a resource. I should just put people onto that as well. Infected root canals and teeth can also cause rashes and things in the sinus cavities too. And so that's one area that we think might be a root cause. That's the last 10% of what he needs to go. But other than that, it's been a journey. He's taught me along the way and he's so much better. I wish I had a before and after picture close up of him. It's amazing. It's amazing.

Jennifer: That's an incredible story to hear and you know, it's interesting. You're such an expert in this whole area of mold and the stealth infections, which I think aren't discussed enough. Let alone in traditional medicine. My Dad's a doctor so I'm not knocking doctors. He's a surgeon and you know, but I even think in functional medicine we also miss that boat, so to speak, of realizing that it's not just candida, it's not just some of the more obvious things. There can be things really hidden deep underneath that you have to be able to dig for and look for. And I love that you're sharing with the audience as well. This reminder that because you have rashes, that's only one like tiny little fraction of the puzzle.

Dr. Jess: Yes. It's a clue. Your body's saying something to you, it's trying to talk to you. That's how our body talks. It doesn't use English words or any sort of language. So that's how it's physically speaking to you. Hey, there's something wrong, please investigate.

Jennifer: If people are frustrated right now, they've gone to the doctor and they're at the beginning of this journey of starting to really dig, what would be one piece of advice that you would have for them? If they're like up all night, super itchy skins burning, they're going crazy. They're desperate trying to get rid of the steroid cream out of their life, but they're not sure if they can like go for their own. Is there a piece of advice you might have for those listening?

Dr. Jess: Absolutely. look for what's inside you that's not supposed to be there. And I firmly believe that disease comes from four places, which is hidden infections, heavy metals, other environmental toxicities and emotional trauma and stress. That's it. That's all that changes your genes, or your ancestors' genes. And so if you can kind of reverse engineer your life to look at what you may have been exposed to, then that can often give you a clue about what's inside you that's setting your body off, causing autoimmunity, causing rashes that don't need to be hives, you know, itchiness, multiple chemical sensitivities, whatever it is. And so if you look at that and you get things like a non heavy metal tox screen, a heavy metal tox screen, you know, something like a DNA based stool test or a urine test for mycotoxins and start looking for those pathogens that may be hiding there, that are triggering your cells to release all this histamine, mast cells to release all these Chromelin that makes you itch all over and you know, have blankets of just Eczema, really look because there is something your body is telling you, hey, there's something inside me that doesn't belong here.

Jennifer: One last question as you were talking. What about the person who's saying, okay, well I'm just going to take out more and more foods. It must be the food that's causing this.

Dr. Jess: Well, my question to them would be, why is your body rejecting what is probably good foods at this point. You know, I understand inflammatory foods. I feel like if you have inflammatory gut issues or skin issues, you really should be avoiding gluten, dairy, processed sugar, you know, really inflammatory foods like that, herbicide sprayed foods. However, if you've already done that and you're starting to remove fruits and vegetables and healthy, you know, quinoa, grains, rice, things like that, then there's something wrong. Your gut's inflamed and at that point, it's not your body. It's still something, some pathogen there, some environmental toxicity there that's causing the inflamed gut. And no matter what food you put into it, you're going to make antibodies to it and be inflamed until you figure out where the root cause of the inflammation is. And it's still one of those four places.

Jennifer: Awesome. Thank you. I just always like to underscore that because I hate that people develop this fear of food and blame food.

Dr. Jess: It's not the food! It's really the gut. Fix your gut. Fix your gut.

Jennifer: Awesome. Thank you so much. And also too, I just want to make sure everybody, number one, if you're on Instagram, follow Dr Jess everybody. She's got a great Instagram account. You will learn a ton. And then she's also got a fantastic website. Where can everybody find you?

Dr. Jess: So just Drjess.com.

Jennifer: And yes, and you are dr.jess.md on Instagram. Yeah. And you have a really great gift for everybody. We're gonna share a coupon code for 10% off your products in your store for everybody listening if they're interested.

Dr. Jess: Awesome. Amazing.

Jennifer: Perfect. But yes, thank you so much and I hope we can have you come back sometime.

Dr. Jess: I would love to anytime, Jen, thanks for having me.

"Candida is unicellular. Mold is multicellular. So they behave in a very similar fashion with similar symptoms a lot of the time."

Jennifer Fugo, MS, CNS

Jennifer Fugo, MS, CNS is an integrative Clinical Nutritionist and the founder of Skinterrupt. She works with women who are fed up with chronic gut and skin rash issues discover the root causes and create a plan to get them back to a fuller, richer life.

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