Top Ten FAQs


#1/ Our most-requested Resources answer many questions:

  • Receive our comprehensive diagnoses-to-protocol FREE GUIDE (coming soon)>>


#2/ Is there a Shoemaker Protocol Certified Physician in my area?

Finding a Protocol Certified Physician to support you in the methodology every step of the way is central to protocol-based recovery. We keep a current compiled list of Shoemaker Physicians on our website. We’re always adding more physicians to our team, so check back or join our E-letter, FaceBook, or Instagram for updates.


#3/ What if there’s not a Shoemaker Certified Physician near me?

We’re always adding to our list of Shoemaker Protocol Certified Physicians, yet if you can’t find one near you, the next step is to consult with a certified physiWe’re always adding to our list of Shoemaker Protocol Certified Physicians, yet if you can’t find one near you, the next recommendation is to consider traveling to the nearest protocol certified physician. They may be able to oversee your progress with minimal travel and office visits. We believe it’s your best opportunity for recovery.

However, if that’s just not possible for you, you can check our Proficiency Partners List. While the Proficiency Level Certification graduates are not required to be practicing MDs, many of them are. Or you’ll find RNs or others affiliated with the medical system and they may be able to work with your attending physician to manage your case and recovery.

If you still can’t find someone to support your recovery, you can direct your attending physician to our Physicians’ Resources on the Surviving Mold site, including labs, testing, and our Protocol Certification Programs. Plus, do your own due diligence and learn all you can about the Shoemaker Protocol, and strictly adhere to the protocol as prescribed to you.

You can also download our Free Guide: Got Mold (?): The Shoemaker Testing, Process and Protocol Guide to recovery.

While Dr. Shoemaker is retired, his office still supports physicians through the testing process, and we continue to certify more physicians in the protocol all the time.


#4/ What does a failed Visual Contrast Screening (VCS) mean?

A failed VCS means you need to be evaluated by a Shoemaker Certified Physician for a possible biotoxin illness.

The VCS gives you a print out so you can see your scores, looking especially in column C and D. With hyperacute exposure, there will be a fail in row E followed by a fail in row D. If associated with a rise of MMP-9, these findings are consistent with intensification.

If you have more questions on the VCS Screening, VIEW THE VCS FAQS


#5/ I’ve been given another diagnosis with no resolution. How do I find out if it’s mold-related? Or could it be both?

When it comes to mold illness, stories have been told over and over again about patients given one diagnosis after another by physicians who have not checked inflammatory or metabolic markers. These markers are checked by blood tests in labs across the nation. You do not need someone’s best guess – you need hard science.

A few commonly misdiagnosed symptoms include: Fibromyalgia / Chronic Fatigue Syndrome / Multiple Sclerosis/ Depression/ Stress or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder / Allergies/ Somatization / Irritable Bowel Syndrome /Attention Deficit Disorder.

If anyone says you have an illness, ask for objective data to prove it. Then, you need a treatment plan based on hard science. If you don’t have conclusive data, a plan, or results, follow our testing process and steps outlined below to determine if mold could be affecting you.

The symptoms and steps are explained more thoroughly in our free guide. Here’s the quick look:

  • Find the source of mold exposure.


#6 What is CIRS? Do I have Mold illness or CIRS, or both?

An ongoing inflammatory response to mold or other environmental biotoxins can lead to chronic inflammatory response syndrome (CIRS). It’s also referred to as biotoxin illness. In this condition, inflammation affects multiple systems of your body.

Chronic exposure to a water-damaged building is the most common trigger of CIRS. Many symptoms may be present with mold and biotoxin exposures. Often times multiple symptoms express leading to whole body inflammatory states and chronic, complex illnesses. This state of chronic complex multi-system illness has been coined Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome or CIRS, by Dr. Shoemaker, and is a subset of the ICD- 10 (R65.10) recognized Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (SIRS).


#7/ Why would I need to take the NeuroQuant Analysis? If necessary, how do I get the information needed for it (the “volumetric data”)?

Given that executive cognitive symptoms are found in 94% of CIRS patients, to date, NeuroQuant remains the best measure of objective central nervous system injury from CIRS. Our online automated NeuroQuant Analysis looks at your brain’s volume and gray matter metrics to analyze for “mold” points, Lyme points, and other conditions, and gives you a score. It can be used in diagnosis as well as assessing response to treatment.

You’ll need a General Morphometry Report (or NeuroQuant Test) to take the analysis. Then, in just a few quick steps, you’ll receive a report suitable for printing and sharing with your attending physicians. 


#8/ Once I’ve had mold illness, will I always have such a severe reaction to Water Damaged Buildings?

The 25% of the population estimated to have an HLA genetic make-up associated with increased risk of developing mold illness,will need to remain vigilant about exposure to WDBs and mold prevention in their homes. It’s been shown that mold illness can and does retrigger with sometimes even small levels of exposure to this population. (Also see FAQ #9 on HERTSMI-2 Testing to assess CIRS-safe levels for WDBs).

If you don’t have the genetic susceptibility and have had mold illness, there’s a chance you won’t have a reoccurrence. It depends on a variety of things including, underlying health conditions, length of exposure time, and the level of toxicity of the molds to which you are exposed.

Symptom severity depends on multiple interacting factors including inflammation and metabolism. These two main body systems interact in countless ways creating the symptoms and the proteomics (lab abnormalities) that occur as part of the case definition.


#9/ I’m a little worried that work could be moldy, too. I have asked about water damage. I am told there has not been any but I have noticed some signs including tiles that you can tell have been wet. Any way to determine if the building is moldy short of doing a test?

HERTSMI-2 testing is the key concept here. Don’t trust any building to be safe just because a landlord or building manager says so. Do the test to know for sure.

When you’ve done the HERTSMI-2 and have confirmation of exposure, you can plan an approach to resolve the situation. If it’s not possible to remove the conditions that created the eco system that’s hurting you, then the next step is to find an employment solution that works for you.

The HERTSMI-2 scoring system was developed togo beyond what the standard ERMI building test doesn’t show. Specifically, it’s an index designed to predict safety of CIRS patients with re-exposure.

For more information on HERTSMI-2 testing and scores, viewtheHERTSMI-2 articles available on the site.


#10/ What’s the distinction between mold allergies and mold illness? Will the mold illness protocol help my allergies?

Mold allergies are not the same as biotoxin or mold illness. Some allergy symptoms are similar to those that commonly show up in mold illness, and can be misdiagnosed. If you are questioning if you have allergies or mold illness (or both) you can follow our process to determine if you’ve been affected by biotoxins (see FAQ # 5). You can also get tested for allergies by a specialist.

Of course, step one of the Protocol – removal from exposure – is beneficial for both conditions. But otherwise, no, the protocol has not been proven to treat allergies. You’ll need to see an allergy specialist for a treatment plan.


#11/ More questions? We have more answers…

If you need solid information on diagnosing mold illness, or how to go about testing your home, school and workplace, plus a treatment plan to restore health, and more… “Answers to 500 Mold Questions” offers proven, clear guidance in a world of fuzzy and overwhelming information.

  • The Surviving Mold FAQ Volumes– These volumes compile our members’ questions answered by Dr. Shoemaker, the world’s leading expert on mold-illness.

This premium membership content features answers from Dr Shoemaker on almost every mold topic under the sun, plus personalized answers to address health conditions and treatment progression. Dr. Shoemaker is now retired, so these volumes are the next best thing to hearing his expertise for yourself, in his own words.

Our Surviving Mold Membership Program is your gateway to a more interactive experience.

  • You’ll gain access to the world's leading information and experts on biotoxin related illness.
  • Submit your questions to our team of Shoemaker Certified Practitioners.
  • VCS tests included, plus access to members only special offers and other free materials.