Mold allergy: Symptoms and Prevention
Mold allergy is less common than other allergies. Out of the thousands
of types of mold in the environment, only a few dozen can cause allergic
reactions that pose a threat to human health. Mold grows in all kinds
of climates and thrives both indoors and outdoors; consequently, mold
allergy does not have a defined season like pollen allergy does. When
microscopic mold spores are inhaled, they often cause allergic rhinitis
(hay fever symptoms) by irritating the lining of the nose. They sometimes
reach the lungs and cause asthma.
of mold allergy include:
- Sneezing, runny nose, nasal congestion
- Chronic cough
- Itchy, watery and red eyes
- Skin rashes and hives
- Sinus headaches
- Reduced lung capacity and difficulty breathing
Certain foods that are processed with mushrooms and dried fruits can
aggravate the symptoms of mold allergy. Foods that contain ingredients
such as yeast, soy sauce, or vinegar can also upset the body’s system
and worsen the symptoms.
Who is at greater risk?
People can develop a mold allergy if they or other family members have
allergic reactions to substances such as pollen, dust mites or animal
dander. However, similar to other allergies, suffering from one type of
mold does not necessarily lead to being allergic to all molds since mold
People whose occupations regularly expose them to mold are at a greater
risk of developing allergies. Farmers, dairymen, loggers, bakers, mill
workers, carpenters, greenhouse employees, winemakers and furniture repair
persons are often subject to allergic reactions.
The chances of getting a mold allergy can be significantly reduced by
following these tips:
- Avoid contact with mold spores
- Wear a dust mask when cutting grass, digging around plants, picking
up leaves and disturbing plant materials
- Reduce the humidity indoors to prevent fungi from growing
- Check for mold
in your home
The allergy skin test is the most accurate way of discovering if one is
allergic to mold. An alternative is the allergy blood test, which produces
the same results as a skin test. The allergy blood test is better suited
for people with very sensitive skin, or for people who take medication
that may cause inaccurate skin test results.
Medication for mold related allergy is the same as that of pollens and
other inhalant allergies, which consists of bronchodilators, antihistamines,
A series of injections given in gradually increasing dosages can be
administered to help treat mold allergy. The injections include extracts
of various allergens to help the body develop a tolerance to that allergen.
Written by Gary Martin
Gary Martin is a freelance writer specializing in health and allergy research for the Mold Removal Unit website.