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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.

Mold AllergySymptoms 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 spores vary.

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
    Medication for mold related allergy is the same as that of pollens and other inhalant allergies, which consists of bronchodilators, antihistamines, or corticosteroids
  • Immunotherapy
    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.


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