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Penicillium: A Mold for all Seasons

Molds belong to the fungi kingdom, a realm that holds incalculable numbers of species, including penicillium. Mold is neither plant nor animal, but can be viewed as having a little bit of both. Penicillium, as well as other molds, can be a serious threat to the health of individuals who are especially allergic to fungi. Although the genus penicillium has been isolated for the production of penicillin, which is deemed one of the most useful drugs of the 20th century, it is a most toxic mold to those sensitive to the mycotoxins it produces.

Penicillium MoldCharacteristics of Penicillium
Penicillium mold commonly grows as a green, blue or white fuzzy substance on moist, nonliving organic matter, such as stale or decaying food. It presents its own adverse symptoms, which consist of gastric and/or respiratory problems. So the best rule of thumb is: when in doubt…throw it out!

Like all other molds, penicillium reproduces by means of tiny spores and develops wherever there is moisture, food and oxygen. At times, mold can be detected with the naked eye, but often it is invisible. You can find mold in soil, on plants, in the air, and on any organic and inorganic matter. Molds can either have a distinguishable smell or be odorless.

Symptoms of Mold Allergy
A mold allergy is typically difficult to diagnose. Not all types of molds cause health problems, and not everyone is allergic. Mold can affect one or more persons living in the same household, and symptoms may differ from one family member to another. Not only is it difficult to identify a specific mold, but it is even more difficult to identify the mold that is causing the health problems. The likelihood of developing particular allergies depends on two factors: your living environment and your genetic make-up.

Individuals who have an allergy to penicillium may experience symptoms such as a runny nose, watery eyes, a mild cough, headaches, and congested ears. Asthma is often the result of an allergy caused by airborne spores. Asthma can advance to a serious incapacitating disease when not treated adequately. The extreme allergic reaction to any toxin is anaphylaxis or death.

Treatment
Because mold allergies have now become common, many preparations are available without a prescription. Over the counter medications can provide some relief for allergy sufferers, but if symptoms persist, you should seek advice from a physician who specializes in allergies. Your doctor may suggest skin testing followed by desensitization with injections, or a prescription medication.

In addition to treating a mold allergy, it is of utmost importance that the source of the allergen be identified and completely eradicated, including the affected material in order to prevent re-growth.

 

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