What are the effects of mold allergies
What Is a Mold Allergy?
If you own an allergy that occurs over several seasons, you may be allergic to the spores of molds or other fungi. Molds live everywhere. Upsetting a mold source can send the spores into the air.
Mold and mildew are fungi. They are diverse from plants or animals in how they reproduce and grow. The “seeds,” called spores, travel through the air. Some spores spread in dry, windy weather. Others spread with the fog or dew when humidity is high.
Inhaling the spores causes allergic reactions in some people. Allergic symptoms from fungus spores are most common from July to early drop.
But fungi grow in numerous places, both indoors and exterior, so allergic reactions can happen year round.
Although there are numerous types of molds, only a few dozen cause allergic reactions. Numerous molds grow on rotting logs and fallen leaves, in compost piles and on grasses and grains. Unlike pollens, molds do not die with the first killing frost. Most outdoor molds become inactive during the winter. In the spring they grow on plants killed by the freezing. Indoors, fungi grow in damp areas. They can often be found in the bathroom, kitchen or basement.
How Do Doctors Diagnose Mold Allergy?
To diagnose an allergy to mold or fungi, the doctor will take a finish medical history.
If they suspect a mold allergy, the doctor often will do skin tests or allergen specific IgE blood tests. Extracts of diverse types of fungi may be used to scratch or prick the skin. If there is no reaction, then you probably don’t own an allergy. The doctor uses the patient’s medical history, the skin testing results and the physical exam to diagnose a mold allergy.
How Can I Prevent an Allergic Reaction to Mold?
There is no cure for allergies. But you can reduce your allergy symptoms by avoiding contact with the mold spores.
Several measures will help:
Reduce Your Exposure to Mold Spores Outside
- Limit your outdoor activities when mold counts are high. This will lessen the quantity of mold spores you inhale and your symptoms.
- Wear a dust mask when cutting grass, digging around plants, picking up leaves and disturbing other plant materials.
Reduce Your Exposure to Mold Spores Inside
- Use central air conditioning with a CERTIFIED asthma & allergy friendly® filter attachment. This can assist trap mold spores from your entire home.
Freestanding air cleaners only filter air in a limited area. Avoid devices that treat air with heat, electrostatic ions or ozone.
- Lower your indoor humidity. No air cleaners will assist if excess moisture remains. If indoor humidity is above 50%, fungi will thrive. A hygrometer is a tool used to measure humidity. The goal is to hold humidity under 45%, but under 35% is better.
If you own to use a humidifier, clean the fluid reservoir at least twice a week to prevent mold growth.
Air conditioners and dehumidifiers can also be a source of mold.
- Prevent mold and mildew build up inside the home. Pay shut attention to mold in bathrooms, basements and laundry areas. Be aggressive about reducing dampness.
To Reduce Mold in Your Bathrooms:
- Use an exhaust fan or open a window in the bathroom during baths and showers.
- Scour sinks and tubs at least monthly. Fungi thrive on soap and other films that jacket tiles and grout.
- Remove bathroom carpeting from places where it can get wet.
- Quickly repair any plumbing leaks.
To Reduce Mold in Your Kitchen:
- Clean trash pails frequently.
- Quickly repair any plumbing leaks.
- Clean refrigerator door gaskets and drip pans.
- Use an exhaust fan when you are cooking or washing dishes.
To Reduce Mold in Your Laundry Area:
- Remove clothes from washing machine promptly.
- Don’t leave wet, damp clothes sitting around.
- If you own a front-loading washing machine, clean the rubber seal and inside of the door.
Leave the door cracked open when the machine is not in use.
- Make certain your laundry area has excellent air circulation.
To Reduce Mold in Your Bedrooms:
- Polyurethane and rubber foams seem especially prone to fungus invasion. Use plastic covers on bedding made from these foams.
- Check windows for condensation (water droplets or mist).
- Throw away or recycle ancient books, newspapers, clothing or bedding.
- Improve air flow through your bedroom. If your closet is colder than the relax of your room, leave the closet doors open.
To Reduce Mold in Your Basement:
- Quickly repair any plumbing leaks.
- Promote ground water drainage away from a home.
Remove leaves and dead vegetation near the foundation and in the rain gutters.
To Reduce Mold in Your Whole House:
- Use an electric dehumidifier to remove moisture and hold humidity in your home under 45 percent. Drain the dehumidifier regularly and clean the condensation coils and collection bucket.
- Increase air flow in your home. Open doors between rooms, move furniture away from walls and use fans if needed.
- Repair roof leaks and roof gutters. Clean out your gutters to remove leaves and debris. When gutters are full or damaged, it can cause leaking.
What Are the Symptoms of a Mold Allergy?
The symptoms of mold allergy are extremely similar to the symptoms of other allergies, such as sneezing, itching, runny nose, congestion and dry, scaling skin.
- Outdoor molds may cause allergy symptoms in summer and drop (or year-round in some climates)
- Indoor molds may cause allergy symptoms year-round
Mold spores get into your nose and cause hay fever symptoms.
They also can reach the lungs and trigger asthma. A chemical released by allergy cells in the nose and or lungs causes the symptoms. Sometimes the reaction happens correct away. Sometimes a mold allergy can cause delayed symptoms, leading to nasal congestion or worsening asthma over time. Symptoms often get worse in a damp or moldy room love a basement. This may mean you own a mold allergy.
Rarely, some patients can own a more serious illness called allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis.
In this condition, there is both an allergic and an inflammatory response to the mold. Symptoms may include severe wheezing, coughing and shortness of breath, much love asthma.
Food fungi, love mushrooms, dried fruit, or foods containing yeast, vinegar or soy sauce, generally don’t cause allergy symptoms of the nose, eyes and lungs. It is more likely that reactions to food fungi are caused by the food’s direct effect on blood vessels.
For example, fermented foods (like wine) may naturally contain a substance known as histamine. Histamine is also a chemical your allergy cells release during an allergic reaction. Foods that contain histamines can trigger allergy-like responses when you consume them.
What Are the Treatments for Mold Allergy?
In some cases, there may be ways to reduce or remove mold exposure. This may not always be possible and you may need medications.
- Avoid contact with mold.
(See tips above)
- Take medications for nasal or other allergic symptoms. Antihistamines and nasal steroids are available over the counter without a prescription. If you own allergic asthma, talk to your doctor about which medicines may be best for you. You might also be a candidate for allergy shots. Allergy shots may assist reduce symptoms and medications. Study more about allergy treatments.
Medical Review October
Most of us generally ponder summer is a time for clear breathing and enjoyment in the sun, but that may not actually be the case.
The summer heat can actually make allergies worse than usual.
Heat promotes plant growth which means more pollen
Many plants pollinate based on environmental triggers which is why we own diverse allergy seasons caused by diverse plants. Most grasses love to pollinate during the heat, which is why summer is when grass allergies are at their worst. Add in the constant mowing of lawns and summer breezes, and grass pollen easily gets into the air we breathe.
With summer heat comes summer bugs
And by summer bugs, we’re mostly talking about cockroaches.
Out of every the non-plant or mold allergies that we test for, cockroach is one of the most common that people are allergic to. So, you can put that on the already expansive list on why cockroaches are the worst.
Cockroaches are always around in Texas, but summer is when they become the most bold and abundant. The feces, saliva, and shedding body parts of cockroaches can every be allergy triggers and these allergens work love most where its spread by getting swept up in the air.
Luckily, decreasing the effects of cockroach allergy is the same as decreasing the number of cockroaches in your home. Hold it clean, hold food in containers, and repair leaks to water and areas where cockroaches will flock.
Heat pushes us to wet, humid areas
What’s one of the best ways to spend a boiling summer day? Being in the water. Texas has tons of natural water and swimming holes, waterparks are around every corner, and you also own your neighborhood or backyard pool to go hang out. If there’s one allergen that likes water more than cockroaches, it’s mold.
When we go to these constantly damp and humid areas, we’re exposing ourselves to more exterior mold than we generally encounter.
Mold allergies, along with dust, are one of the most common but unrecognized allergies for the general public. When you’re going out to the water in the summer heat, you’ll need to make certain you’re prepared with an antihistamine to combat your allergic symptoms.
Speaking of mold, it’s not just affecting us outdoors – it’s also affecting us in our homes.
Heat moves us inside
Sometimes you glance at your weather app and see 3 digits depicting the current temperature for the day.
A lot of us take that as a excellent excuse to own a lazy day inside. And believe me, there’s nothing incorrect with doing that!
However, when we’re staying inside for longer periods of time in the summer, we’re exposing ourselves to indoor allergens and this is even true for every the tidy freaks out there. An estimated 70% of homes own mold behind their walls. For some, a little mold can be fine and not really influence your health or breathing, but mold allergies are extremely common and a lot of times that means our indoor air quality may be worse than the outdoors.
And mold isn’t the only allergen causing the sniffles inside your home, dust mites are just as large of a factor. Dust mites and mold are year-round allergens with serious effects on your health.
Dust mites also love to spend most of their time where you are (hopefully) spending 8 hours every day — your bed.
Dust can be much more manageable than mold because it’s not hiding behind the wall, but if you own children, pets, roommates, or anyone sharing your space with you, that manageability becomes less and less realistic.
Handling allergies increased by summer heat
The point of this blog isn’t to scare you, but to prepare you. Too numerous people spend their summers sniffling and sneezing while blaming it on a freezing or illness, when it’s something as simple as allergies.
Think about this summer and if you felt under the weather.
If it was beautiful consistent, maybe you shouldn’t blame it on sharing some chips and queso with a friend, and instead take control of your allergies.
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Did you know a sore throat or runny nose may be something other than a common cold? Taking a closer glance at these and other symptoms can assist you understand if it’s a freezing you’re up against or allergies that may be affecting you.
ALLERGIES ARE A YEAR-ROUND AFFAIR
If you’re allergic to pollens, you may feel an improvement with spring and summer allergy symptoms during colder winter months. However, if you suffer from indoor allergies, such as mold or dust mites, you may notice allergy symptoms are more pronounced during winter when you spend more time indoors.
This is because your home’s furnace sends dust, mold spores and insect particles into the air. When inhaled, these particles often cause allergy symptoms for someone who is allergic.
OTHER DIFFERENCES TO CONSIDER
Consider these additional differences between a colds and allergies:
- Cold symptoms take a few days to appear after an infection. Allergy symptoms can start immediately after contact with triggers.
- Fever is rare with a freezing and never with allergies.
- A runny, stuffy nose is commonly seen with both colds and allergies.
- Aches are sometimes present with a freezing but never with allergies.
- Fatigue is sometimes present with both colds and allergies.
- Colds most often happen during winter months.
Allergies happen any time of the year.
- A cough is often present with a freezing and sometimes with allergies.
- Itchy, watery eyes are rare with a freezing but often with allergies.
- Sore throat frequently occurs with a freezing and sometimes with allergies.
- Colds tend to final anywhere from three to 14 days. Allergies final days to months.
- The most significant difference is that colds generally don’t final longer than 14 days.
COMMON INDOOR/WINTER ALLERGENS
Even the cleanest of homes can be a hotbed for indoor allergens.
Some of the main culprits include:
- Dust mites. These microscopic pests are the No.1 indoor allergen. They thrive in warm, humid environments, such as bedding, upholstered furniture and carpeting.
- Animal dander. Despite what you may hear, there are no hypoallergenic breeds of dogs or cats. People are not allergic to an animal’s hair — they’re allergic to an allergen found in the saliva, dander (dead skin flakes) or urine of an animal with fur.
- Indoor dust and mold. Dust and mold allergens can come from a humidifier causing more harm than good.
- Cockroach droppings. Cockroaches are common pests whose droppings can cause environmental issues.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ALLERGIES AND THE COMMON COLD
Colds are due to viruses, which are contagious.
They’re often spread by someone who sneezes or coughs, or by hand shaking and other direct physical contact. After a couple weeks, your immune system fights off the infection and your symptoms generally resolve.
Allergies are due to an immune reaction to something in the environment. Often, this includes dust or pollen. This causes the body to release histamine, just as it would with a freezing, which causes nasal congestion, sneezing and coughing. Allergies are not contagious.
TIPS TO Assist REDUCE ALLERGENS IN YOUR HOME
There are a few suggestions you can attempt to assist combat indoor allergens in your home:
- Vacuum carpets often, or replace carpet with hardwood floor, tile or linoleum.
- Keep animals outdoors, if possible.
If pets are indoors, hold them out of bedrooms and other rooms where you spend most of your time. Attempt to minimize contact, and wash your hands after touching.
- Remove any mold growth on hard surfaces with water, detergent and, if necessary, a 5 percent bleach mixture. For clothing, wash with soap and water.
- Try to hold humidity levels low in your home — around 40 to 50 percent.
- Wash every bedding weekly in boiling water ( degrees F).
- Place dust mite cases on mattresses/pillows.
- Use a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter vacuum.
These filters are rated at least percent efficient on particles of microns in size.
- Block crevices, wall cracks and windows where cockroaches may enter. Hold food in containers with lids, use trash cans with lids and wash dishes immediately after use. Clean under stoves, refrigerators and toasters where crumbs can accumulate.
- Repair and seal leaking roofs/pipes. Use dehumidifiers in damp basements, making certain to empty and clean the unit regularly.
Richard Crockett, M.D., is a physician assistant in Allergy (Asthma) in Mankato, Minnesota.
Mold, also known as fungus, is a type of multicellular organism found throughout nature, as well as indoors.
If you own a mold allergy, it can trigger symptoms of hay fever such as a runny nose, cough, and headaches.
An allergic reaction to mold occurs when the body has an immune reaction to mold exposure. Diagnosis can take time, and identifying the source of mold can be challenging. Medications can assist alleviate the effects of a mold allergy. If possible, removing the mold or avoiding it once the source is found is the best way to manage the allergy.
Different Types of Mold
Allergenic Molds. Allergenic molds are on the low finish of the harm scale.
They only cause problems for those with asthma and a predisposed allergy to the specific mold. Children are more likely to own mold allergies than adults.
Pathogenic Molds. Pathogenic molds will cause some infection. This is a large problem for those with a suppressed immune system. An acute response resembling bacterial pneumonia is commonly found with those exposed to these types of mold.
Toxigenic Molds. As the name implies, these molds produce mycotoxins that can cause serious health effects.
They own been tied to immunosuppression and cancer. The toxic chemicals found in these types of molds can be absorbed into the body when one inhales them, eats them, or even touches them.
Mold allergies can be diagnosed based on your symptoms, physical examination, and diagnostic testing.
You might benefit from keeping a diary of your symptoms and talking about it with your doctor. You may notice some trends that assist you discover what is triggering your allergic reaction.
Your doctor may also send blood tests, such as an IgE test, to verify that your symptoms are caused by an allergy, and not by an infection.
Allergy testing also includes skin prick tests, in which you would be exposed to an allergen placed on your skin with a needle to see if you own a reaction.
There are thousands of types of mold, however, and only a few of these are currently available for allergy testing.
There are no well-established guidelines for mold testing in the environment. Mold-induced allergies are based on individual susceptibility, rather than on the quantity or type of mold. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), mold sampling is extremely expensive, and the situation must be interpreted along with an inspection of the contaminated area.
You might desire to contact your local health agency to see if they can test your workplace or home for mold and to discover out if it has been a problem in your area.
Mold allergies can be treated.
You can use anti-allergy medications love allergy shots or antihistamines. In some situations, oral steroids are necessary to relieve the effects of a severe mold allergy such as bronchopulmonary aspergillosis.
There are a number of strategies you can use to assist reduce exposure to mold if you or a family member is allergic to mold.
Precautions you can take include:
- Control indoor moisture with the use of dehumidifiers
- Clean or replace contaminated surfaces with diluted a chlorine bleach solution (one part household bleach in 9 parts water), while using proper protective gear (mask and goggles)
- Utilize HEPA-filters on vacuums or as a stand-alone air filter
- Fix water leaks in bathrooms, kitchens, and basements
- Ensure adequate ventilation of moist areas
- Prevent outdoor molds from entering your home by keeping doors and windows closed and using air conditioning equipped with allergen-grade air filters
- Limit indoor houseplants, and ensure those that are present are free of mold on leaves and in potting soil
Sometimes, it can take a endless time to identify the cause of the allergy and to remove or avoid it.
In the meantime, mold will not cause a fungal infection. Fungal infections are caused by diverse molds than the ones that cause allergies, and they spread differently too.
A Expression From Verywell
Mold allergies are not unusual. These allergies can make you feel ill, but the condition is not typically dangerous. While they are frequently confused, mold is not the same as exposure to asbestos, a building material linked to cancer.
Mold is a living organism, but a mold allergy is not an infection.
Mold is a large problem in most homes, but numerous people are unaware of the problem.
Of course, everyone looks at the shower curtain, under the sink, or in the basement when he or she ponder about mold issues, but mold can grow just about anywhere.
Mold can be found in drywall, in the roof (if leaks are present), and even in one’s Christmas tree. One study found that Christmas trees can breed mold, quietly releasing millions of spores into the room causing winter allergies and asthma attacks. Studies own found that indoor air quality dropped six-fold over the 14 days a Christmas tree typically decorates a room.
There are 1, types of mold that can be found growing in the modern American home.
Scientists classify these molds based on the effect they own on humans and other living things.
You can develop a mold allergy at any age. The symptoms can start immediately upon exposure. For some people, the effects persist every day, especially if you spend endless periods of time around the mold.
Because mold may be present in some buildings, you may feel ill only at certain times, such as after spending a few hours in a mold-infested building. This is often described as "sick building syndrome." However, other issues can cause ill building syndrome—including poor ventilation, dust, and uncomfortable temperatures.
Mold allergies typically cause respiratory symptoms.
The effects of a mold allergy include:
- Itchy, watery eyes
- Stuffy, itchy, or runny nose
- Coughing, sneezing
- Sore throat
A mold allergy can trigger an asthma attack if you own asthma. Symptoms may include wheezing and shortness of breath.
Mold allergies are similar to pollen and dust allergies. One of the differences between mold allergies and seasonal allergies love pollen is that you can experience a mold allergy that spans several seasons or lasts every year round.
Mold is a type of fungus. Fungal infections are diverse than mold allergies and can affect the skin, feet, lungs, or even the brain. While anyone can get a fungal infection on the skin (like athlete's foot), fungal infections that invade the body's organs tend to affect people who own an immune problem.
Mold allergies are triggered by inhaling spores. Spores are tiny particles that form as mold reproduces, and they can easily travel through the air into your nose, triggering an allergic reaction.
Mold may grow exterior or on wood or other building materials, and it generally needs moisture to thrive.
Anyone can be exposed to mold, but some people are more prone to mold allergies. If you own asthma or other types of hay fever, you are more likely to own an allergic reaction to mold too.
Exposure to Mold
In colder climates, molds can be found in the outdoor air starting in the tardy winter and peaking in the tardy summer to early drop months (July to October).
In warmer climates, mold spores may be found throughout the year, with the highest levels found in the tardy summer to early drop months.
Indoor mold can come from the exterior environment, and indoor mold levels tend to be higher when there is a high level of outdoor mold.
Indoor mold contamination can happen year-round and is often dependent on moisture levels in the home.
Flooding and water leaks increase the risk of indoor mold.
Types of Mold
There are numerous diverse types of mold and certain types are more common in the air.
Mold-induced allergic disease is most often caused by the following types of mold:
- Fusarium: Commonly found on rotting plants
- Penicillium: A common indoor mold allergy to which is not associated with antibiotic allergy
- Alternaria: A common outdoor mold; allergy to this mold can be associated with severe asthma
- Rhizopus and Mucor: Commonly found on decaying leaves and damp indoor areas.
Airborne forms of these molds are less common
- Phoma: An outdoor mold, especially common during wet periods
- Aspergillus: A common indoor and outdoor mold. Also associated with allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis, a severe lung reaction that may cause bronchiectasis (severe widening of the bronchi in the lungs)
- Aureobasidium: Common outdoor mold, commonly found on paper, lumber, and painted surfaces
- Helminthosporum: More commonly found in warmer climates
- Epicoccum: Found in grassland and agricultural areas
- Smuts: Abundantly found in areas of agriculture
- Cladosporium: The most common airborne outdoor mold
- Yeasts: Commonly found in the air during wet periods in agricultural areas.
Most spores can be allergens.
They induce an inflammatory process in susceptible people. The reaction is mediated by IgE, a protein that rapidly triggers the activation of immune cells.
How IgE Causes Allergies