Mold is basically a fungus that produces spores rather than seeds. It is important to note that these spores float in the air similar to pollen. Once an individual with mold allergy inhales the spores, he/she will end up with the allergy symptoms. There are different types of mold where some can be seen while others cannot be seen by the naked eye.
There are varieties of outdoor mold that thrive on fallen leaves and rotting logs, grasses, compost piles and grains. Unlike with pollen, mold do not die with the first frost in late fall or early winter. They simply stop growing at this period. Once spring arrives, they grow on plants that were killed by the cold.
Mold that grows indoor typically thrive in areas where there is moisture such as the bathroom, kitchen and basement.
Who are at risk for mold allergy?
Individuals who have parents or siblings who have allergies to pollen, mold and animal dander are more likely to end up with mold allergy.
Symptoms of mold allergy
The symptoms of mold allergy are similar to other allergies. The usual symptoms include runny or stuffed nose, sneezing, hives, itchy throat or in the inner ear, itchy eyes, swollen eyelids, wheezing, coughing and difficulty breathing.
Diagnosing mold allergy
The doctor will review the medical history of the individual, ask questions about the symptoms and allergens and perform skin or blood testing.
If a skin test is performed, a small amount of the potential allergen is introduced or scratched into the skin. If the individual is sensitive to the allergen, a small-sized red bump will appear on the skin.
Remember that it is also helpful if the individual will keep a record of the symptoms for at least 2 weeks before consulting a doctor about a possible mold allergy. You can utilize this list as a guide.
- Allergy symptoms (time and date)
- How long the symptoms lasted
- Activity or foods eaten
- Medications taken including over-the-counter ones used to relieve the symptoms
- How long after the symptoms manifested before taking the medications
- Effects of the medications taken
Management of mold allergy
There are various measures in order to prevent the manifestation of the symptoms of mold allergy or to minimize the risk.
- Avoid or limit exposure with mold. It is recommended to stay away from basements that might be ridden with mold as well as steer clear of straw and hay. If the individual could not avoid these, he/she should wear a dust mask that is readily available in hardware stores.
- Take medication to relieve the symptoms. In most cases, the doctor will prescribe medications such as decongestants, antihistamines, eye drops or nasal sprays.
Controlling the amount of mold
- Always clean garbage cans often.
- Clean the refrigerator door gaskets and drip pans
- Both kitchen and bathroom sinks must be scrubbed at least once a month
Maintaining dryness in the house
- Open the window or install an exhaust fan in the bathroom to eliminate moisture
- Utilize a dehumidifier to keep the house dry
- Water leaks should be fixed to prevent growth of mold