About Mold Allergy: Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention
Mold allergies are incredibly common, affecting one in five people worldwide. While mold is all around us, there are measures you can take to protect yourself. If you're concerned about mold's effects on your health and well-being, learn more about what a mold allergy looks like, how you can treat it, and methods for keeping it out of your life.
This guide will walk you through all the details surrounding mold and how it can affect your health, especially indoors.
What Is an Allergy to Mold?
Since mold is a type of fungus, it has a unique way of reproducing compared to plants or animals. The mold source will release spores - similar to seeds - into the air to reproduce. Some spores can be activated when the mold is agitated by the wind, while others are released when humidity is high.
When a person with a mold allergy comes in contact with these spores, their body sees them as a threat. The body will send histamines to combat the threat, causing common mold allergy symptoms./p>
Types of Mold That Cause Allergies
Some molds are less disruptive to your daily life than others. There are a few specific types that are likely responsible when you have an allergic reaction to mold:
Inhaling the spores from these mold varieties can cause allergic reactions in those sensitive to them. Even with so many different types of mold in the world, it's possible to be affected by only one type. These fungi can grow indoors and outdoors, so it's vital to be vigilant about your surroundings to reduce your allergy symptoms.
What Are the Risk Factors of Mold Allergy?
Mold is more active in warmer months, so those allergic to it will likely experience more pronounced symptoms in summer to early fall. Mold can also be more of a problem for those with compromised immune systems, older adults, and those with respiratory issues.
You're more likely to experience mold allergies if your family has a medical history of allergies. However, you can also develop an allergy over time if you're exposed long enough.
Buildings without proper ventilation or with high humidity can affect a person's well-being - especially if they spend a lot of time there. You can usually find mold in any building where you find moisture. Roofs, windows, pipes, and other spots with standing water are the perfect areas to harbor mold growth.
Mold can grow easily on paper and wood products, but it's adaptable to virtually everything in the home, from wallpaper to insulation. Certain occupations could cause you to be exposed to mold more than others. But as long as the right conditions are met, mold can grow exponentially and cause problems in any building.
Symptoms of an Allergy to Mold
Mold spores will often cause rhinitis, also known as hay fever. These symptoms can sometimes mimic the common cold but can also cause respiratory issues and trigger asthma. You may be experiencing an allergy to mold if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Excessive mucus in the throat
- Itchy nose, eyes, or throat
- Asthma symptoms such as chest tightness, wheezing, or shortness of breath
This list is not exhaustive, so it's always a good idea to discuss what you're experiencing with a health professional to better understand the source of the problem.
Those who struggle with asthma or asthma-like symptoms when exposed to mold may experience more intense symptoms. In contrast, you can still notice irritation in your sinuses or respiratory system even if you don't have an allergy to mold.
Regardless of your situation, it's best to mitigate mold exposure in any way possible to ensure you stay comfortable and healthy.
Diagnosis of Mold Allergy
If you think you're experiencing negative mold health effects, you should talk to your doctor about getting a diagnosis for a mold allergy. Your doctor will typically gather information about your medical history and do a physical exam to help rule out any alternatives.
If they still think there's a potential for a mold allergy, the doctor will then call for an allergy test. They will use the test results to determine whether you have a diagnosable mold allergy.
What Can You Do if You're Exposed to Mold?
If you think mold exposure is causing symptoms that interfere with your life, know that there's not necessarily a cure for this allergy. Still, there are multiple ways to find relief from irritating allergies so you can feel better faster.
Antihistamines are a common mold allergy treatment. This medication blocks your body's natural defense response to mold. While this sounds like a bad thing, histamines are an inflammatory chemical that causes you to have an allergic reaction. Blocking the histamines means you'll experience less discomfort overall.
You can purchase many antihistamines over the counter, but you should consult a licensed medical professional before starting any medications.
Take Oral Decongestants
Some people's allergies manifest differently, requiring different approaches to help them find relief. You can also find oral decongestants over the counter. However, many of these come with their own side effects, so be wary of that before you buy; some may trade one symptom for another, so they aren't as beneficial.
Remove the Mold
This tip is the most permanent solution, but it can be challenging to fight against stubborn mold by yourself in your home or business. Professional mold treatment services are the only surefire way to keep mold out of your space.
Why Do You Need to Use Professional Mold Treatment Services?
Prolonged mold exposure isn't healthy for anyone. It causes immense discomfort for many, even those who don't typically experience mold allergies. Professional mold treatment is the best option for homeowners who struggle with mold or mildew growths that won't go away.
Mold treatment is the fastest and most reliable way to rid your home or business of any mold. Having this service done by a professional ensures that all the mold is truly removed and the area is properly sanitized.
This mold treatment also helps correct any underlying moisture problem, creating a better foundation so the mold is discouraged from growing there again. The dual cleaning and treatment method is extra insurance for your home to stay healthy.
Prevention of Allergic Reaction to Mold
Prevention is key to consistent, long-term protection. Here are some ways you can limit your contact with mold and reduce its effects on your health:
- Keep basements dry with a dehumidifier
- Ventilate rooms like the bathroom, kitchen, or laundry area
- Dry out any wet spots as soon as possible
- Fix any leaks in the roof, walls, or pipes
- Call for mold remediation to get a clean slate in your home
If you're stuck in a home with mold, a fast fix is to increase the airflow. Opening up windows can help some of the spores escape, but this can be a double-edged sword if there's mold outside.
Protect Yourself Against Mold Allergies with the Help of Mold Act
If you're suffering from mold in silence, we encourage you to take action. Mold Act offers comprehensive mold treatment services that involve removing current mold outbreaks and preventing future ones. Our technicians are standing by, ready to jump in and make your space happier and healthier.
Get in touch with Mold Act today to learn more and schedule a consultation with one of our mold specialists!
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