Mold Allergy

What are molds and where are they found?
Molds are fungi whose spores are in the air. They can be found outside and inside the home in war,. darlin environments.

What symptoms do you experience if you are allergic to molds?
When someone is allergic to mold and is exposed to too much, the immune system reacts triggering symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, watery eyes, and itching. Asthma symptoms can also be triggered such as wheezing or shortness of breath.

How is one diagnosed with a mold allergy?
An allergist can determine this by taking a complete medical history and performing a physical examination. Skin testing to mold allergens are performed which gives accurate same day results. Alternaria, Aspergillus, Clasdosporium, and Penicillium are the most common molds that cause allergy symptoms.

How are mold allergies treated?
If you are found allergic to mild, the best treatment is avoidance. Your allergist may recommend medications such as antihistamines, nasal steroids, and leukotriene inhibitors. Patients can also receive immunotherapy or allergy shots for mold allergens.

What are the best tips for mold avoidance?
* Reduce the humidity level in your home to below 50% by using your air conditioner or a dehumidifier. Humidity gauges may be purchased at home improvement stores.

* Most surfaces can be cleaned using a 10% bleach solution that will kill mold and inhibit growth temporarily. There are some non-bleached formulas that may be purchased. A vinegar solution can also be used to clean off mold.

* Steam cleaning carpet is not recommended. Moisture may be trapped in the carpet padding and will create a haven for mold growth.

* Wear a mask when mowing the lawn, raking leaves, gardening, or working in damp basements.

* Stay indoors when mold counts are high. If you have been outdoors, wash your hair to reduce any mold spores that may be present.

* Fix leaking faucets and pipes to eliminate mold growth in the home.

* Is is recommended that you change your pillow once a year. Buy pillows that resist mold growth such as polyester filled pillows. Foam rubber pillows are not recommended.

* There are some foods that may cause increase allergy symptoms in those who are mold sensitive. Foods that may contain mold: cheese, beer, wine, mushrooms, canned tomato products, smoked meats, dried and canned fruits. You do not have to avoid these foods entirely. Avoid or eat them in moderation when you are having increase allergy symptoms.

Candace Cothran PA-C
Allergic Disease and Asthma Center

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