Mold Allergy 101

Aaaahhh mold allergy... such a sneaky one... and a dangerous one at that! 

Mold can be VERY hazardous to our health in general, even causing cancer. If you're allergic, you need to be extra careful.

So, what IS mold, exactly?

Mold is fungi that lives both indoors and outdoors. As opposed to making seeds like your typical plant, it sends tiny little spores into the air.

There are thousands of various types of mold, with names that sound like they belong to intergalactic goddesses. For example: Cladosporium and Alternaria... far less fabulous than it sounds.

When people with a mold allergy breathe in those spores, a whole host of allergy symptoms can arise as our bodies fight themselves:

  • Itchy / watery / swollen eyes
  • sneezing
  • stuffy nose
  • runny nose
  • hives
  • itchy throat
  • itchy ears
  • coughing / wheezing
  • tight chest

There's not much we can do about outdoor mold other than being aware. Obviously, if you're hiking through the woods and are extremely sensitive to mold... it may not be a good idea for you. Check the outdoor mold forecast before you go and pop an antihistamine beforehand, if possible. The Weather Channel has a great app that tracks outdoor allergens, including mold ;-)

However, inside our home is a different story because we have more control. Here are several things you can do to keep mold at bay inside your home:

  • clean, clean clean
  • get rid of any wall to wall carpeting, if possible
  • if your carpet is old, have it cleaned it professionally
  • run a dehumidifier
  • run an air conditioner
  • improve the airflow throughout your home with fans
  • fix any leaks a.s.a.p.
  • make sure you have proper ventilation (exhaust fan or window) in rooms that tend to be damp such as the basement or bathroom
  • keep out of the basement 
  • keep your garbage can clean by rinsing it regularly or hosing it down
  • clean bathrooms and surfaces with mold killing products (sprays, bleach/water)
  • wipe out refrigerator and clean drip pans
  • purchase a HEPA filter for your central or portable air filter
  • make sure the ground slopes away from your home, allowing proper drainage
  • if you can't do any of this stuff, wear a face mask

Have you ever had any nasty run-ins with mold?

Got any tips?

 

sources: AAFA, ACAAI, Mayo Clinic, Encylopaedia Brittanica, CDC