Mold allergy symptoms can be defined as damaging immune responses by the body to mold and/or mold byproducts.
Molds are microscopic fungi characterized by having a body structure made up of thin branching thread-like filaments. Mold spores and fragments contain irritating substances called allergens that trigger allergy reactions.
Some also produce toxic substances called mycotoxins that are well documented for their health effects. Individuals who are most likely to show mold allergy symptoms are people who are sensitive to molds. Mold exposure primarily occurs when people inhale airborne mold spores and/or fragments. Exposure may also occur through skin contact.
Mold allergy symptoms may be difficult to isolate from allergies caused by other allergens such as pollen, insect parts, animal hair and chemicals.
Mold allergy symptoms may show up immediately or after a period of time following mold exposure. Both dead and viable spores may lead to allergic reactions. That’s killing mold with chemicals without removing it is not recommended. Common symptoms include sneezing, runny nose, coughing, wheezing, tearing and redness of the eyes, and skin irritation or rash. Mold exposure can also exacerbate asthma attacks in people who have a history of asthma and are allergic to mold.
There are hundreds of types of molds but not all of them are responsible for causing allergy symptoms. The common mold spore types known to cause allergy and asthma in many parts of the world are Alternaria, Cladosporium, Aspergillus, Penicillium and Didymella.
Allergic reactions to each spore type may differ between individuals and the allergens vary in the severity of the allergic reaction they induce. For example, it has been observed that more people are allergic to Alternaria than Cladosporium even though the latter is much more common in the air. Alternaria also produces stronger positive reactions while Cladosporium tends to produce a milder allergic reaction.
However Cladosporium, and in particular Cladosporium herbarum, is often the major contributor to air-spora and due to its high concentrations is therefore a major cause of inhalant allergy and allergic asthma in humans. Didymella exitialis can trigger severe asthma and it cross-reacts with Alternaria. Didymella exitialis is common on cereal crops, particularly wheat and barley so the risk can increase around harvesting of these crops.
At Mold & Bacteria Consulting Laboratories we help individuals and organizations determine the level of airborne mold spores in homes or offices. If you or your employees are experiencing any mold allergy related symptoms get the air in your home or office tested today.
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