What You Need to Know About Mold Allergies

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Mold spores, the main cause of mold allergy are present in the air year-round, particularly indoors in damp areas like basements, washrooms, bathrooms and garages. Mold spores are tiny particles that can easily evade the natural protective mechanisms of our nose and upper respiratory tract.

The spores attach themselves to the lining of our nose, which then causes the various allergy symptoms. Mold spores are usually not a problem indoors, unless there is actively mold growth on wet or damp spots resulting in elevated levels of airborne spores.

Mold allergy symptoms

Spores can trigger asthma and allergic reactions in sensitive people, particularly, in children. Since mold spores are found everywhere, mold allergies sometimes outnumber pollen allergies.

Exposure to mold is incredibly common, though many people mistake it for pollen or other allergies. Mold allergy can affect people of all ages. Apart from inhaling spores, mold allergy can also be triggered by eating foods that contain mold and yeast. Mold allergy can also result in rashes and hives.

Mold allergy can be chronic or temporary, and it can range from minor irritation to severe health risk. Mold allergy may cause symptoms all year round but it is typically most severe during warm, wet weather and from mid to late summer.

Mold allergy spores can cause a condition known as allergic rhinitis, which is the result of inflammation of the nasal passages. Mold allergy affects men, women and children. However, children, the elderly and those with other medical complications are affected most.

Mold allergy can have incredibly long lasting symptoms. Mold allergies cannot be cured, but symptoms can be controlled with medications.

Sources of mold spores

Mold spores can be found in carpets, around the foundation of the house and outdoors among trees and plant life. They are released as part of the mold reproductive cycle. Mold spores are ubiquitous in both indoor and outdoor environments.

Testing for mold allergy

One of the most common ways of testing for an allergy to mold spores is through a skin prick test. With this test, a small amount of mold spore is put on the patient’s skin and is then given access to the area just under the skin via a skin prick.

Mold & Bacteria Consulting Laboratories test the air for mold spores. The test involves enumeration and identification of airborne spores and the results reported as spore per cubic meter of air. While there are no permissible levels of mold spores established, significantly high count of mold spores suggests the occupants could be at risk of mold exposure.

Prevention of mold allergy

Everyone should do what they can to minimize their exposure to mold spores in their homes. If you have a mold problem you need to consider mold removal or mold remediation to make sure that the mold is completely removed from the home and no longer poses health risks.

It is impossible to get rid of all mold and mold spores indoors; some mold spores will be found floating through the air and in house dust. Moisture problems, if any, should be corrected in order to control mold growth.

If you have questions about this article or need additional information about MBL’s mold testing in Toronto, Vancouver or North America in general contact us today.

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Dr Jackson Kung'u
Dr. Jackson Kung’u is a Microbiologist who has specialized in the field of mycology (the study of moulds and yeasts). He is a member of the Mycological Society of America. He graduated from the University of Kent at Canterbury, UK, with a Masters degree in Fungal Technology and a PhD in Microbiology. He has published several research papers in international scientific journals. Jackson has analyzed thousands of mould samples from across Canada. He also regularly teaches a course on how to recognize mould, perform effective sampling and interpret laboratory results. Jackson provides how-to advice on mould and bacteria issues. Get more information about indoor mould and bacteria at www.drjacksonkungu.com.
Dr Jackson Kung'u

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