A mold allergy happens when a person breathes in varied spores of mold and their immune system reacts, triggering varied reactions. In fact, such allergies are more than likely to occur if the weather has been damp or wet and things have not dried out. It is also possible to breathe in mold spores when growing plants inside, especially if the plants are over-watered and mold begins to grow on the surface. This not only kills the plants eventually, but can cause pneumonia in some people.
Mold Allergy Symptoms
Not everyone reacts to mold in the same way, but studies have shown that it is harmful and can make people sick. It can cause coughing, itchy eyes, a stuffy or runny nose, a dripping nose, an itchy nose/throat and sneezing. At the very worst, those with mold allergies can get severe reactions, including chest tightness, shortness of their breath and wheezing. In fact, assessing mold levels in a home is important because even though some people may not develop a mold allergy, they may in fact develop asthma. Therefore the best remedy is to reduce, if not eliminate mold from living and work environments.
When Mold Allergies Need Medical Attention
Generally, getting rid of mold and avoiding exposure usually helps to deal with mold allergies, though sometimes antihistamines help alleviate symptoms. However, if this does not help, it is time to get a doctor involved, especially if the symptoms last for a long time and become bothersome. As with any allergy, mold allergies are triggered by contact with an allergen, but in this case, patients inhale airborne spores and the body reacts with antibody production and the release of histamines. A doctor can determine what type of mold is causing the problem and might get the sufferer to have their home assessed for spore levels or hidden areas of mold. In many cases, the molds are merely annoying and can be controlled by reducing the humidity levels, but if the mold is due to damp getting into the home, that is a different matter and special treatments such as spraying and removal of mold-ridden parts of the home might be called for.
Determining if it is a Mold Allergy of Something Else
Because molds live both outside and inside, determining if a patient has a mold allergy or something else is important. Some molds can cause illnesses that can be misconstrued with a mold allergy. Certain types of molds can cause toxic type reactions, irritations and even infections. Though seeing a doctor to make the final determination is important, it is possible to gage the differences. Infections caused by molds can cause symptoms similar to the flu, and skin infections, as well as pneumonia. If it is an irritation that is caused, the symptoms are similar to a mold allergy, but will not get worse. As a mold allergy progresses, it will get worse, leading to headaches and hoarseness of the voice. Toxic reactions to mold are very different from standard mold allergies because they come from mycotoxins that are inhaled, drunk or eaten and can involve flu-symptoms, plus breathing problems. At the very worst, with a toxic reaction, a patient can feel extreme fatigue, an inability to concentrate for long, dizziness, nervousness and bad headaches. Anyone who has a toxic reaction must be given emergency medical care immediately.