INTRODUCTION TO MOLD ALLERGY SYMPTOMS
You are likely suffering from mold allergy symptoms if your allergies worsen when it rains. Mold allergies are not fatal but they affect one’s ability to lead a productive life.
Mold is a microorganism, precisely a fungus that grows with moisture and can be found both indoors and outdoors. The main allergen in mold is the mold spore which is air borne and can thereafter find its way to the nose thereby triggering an allergic reaction. It has been implicated in allergies and asthma.
Mold spores continually float in the air and can trigger reactions. The problem gets serious when these molds get attached to wet surface and begin to grow. One could have mold growing in the house without their knowledge and this could be from:
- An unknown roof leakage or plumbing
- Moisture accumulation in a basement
- A damp floor with a carpet for a covering
Molds grow all year round and not just seasonally and it is for this reason that their allergies also aren’t seasonal. Even though those who are allergic to mold experience more symptoms during midsummer and early fall, they can have the symptoms anytime as far as they have been exposed to mold spores especially if it rains a lot where they live.
SYMPTOMS OF MOLD ALLERGY
Mold allergy symptoms are similar to that from airborne allergies which are mainly histamine-mediated. These symptoms include:
- Teary and itchy eyes
- Post nasal drip
At first, mold allergy symptoms may be mistaken for a cold or an infection of a sinus as the symptoms are similar.
If you have asthma alongside the allergies, the asthma symptoms may worsen when you get exposed to a mold. Asthma symptoms include the following:
- Chest tightness
- Difficulty in breathing
Wheezing may further occur and other symptoms of asthma.
MOLD ALLERGY SYMPTOMS IN CHILDREN
It is possible for a child to be the only one sensitive to mold even when other family members are not. This will happen if the child is the only one in the family with histamine-related symptoms of allergy.
Another possibility is that the mold the child is allergic to is from another source such as:
- School buildings that the molds there have not been checked and so the students have more attacks while at school
- The play sites of children may be mold infested and parents do not tread this path thus the source is from outdoor air. Children who have asthma usually get frequent attacks while playing outside in this kind of environment
- Symptoms may be noticed in summer months more because children tend to play more outside this period
CAN MOLD BE TOXIC?
Many people believe mold to cause problems, even permanent ones, at times. The reality is that one would be unable to inhale enough quantity of mold to cause that amount of damage.
You may never experience a reaction if you have no sensitivity to mold. Also, the mold that is linked with asthma is mostly found outdoors and not indoors thus a small leak in a window is not enough to make you develop asthma.
Outdoor mold cannot by itself cause asthma but it rather serves as a trigger for asthma in those who already have it.
Hypersensitivity pneumonitis is a condition that is linked to persistent mold inhalation. It is a very severe but rare condition.
It is a condition that can form over time in people who are sensitive to airborne mold spores. A very common type of this condition is the farmer’s lung, a severe allergic reaction to mold that is found in crop products and hay.
This farmers lungs is mostly undiagnosed and can lead to permanent damage that occurs in the form of scar tissue on the lungs. This scarring is also known as fibrosis and it can get worse to the extent where the person begins to experience difficulty in breathing when carrying out simple activities.
As soon as farmers lungs advances, the symptoms will get very severe than just the regular histamine-mediated reactions. The symptoms these group of people may experience include:
- Shortness of breath
- Blood stained sputum
- Muscular pain
Those whose work place is around crop materials that may contain mold should be on the watch for these histamine-mediated reactions and also get treatment if they think that farmer’s lungs may be developing.
In as much as exposure to mold may not be life-threatening, frequent exposures can worsen the symptoms.
Mold allergy symptoms are progressive and with time, the attacks can get severe.
It is essential to prevent moisture from accumulating by repairing leaks or putting a stop to any possible leaks.
Keep your kitchen clean, regularly wash the garbage cans as these can help to prevent a build-up of mold in the house. Also, using a humidifier in the home can be helpful.
Putting on a facemask while working in areas where outdoor mold may be present will help lessen the amount of allergen one is exposed to. Masks that shield the respiratory system from being affected by the spores of mold exposure are available.
The treatment medications or modalities that are available for the management of mold allergies include intranasal steroids such as Flonase, antihistamine such as Claritin, rinsing the nostrils with a saline solution such as SinuCleanse.