Mold is a common allergen, and mold allergy symptoms can be hard to distinguish from reactions to other environmental allergens. Not everyone is allergic to mold, but because there are so many species of mold, mold allergies are very common among people who have allergies.
It’s important to recognize the symptoms of a mold allergy because these symptoms are often a clue that you have mold growing somewhere in your home. If mold is in your home, you’ll need to locate it and remove it. Your allergy symptoms are just one of several consequences of having mold in your home.
An allergy is the response of your body’s immune system to a substance to which is has become hypersensitive. The substance is typically harmless, but your immune system has developed an abnormal response to it.
People can be allergic to lots of things: certain foods like nuts, eggs, or dairy, pet dander, chemicals in household products, metals like nickel, medicines like penicillin, or substances used to make beauty products. Common environmental allergens include pollen, dust mites, insect bites, and mold.
If you have an allergy and your body comes into contact with that substance, your immune system will mount what’s known as an allergic response, or an allergy attack.
The symptoms of an allergic response depend on the area of your body that is affected. A food allergy can trigger hives, swelling or the mouth or throat, or even anaphylaxis, a potentially deadly overreaction of the immune system. If your skin comes into contact with allergens via lotion or jewelry containing nickel, you might develop hives or eczema.
Mold allergy symptoms are usually due to inhaling airborne mold spores, similar to what happens if you breathe in dust or pollen. If you inhale these allergens, the immune response, or allergy symptoms, will take place in your nose, eyes, sinuses, throat, or lungs. You may experience sinus congestion, itchy eyes, sneezing, or coughing and wheezing.
Both cold viruses and airborne allergens can cause similar symptoms: sneezing, runny or stuffy nose, sore throat, coughing, wheezing, or itchy, watery eyes. If you have a cold, you may also feel tired or run a low fever. The symptoms will usually resolve in about a week.
But if these symptoms are due to environmental or other allergies such as mold, the symptoms will last as long as you are exposed to the allergen. That’s why you need to find the source of the mold and get rid of it in order to get relief from your mold allergy symptoms. While other environmental allergies may be worse when you’re outside, such as pollen allergies, if your allergy symptoms flare up when you’re inside your home, mold may be the culprit.
For short-term relief from your mold allergy, you may find it helpful to take an allergy medication. Medications work to temporarily stop your body’s immune response to the allergen (in this case, mold spores). Your doctor can help you determine the best type and appropriate dosage of allergy medication. Some common types of medications include:
These medications offer relief, but they won’t get rid of the cause of your mold allergy symptoms, which is the mold itself.
If your home has experienced water damage due to leaky pipes, flooding, or broken appliances, or if you have a wet basement, or if your bathrooms don’t have adequate ventilation from shower steam, you probably have mold growing in your home. Mold grows quickly on any number of surfaces including walls and floors, sheetrock or drywall, ceiling tiles, studs, trusses and beams, carpet, furniture, and personal belongings. You will need to identify the source of the mold and work quickly to get rid of it in order to get long-term relief from your mold allergy.
Some molds grow outdoors, such as in leaf piles or rotting trees. If you know you have a mold allergy and will be working outdoors and may be exposed to mold, it may be helpful to use antihistamines or decongestants as well as wear a mask to avoid inhaling mold spores.
We do not recommend that you attempt to deal with mold growing in your home if you have a mold allergy. During the course of clean up, you could inhale more mold spores, which will exacerbate your mold allergy symptoms.
We recommend that you contact a mold remediation specialist who can get rid of the mold and perform any needed repair work to your home. By using a professional to address the mold in your home, you can feel confident that the mold will be safely removed. By properly and completely removing the mold, you will likely start to experience immediate relief from your mold allergy symptoms.
If you suspect you have a mold problem, you can get immediate, 24-hour assistance by calling 877-960-0491. You will speak with a local, experienced professional that can answer your questions, and will give you a free home inspection for mold. If mold is found, they will give you a written estimate for professional removal.