What Are Microbial Volatile Organic Compounds
Another source of irritation from mold exposure comes from substances knownas microbial volatile organic compounds . These compounds are producedthrough fungal metabolism and are released directly into the air, often givingoff strong or unpleasant odors. Exposure to mVOCs from molds can irritate theeyes and respiratory system and has been linked to symptoms such as headaches,dizziness, fatigue, nasal irritation and nausea. The effects of mVOCs are notcompletely understood and research is still in the early stages.
What Are The Symptoms Of A Mold Allergy
The symptoms of mold allergy are very similar to the symptoms of other allergies, such as sneezing, itching, runny nose, congestion and dry, scaling skin.
- Outdoor molds may cause allergy symptoms in summer and fall
- Indoor molds may cause allergy symptoms year-round
Mold spores get into your nose and cause hay fever symptoms. They also can reach the lungs and trigger asthma. A chemical released by allergy cells in the nose and or lungs causes the symptoms. Sometimes the reaction happens right away. Sometimes a mold allergy can cause delayed symptoms, leading to nasal congestion or worsening asthma over time. Symptoms often get worse in a damp or moldy room like a basement. This may mean you have a mold allergy.
Rarely, some patients can have a more serious illness called allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis. In this condition, there is both an allergic and an inflammatory response to the mold. Symptoms may include severe wheezing, coughing and shortness of breath, much like asthma.
Can Allergies Cause Headaches
If youre having miserable hay fever symptoms and your head also hurts, its plausible to assume you could have an allergy headache. After all, a drippy nose, sneezing fits, and itchy eyes are stressful enough to give anyone a headache.
But are allergies really to blame for your headache? Since headaches happen for all sorts of reasons, it can be tough to know whether your pain is necessarily due to a particularly nasty ragweed season or something else.
Whatever the cause, you just want to do whatever it takes to feel better fast so you can get on with your day.
Heres what you need to know about allergies and headaches and how to get rid of them.
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Allergens That Can Cause Migraines
Allergy sufferers have lots to deal with already. Rashes, nausea and breathing trouble are just some of the unpleasant side effects of allergies. Now, it seems you can add causing migraines to the list of possible side effects. A study conducted in 2013 found that allergy sufferers were 33% more likely to suffer from frequent migraines.
If youre one of the unfortunate group that suffers from both allergies and migraines, here’s why this is believed to happen, and what you can do for some relief.
What Are Common Allergy Headache Symptoms
An allergy headache can cause localized pain in the areas where the sinus cavities are. You may feel pain around the nose, in the cheeks, or above the eyes. Sometimes, the pain may spread to your jaw and make you feel like you have a toothache.
In the case of an allergy associated with migraine, the pain may feel like a throbbing sensation on the head. In many cases, the pain is only on one side of the head or in the bottom of the eyes. Some people do feel pain on both sides, though.
A migraine also often comes with nausea and may also worsen when exposed to sunlight or bright lights.
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How Can I Be Exposed To Mold
People are exposed to molds every day, usually by touching or breathingthem. Because molds naturally exist outdoors and indoors, living in a totallymold-free environment is practically impossible. As molds grow, spores can bereleased into the air where they can be easily inhaled. People who inhale largenumbers of spores may get sick. Possible health concerns are an importantreason to prevent mold growth and to clean up molds in indoor environments.
Vertigo From Indoor Mold Exposure
Exposure to mold in the home can lead to vertigo, a feeling of lightheadedness or dizziness. It might feel as if the room is spinning around you or you might feel as if your body is spinning. You may also have a headache and feel nauseous or throw up. You may begin to sweat and may experience ringing in the ears or even have trouble hearing. You may feel as if you are going to faint. The feeling may last for only a few minutes or it may last for several hours or even longer.
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How Can You Prevent Or Remove Mold Inside Of Your Home
Image courtesy of Pixabay
To prevent mold in your home, you need to prevent moisture. Mold grows on damp surfaces, often where there is inadequate light.7Thats why basements, attics, and unventilated bathrooms are prime locations for mold to flourish. If you have any type of plumbing leak or a leak in your roof, then you might also be experiencing mold in the ceilings, in the walls, or in other hidden areas of the home. Be aware of any leaks or moisture buildup and get these issues taken care of promptly.
If you have an area that tends to be humid, an air purifier can help keep the air free from mold spores.8Note that if there is already mold growth, that needs to be removed first. A dehumidifier is another good choice if you are looking for a machine to help reduce the mold in your home.
Once you have found mold, particularly if you or someone in your home is experiencing headaches, respiratory issues, or any other symptoms of mold exposure, its best to consult with a mitigation specialist. There are ways to remove some types of mold yourself, but unless you know that your mold is non-toxic, its best not to try, as doing it incorrectly can spread the spores throughout the home. A mold remediation specialist will know how to not only remove the mold but also prevent it from spreading to other rooms while its being removed.
People With Migraine Are More Likely To Have Allergies
Migraine and allergies are both very common conditions, and its not at all unusual for people to have both, according to Katherine Hamilton, MD, an assistant professor of clinical neurology and a headache specialist at Penn Medicine in Philadelphia.
Its also been shown in studies that people with migraine are more likely to have allergies, and people with allergies are more likely to have migraine, though we don’t understand exactly why that link exists. It may potentially be related to genetic factors, says Dr. Hamilton.
A study published in the Pakistan Journal of Medical Sciences found that migraine frequency in people with allergic rhinitis was four times higher than in those without allergic rhinitis. Of those with migraine, 95 percent experienced migraine without aura and 5 percent had migraine with aura.
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Can Mold Cause Headaches
How frequently do you get headaches? Are they a rare inconvenience that you sometimes contend with when youve spent too much time staring at your computer screen? Or are they a frequent issue that just seems to act up with little rhyme or reason?
At RealTime Laboratories, one question we sometimes get from clients is, Can mold cause headaches? The short answer is yes, headaches are a known symptom of toxic mold exposureincluding exposure to stachybotrys chartarum, or black mold. Of course, the longer answer is a little more complicatedbut its a lot more educational, to!
Managing Your Seasonal Allergies
One of the most important things someone suffering from allergies can do is to identify the triggers. While some people seem to blame one trigger, it is possible that there are actually multiple triggers. It is not uncommon for those who suffer from spring allergies to show symptoms throughout the year. Some ways to avoid triggers include:
- Shower after being outdoors.
- Monitor pollen and mold counts, which are available on TV or in the news.
- Stay inside during peak pollen counts, which is the middle of the day of the afternoon.
- Wear a filter mask when working outdoors.
- Take preventive medication.
You can take other precautions as well, such as bathing and shampooing your hair each day to completely remove the pollen from your hair and skin. You should also wash your bedding in hot soapy water at least once a week.
You may need to wear sunglasses outdoors to protect your eyes from pollen. Those with severe allergies might find that a facemask is helpful during times when daily pollen counts are very high. It is also important to avoid line drying your bedding or clothes outdoors if the local pollen counts are high, as pollen can settle on these items.
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Even If You Have Allergies Frequent Headaches May Indicate Migraine
Hamilton suggests talking with your primary care doctor if youre having frequent headaches with allergy symptoms. That might mean that your allergies are actually triggering migraines or contributing, she says.
In that situation it might be useful to try migraine medications both as-needed, or abortive, medications and potentially preventive medications, she adds.
If it is a migraine, treating the attack with typically wont be as effective as a targeted migraine treatment, says Strauss.
A good rule of thumb is that if youre not getting complete relief of your headaches from over-the-counter medications, or if the headaches are becoming more frequent or frequent enough that you’re having to take an over-the-counter medication several times a week, you should definitely seek a doctors care, says Hamilton.
How Does Mold Cause Headaches
Although scientists agree that there is a correlation between mold and headaches, there is still some controversy regarding the exact mechanism by which that correlation works. To understand how mold achieves its negative health effects, it is important to know exactly what it is.
As you may know, mold is a species of fungus that can be found everywhere around us. It thrives in moist and warm environments, so youll often notice it in your bathroom, kitchen, or basement.
Mold usually grows on open surfaces, including walls, wood, and wallpaper. When it gets in direct contact with water, it spreads and reproduces by creating the so-called mold spores. These spores are sometimes released into the air, making them very easy to inhale. While they are fairly harmless in small amounts, exposure to large amounts of mold spores can trigger a strong allergic reaction.
The symptoms resemble those of other allergies, including coughing, sneezing, mucus, runny nose, itching, and dry skin. Because they affect your respiratory tract including the sinuses most allergies can also cause headaches that can last for days on end. For this reason, most scientists believe that mold-related headaches are a symptom of mold allergies.
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Are You Ready For Fall Allergy Season
If you are a fall allergy sufferer, taking allergy medications prior to peak season can prevent the inflammation that causes your symptoms. By pre-treating, you may lessen the effects of seasonal allergic rhinitis which can include sneezing, running nose, nasal congestion, headaches, itchy/irritated eyes, and scratchy throat. Fall pollens and molds can also aggravate asthma symptoms like coughing and wheezing.
Speak with your Atlanta Allergy & Asthma physician about a management program, including which medications and when to begin treatment for your specific allergic triggers.
How Can I Treat Mold & Mildew Allergies
Visit your healthcare provider or an ear, nose, and throat physician if you notice any of the above symptoms of a mildew allergy. Your doctor can work with you to develop a personalized allergy treatment plan that helps alleviate your symptoms. Some of the possible treatments for mold exposure include the following:
- Corticosteroid nasal sprays to eliminate inflammation
- Mold allergy shots to reduce the bodys reaction to the allergen
- Saline nasal rinses to clear your nasal passageway of allergens
- Antihistamines to reduce itchiness, running nose, and sneezing
Additionally, the following preventative measures can be taken to avoid mold and mildew exposure:
- Ensure your bathroom has proper airflow and ventilation
- Change your air filters as needed
- Do not place carpeting in bathrooms and basements
- Use an air conditioner
- Consider installing a high-efficiency particulate air filtration system
- Clean any areas that are damp
- Use a dehumidifier as needed
- Use proper outdoor drainage to move water away from your home
If you are suffering from mold and mildew reactions, the first step is to consult with a sleep health expert. Ear, nose, and throat specialists at eos sleep have extensive experience in treating ear, nose, and throat conditions as well as sleep-related problems. Call today or fill out the form on this page to schedule an appointment or to learn more about eos sleep treatment options.
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Watery Or Irritated Eyes
When allergens are present, the body releases histamines as part of its immune response. This histamine release is what causes the eyes to water excessively when exposed to toxins from mold.
This reaction from histamine may be the bodys way of flushing out allergens and toxins. It can serve as a warning to you that your environment may contain dangerous black mold.
Can Seasonal Allergies Cause Stomach Upset
My wife often starts a few young seedlings of spinach, lettuce, and tomatoes in a sunny window before they go outside for the spring.
Recently, when we had a few baby plants in the house, I started having headaches and stomach upset and couldn’t find a cause until I spotted a few little sprouts of pollen that had shot up from the baby spinach.
Once the offending plant was moved outside, my symptoms went away.
As a functional medicine doctor, I am used to seeing new patients who have been misdiagnosed for years due to symptoms that don’t quite fit the mold of a standard diagnosis.
There are, no doubt, many people unnecessarily suffering because of a misunderstanding of how we think of certain conditions.
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Hidden Dangers Of Toxic Mold Exposure That You Must Know
Mold accumulates in damp as well as poorly ventilated buildings. Along with the visible mold, there may an unpleasant odor, water stains, condensation, peeling or cracked paint or wall paper, a damp basement, and standing water under or around the house.
According to the World Health Organization , 15 percent of dwellings in cold climates have signs of dampness and 5 percent have signs of mold problems. The figures in warm climates are 20 percent for dampness and 25 percent for mold.
This issue is more common in low-income communities and rental accommodations, often due to lack of appropriate heating, ventilation and insulation. Plus, global warming and its effect on the climate can increase the problem of mold and dampness even more.
Mold is harmful and toxic due to the mycotoxins, which may contribute to several health problems. More than 50 molds are considered problematic, including stachybotrys, cladosporium, alternaria and trichoderma.
Exposure to mold inside a home can have profound effects on your health through skin contact, ingestion and inhalation. After all, you spend several hours a day at home. Plus, children and elderly people with weak immunities spend most of their time indoors.
Here are the top 10 hidden dangers of toxic mold exposure that you must know.
Histamine Can Cause Stomach Upset
When histamine is released in the gastrointestinal tract, it can cause symptoms like stomach pain, bloating, nausea, diarrhea, and constipation.
Underlying conditions and imbalances can also cause too much histamine to be released.
What is referred to as histamine intolerance or histamine sensitivity is usually a combination of a few underlying factors .
In a case of histamine intolerance, an individual can become sensitized to histamine-containing foods, histamine-releasing foods, as well as classic environmental allergens.
A common treatment for histamine intolerance is to be on a special diet and take supplemental medication – but those with histamine intolerance will only have moderate success without personalized treatment to address the underlying cause.
Read more about Histamine Intolerance
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What Does An Allergy Headache Feel Like
When you experience a headache caused by allergies, you may feel them in any of these spaces within your sinuses. It may even feel like your face, rather than your head, is what really hurts. You may have pain in the cheeks that radiates to your jaw and teeth. You may feel pain on the top of your head.
Allergies may also trigger a migraine headache. This type of headache may include throbbing, and is usually felt on one side of the head. You may find that the pain gets worse in sunlight or that you also feel nauseated.
The skull has a series of connected, hollow spaces known as sinuses, which are lined with soft tissue and a layer of mucus. These sinuses help humidify and filter the air you breathe, and help drain the nose. Allergy symptoms often appear in the sinuses, like when your nose is running or stuffed up.
Some of the spaces that make up the sinuses are found in the:
- Between or behind the eyes
- Behind the nose
You may experience headaches and pain if your sinuses are swollen or their openings are obstructed. This often happens with allergies. Swelling and blockage in the sinuses can prevent normal drainage and airflow, causing a buildup of pressure. Other allergy triggers, such as smoke or certain foods, can lead to headaches.
The degree of pain from an allergy headache can vary widely, from dull to almost debilitating. The level of pain may also change with your position, such as whether you are standing or lying down.