Tuesday, May 17, 2022

How Do You Know If You Are Allergic To Mold

How Do Molds Affect People

How to Know If You Have Allergies | Stephen Dreskin, MD, PhD, Allergy and Immunology | UCHealth

Exposure to damp and moldy environments may cause a variety of health effects, or none at all. Some people are sensitive to molds. For these people, exposure to molds can lead to symptoms such as stuffy nose, wheezing, and red or itchy eyes, or skin. Some people, such as those with allergies to molds or with asthma, may have more intense reactions. Severe reactions may occur among workers exposed to large amounts of molds in occupational settings, such as farmers working around moldy hay. Severe reactions may include fever and shortness of breath.

In 2004 the Institute of Medicine found there was sufficient evidence to link indoor exposure to mold with upper respiratory tract symptoms, cough, and wheeze in otherwise healthy people with asthma symptoms in people with asthma and with hypersensitivity pneumonitis in individuals susceptible to that immune-mediated condition.

In 2009, the World Health Organization issued additional guidance, the WHO Guidelines for Indoor Air Quality: Dampness and Mould pdf iconexternal icon pdf icon. Other recent studies have suggested a potential link of early mold exposure to development of asthma in some children, particularly among children who may be genetically susceptible to asthma development, and that selected interventions that improve housing conditions can reduce morbidity from asthma and respiratory allergies.

What Are Signs Of Mold In Your House

What are the signs of mold?

  • It has a musty, earthy smell.
  • Theres a nearby source of moisture, but not much light.
  • You see warping, cracking, or peeling of whatever material its growing on.
  • A drop of bleach lightens its color in a minute or two.
  • Unchecked, mold will continue to grow. Dirt and old stains wont.

When Are Mold Levels High

Mold spores are microscopic and cannot be seen except under a microscope. They can be found in soil, piles of cut grass and leaves, and decomposing wood. Because mold grows year-round, mold allergies are not as seasonal as other allergens. However, outdoor mold levels tend to be higher in the late spring through early fall when the weather is warm and moist. In southern climates like here in Georgia, mold spores are present year-round.

Inside, mold levels will increase due to moisture in the air and from leaks and standing water. More information on controlling mold in your home.

Read Also: Boat Seat Mold Remover

How Do Doctors Diagnose Mold Allergy

To diagnose an allergy to mold or fungi, the doctor will take a complete medical history. If they suspect a mold allergy, the doctor often will do skin tests or allergen specific IgE blood tests. Extracts of different types of fungi may be used to scratch or prick the skin. If there is no reaction, then you probably dont have an allergy. The doctor uses the patient’s medical history, the skin testing results and the physical exam to diagnose a mold allergy.

How Long Does It Take Mold To Make You Sick

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These spores proliferate quickly and can take hold in places with poor ventilation and high humidity in less than 24 hours. The problem starts when you inhale these spores. They produce toxic substances known as mycotoxins that can produce an immune response in some individuals and actually extremely toxic themselves.

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Make A Checklist Of Symptoms

It may be difficult for you to differentiate between an allergy and a cold because both come with similar symptoms. It that is the case, it would be best to write down the symptoms you are experiencing.

If you have a fever, green mucus, and body aches, then you most likely have a cold. However, if you have sneezing, watery eyes, clear mucus, and itchy eyes, ears, nose, or throat, you most likely have an allergy.

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My Allergy Test Was Eye Opening

It wasnt until my 30s that I finally got tested forallergies. I had experienced allergic symptoms most of my life, however, thesymptoms were mild and I ignored them.

Over time, my symptoms became worse and they began to affectmy quality of life.

I was always tired even though I slept 12 hours a day. I hadunexplained rashes, sinus congestion and my eyes constantly watered.

I know it seems obvious now, but I didnt realize how serious my allergies were. I never had a doctor that recommended me to an allergist. Eventually, I made an appointment on my own.

My allergist tested me for a spectrum of 100 environmental allergens. The test included pollen from grass, weeds, and trees, pets, dust mites, cockroaches, yeasts, and a bunch of molds. I had no idea there were so many things I could be allergic to.

Sure enough, the test came back positive for most of theallergens, including a number of different molds. My allergist talked to meabout the treatment options and gave me advice on how to protect myself.

I began to read about environmental allergens, includingmold. I wanted to know:

  • Where was mold found?
  • Was it an indoor or outdoor allergen?
  • How to reduce mold around my home?
  • How could I recognize mold?

Read Also: How To Remove Mold From Basement

To Find A Mold Remediation Professional

You can find qualified mold remediation professionals near you by following the link. They can find all the hidden mold in your home and remove it safely, without exposing you to further risk. They usually provide free consultations and home inspections, so you have nothing to lose, and even if you do end up deciding to handle the job yourself, you can get valuable information and advice from an experienced professional that will help you with your task.

Is Mold Worse In Winter What Can You Do

Mold Allergies
  • 4 min read

The chilly season is tough.Air pollution is worse in the winter, you have to worry aboutwinter allergies, andthe flu is making its rounds. Theres one more issue thats heightened in the winter: mold. Why is mold in winter worse than it is in the summer? Furthermore, what can you do about it?

Also Check: How To Clean Ceiling Mould

What Do We Know About Mold Sensitivity

The term mold sensitivity is broadly used to refer to any chronic non-allergic response to mold exposure. Mold sensitivity is not understood nearly as well as mold allergies because the condition is associated with an undefined range of symptoms that have no measurable cause. Some people report experiencing a wide array of symptoms that they believe to be caused by mold sensitivity. These symptoms include anxiety, cognitive issues, depression and insomnia, as well as different types of physical pain. Because mold sensitivity cannot be measured, there is no observable link between the condition and its associated symptoms.

Unfortunately, Western medicine has no answer for those who believe they are affected by mold sensitivity, also referred to as vulnerability to mold toxicity. Unlike mold allergies that can be diagnosed with a skin test or allergen-specific immunoglobulin blood test, there is no test that can diagnose this issue, and there is a lack of scientific research to back up information about the condition. The EPA states that mold-related symptoms other than allergic reactions and irritation by spores are not commonly reported.

Always Consult A Doctor

Be careful with a mushroom allergy, as it is something that can escalate quickly. Take into account this list of 7 facts to know and decide if you should get medical help. You can also try and find an allergy test to rule out any other allergens.

When you suspect you have a severe allergic reaction, call your emergency services as soon as possible. Avoid eating mushrooms altogether until you are sure you are not allergic to them.

A mushroom allergy sounds scary, but there are a lot of signs and facts to know before you decide whether you have one or not. If you suspect a mushroom allergy, it is best to always go to a doctor and confirm. However, there are things you should be aware of about mushroom allergies and intolerance.

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What Can Clinicians And Patients Expect From Ige Mold Testing

In general, clinical management of the patient with mold allergies involves medicines, allergy shots and/or supplements to manage symptoms, as well as cleaning and preventing further mold growth and exposure in the household. HEPA filters, exhaust fans, dehumidifiers, regular cleaning practices, and fixing water leaks may help to reduce the mold burden.1

Please visit our IgG, IgE, and Celiac Tests Prep page prior to ordering the test to learn about medications that may impact test results, length of exposure to antigens, pediatric testing, and diseases that may affect antibody levels.

References

  • Cox L, Williams B, Sicherer S, et al. Pearls and pitfalls of allergy diagnostic testing: Report from the American college of allergy, asthma and immunology/American academy of allergy, asthma and immunology specific IgE test task force. Annals of allergy, asthma & immunology: official publication of the American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology. 2009 101:580-92.
  • Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Mold Allergy. Accessed March 7, 2019.
  • Huang, S, et. al. Mold Allergy. Medscape. . Updated Sept 18, 2017. Accessed March 7, 2019.
  • Test Type: Blood Test

    How Do You Treat Mold Allergies

    Symptoms of Mold Exposure

    Youve figured it out by tracking your symptoms or even getting a testyoure allergic to mold. Now what?

    Mold is way more prevalent than you might think. In fact, out of the 21.8 million people who have asthma in the United States, experts estimate that about 4.6 million cases are because of mold exposure in the home.

    Dont admit defeat quite yet. There are a few things you can try to keep your mold allergy symptoms at bay.

    Recommended Reading: How To Prevent Mildew On Boat Seats

    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.

    Mold Exposure And Your Health

    Most people automatically assume mold exposure, especially black mold exposure, causes poor health. But thats not always the case, says Lahari Rampur, M.D., who practices at the Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Clinic at UW Medical Center.

    There are hundreds of types of mold that do not cause any symptoms at all, and not all mold is bad, she says.

    The symptoms of mold exposure, which appear like allergy symptoms , generally only occur if you have an allergy to mold. If you have an underlying condition that compromises your immune system, severe mold and fungal infections can occur. In rare cases, a type of mold hypersensitivity that causes lung disease can present with severe asthma-like symptoms, such as coughing, difficulty breathing and chest tightness, which are difficult to control with regular asthma medications, says Rampur.

    You can find out if you are allergic to molds by scheduling an allergy skin test with an allergist. In some cases, blood tests may be needed if there is a strong suspicion you have a mold allergy but the skin tests are normal. If both tests find no evidence of a mold allergy, your provider will ask you to clean all visible mold out of your home and reassess the cause if symptoms continue, says Rampur.

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    I Heard About Toxic Molds And Black Molds That Grow In Homes And Other Buildings Should I Be Concerned About A Serious Health Risk To Me And My Family

    There is always a little mold everywhere in the air and on many surfaces.

    Certain molds are toxigenic, meaning they can produce toxins . Hazards presented by molds that may produce mycotoxins should be considered the same as other common molds which can grow in your house. Not all fungi produce mycotoxins and even those that do will not do so under all surface or environmental conditions.

    Mold growth, which often looks like spots, can be many different colors, and can smell musty. Color is not an indication of how dangerous a mold may be. Any mold should be removed and the moisture source that helped it grow should be removed.

    There are very few reports that toxigenic molds found inside homes can cause unique or rare health conditions such as pulmonary hemorrhage or memory loss. These case reports are rare, and a causal link between the presence of the toxigenic mold and these conditions has not been proven.

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    Eczema Or Dry Scaly Skin

    Common Cold vs. Allergies and Mold?

    I grew up with eczema but never knew there was a connectionto allergy. I tried every cream and moisturizer available, but nothing seemedto work.

    Sure enough, after treating my allergies, my skin clearedup. Your skin is the biggest organ of your body. If its showing signs ofirritation then try to figure out the reason.

    A mold allergy could definitely exacerbate skin that isprone to dryness and eczema.

    Recommended Reading: How To Get Rid Of Mold In My Basement

    Causes Of Your Mold Allergy Signs And Symptoms

    An over-sensitive immune system response triggers your mold allergy symptoms. When you inhale spores into your lungs, your body creates antibodies to fight these. Well after your initial exposure, your body still creates antibodies. These actively remember the mold spores so that the next time you come into contact with them, your immune system will go into overdrive.

    Your body then releases substances like histamine. Its these substances that are responsible for the symptoms you then have. Molds that commonly cause allergies include Penicillium, Alternaria, Cladosporium and Aspergillus. Remember, just because youre allergic to one type of mold, this doesnt mean youll react to all molds.

    As many as one in three kids have a mold allergy. If your parent suffered from allergies, your chance of inheriting this specific allergy is around 30 to 40 percent, rising to 50 percent if both your parents suffered from allergies.

    Mold Allergy Symptoms And Signs

    Hurricane Harvey made his unwelcome arrival in Houston, TX on August 25. Homes all over the state are badly affected by the floods. With increasing dampness coupled with warm temperatures and secondary flooding issues, theres an increased risk of infestations of toxic black mold in homes in our area.

    Unfortunately, mold in house thrives in this general atmosphere. In fact, it can grow within days.

    Mold growth after a hurricane is extremely common and extensive. Take for example in the case of Hurricane Katrina. Studies revealed extensive mold growth in New Orleans homes affected by the devastating storm, even in those that had only flooded part of the way.

    In the case of a terrible event such as Hurricane Harvey, be aware that levels of mold may sometimes continue to increase for as long as a year after this category of natural disaster.

    As the waters start to recede here in Houston, and we go back to our properties and businesses to evaluate the damage, it leaves us susceptible to the signs and symptoms of mold.

    In this post, we want to give you a heads up to the mold allergy symptoms and signs so you know what to look out for.

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    What Are The Signs Youre Allergic To Mold

    So, you want to figure out if you have a mold allergy. Unfortunately, its not always crystal clear, since mold allergy symptoms mirror the signs of many types of allergic reactions. Typical

    • stuffy or runny nose
    • watery eyes

    Sounds just like seasonal allergies, doesnt it? So, if its not the symptoms that clue you in, how can you tell if youre dealing with a mold allergyor something else?

    Who Can Test Me For Mold Illness

    How Do You Know if You Are Allergic to Pollen ...

    You may wonder how to get these tests done, and in this age of insurance-based medicine it can be a challenge. Apart from the nasal swab, the bloodwork may be handled by a cooperative primary care physician, or by going to a facility such as Any Lab Test, which will run them for you. The best route is to seek care from a knowledgeable ENT specialist, such as Dr. Dennis, or from a physician trained in Environmental Medicine. Go to American Academy of Environmental Medicine for a list of practitioners by state.

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    Where You Might Find Mold

    Feel free to check out my other article where I discuss the signs of mold in your home. As a general rule, mold can develop indoors and outdoors.

    Youll likely find mold where there is moisture andhumidity. Here are some examples:

    • In a bathroom that lacks ventilation
    • Under a leaky sink
    • In a moist basement without adequate airflow
    • Outside in a pile of leaves
    • In a tropical environment

    Indoor water leaks are a serious problem because moisture behind a wall might go unnoticed for years while it causes property damage and mold growth.

    If you have watermarks on your wall or soft spots on your wall it might be an indicator of moisture and/or mold.

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