Mold

Although thousands of molds exist, only a few dozen different types are significant allergens. However, mold spores can easily become airborne and can be found almost everywhere. Because they are so small, mold spores may also invade the protective mechanisms of the nose and upper respiratory tract. This irritation can also cause problems for those with asthma.

The most common symptoms associated with exposure to certain molds include nasal stuffiness, eye irritation, wheezing, aggravation of asthma, cold/flu like symptoms, rashes, fever, shortness of breath, inability to concentrate, fatigue and occasionally lung infections. Because the list of symptoms resembles the symptoms of other conditions, it can be difficult to specifically diagnose a mold allergy without tests.

One of the biggest problems with molds is that they can colonize a home very easily. Mold spores can become airborne. When they do, they float through the house forming new colonies wherever they land.

The indoor mold allergens can cause allergies year round. That means keeping source of mold under control, including: damp basements and closets, bathrooms (especially shower stalls), places where fresh food is stored, refrigerator drip trays, house plants, air conditioners, humidifiers, garbage pails, mattresses, upholstered furniture and old foam rubber pillows.
Following a few easy tips can slow mold growth. Keep the humidity level in the home below 40 percent, during the hot humid months. If you use a dehumidifier, be sure to change or clean the filters on your unit frequently. Ventilate the kitchen and bathrooms properly, and clean them with a bleach solution that consists of one cup of bleach in one gallon of water. This will effectively kill mold and its spores.

Keep in mind that symptoms of mold allergy may be brought on or worsened by eating certain foods. If you are allergic to molds you may need to avoid the following: cheeses, mushrooms, dried fruits (such as apricots, dates, prunes, figs and raisins), foods containing yeast, soy sauce, vinegar, mayonnaise, other salad dressings, catsup, chili sauce, pickles, pickled beets, relishes, green olives, sour cream, sour milk, buttermilk, beer, wine, sauerkraut, pickled and smoked meats and fish, sausages, hot dogs, corned beef, pickled tongue, canned tomatoes and canned juices.

It's not just indoor mold; outdoor molds can also cause allergic reactions. Molds are the second leading cause of outdoor airborne allergies, with pollen being the first. Molds can be found in compost piles, cut grasses, wooded areas, fallen leaves, soils, debris and other moist surfaces.

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