Indoor Mold Allergy – And how to prevent it

Indoor Mold Allergy – And how to prevent it

Indoor Mold allergy is becoming a serious condition for many people across the globe. Indoor mold allergy occurs when your body react to the mold spores in your home. Mold (fungus) can grow almost anywhere but they thrive well in warm, damp, humid and dark environments where temperatures are above 50 percent.

They may be present in your basement, kitchen and washroom waiting to be watered. Once  they get water they grow and reproduce at a high rate.They spread by way of making spores.

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mold spore

                                                                             Source: wikimedia

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Thier spores are light in weight and can easily become airbone. They are so tiny that you can hardly see them. You may inhale them without even knowing.  Once in your nose they can trigger allergy symptoms. And if  they get into your lungs, they can cause asthmatic attacks

According to the Centre for Disease Control (CDC), there are thousands of mold species available. And some of the species can easily cause allergy.   The most common  allergy causing molds are cladosporium, penicillium, alternaria and aspergillus.

The thing about indoor mold is that they are able to withstand harsh environmental conditions and beacause of this they may be present all year round. And that means that if care is not taken, you might suffer from indoor mold allergy  through out the whole year.

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Symptoms of Indoor Mold Allergy

Just like any other allergy symptoms, indoor mold allergy symptoms are not very different. Most of these symptoms are histamine mediated. The most common symptoms are sneezing, coughing, congestion, watery and itchy eyes and postnasal drip.

They arise as result of your immune system’s overreaction to the spores that find their way into your body or get into contact with your skin.

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Risk Factors of Mold Allergy

There are factors that might increase your chances of getting this type of allergy. The most common factors are;

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1. Having a family history of allergies.

If you are from a family that has a history of allergies and asthma, then you will be at a high risk of developing these type of allergies.

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2. Occupational exposure to mold.

The type of work you find yourself in can increase your chances of getting mold allergy. If you do such work as farming, dairy work, logging, baking, millwork, carpentry, greenhouse work, winemaking and furniture repair, then your chances of getting mold allergy is high.

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3. Living in a house with high humidity.

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Mold

                                                                     photo by infrogmation/ CC BY

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In the early part of of this piece we mentioned that mold thrive well in humid evenvironment. So if you happen to be living in an environment with high humidity (temperature above 50 percent),  you will have an increased exposure to mold allergy.

Mold can grow almost anywhere if the conditions are favourable — They can grow in the basements, behind walls in framing, on soap-coated grout and other damp areas like carpet pads and the carpet itself. Little exposure to indoor mold may not produce any symptoms but high levels of exposure to mold spores may cause mold allergy symptoms.

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4. Staying in homes that are exposed to excess moisture.

Living in homes with leaky pipes and homes where there is water during rainstorms and flood increase the risk of indoor molda allergy.

At some point, nearly every building has some kind of excessive moisture. There are some seasons when the moisture in the atmosphere is just too high, in those moments you can implore the services of natural fungicides like vinegar to inhibit the growth of molds.

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5. Poorly ventilated homes.

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air conditioning

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When there is poor ventilation in your home,  moisture is trapped  indoors and make the environment suitable for mold growth. Damp areas such as bathrooms, kitchens and basements are the ideal grounds for mold growth.

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Complications of Mold Allergy

Mold allergy can cause serious problems to our health. Aside from affecting the respiratory system it can also affect the skin, mucuous membrane and other delicate areas of your body.

Some of the complications of mold allergy are as follows ;

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1. Allergic fungal sinusitis:

It occurs when there is an inflammatory reaction to fungus within your sinuses.

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2. Allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis:

This reaction usually occur in the lungs.
If you have asthma or cystic fibrosis, you are more likely to develop this complication.

Another lung complication of mold allergy is hypersensitivity pneumonitis.  It is a result of the inflammation of the lungs.

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3. Mold-induced asthma:

Sometimes asthma can come as a result of exposure to mold. This kind of asthmatic attacks can be very serious and the best people with asthma can do is to try as much as possible to prevent being exposed to mold spores.

If this can not be possible then you should have an emergency plan to combat any asthmatic flare-ups.

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Medications for people with Mold Allergies

Generally speaking there is no cure for  allergies on the market for the time being. But they are medications that can control the symptoms of allergy.

Below are few available over the counter drug to manage symptoms but this shouldn’t be replaced with advice from your physician.

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1. Decongestant drugs:

Decongestant drugs come in forms that can be taken orally or nasally through sprays. Oral decongestant drugs can be effective for about a week. With the decongestant nasal sprays they are usually effective for about 3 days.

Decongestangs are best for people who get symptoms on seasonal basis. It is  ideal for stuffy  nose rather than runny nose.

Pseudoephedrine and oxymetazoline are common oral and nasal decongestant drugs respectively that can be found on the market.

It is important to note that people with heart problems are not suppose to take these drugs since they can elevate their blood pressure

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2. Nasal corticosteriods:

They are good for almost everyone including people with heart problems and those with perennial allergy symptoms. Low-dosages are able to address all forms of allergy symptoms without sedating victims.

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3. Antihistamines

You can equally resort to anti histamines to combat your allergy symptoms.

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NOW LET’S LOOK AT HOW TO PREVENT INDOOR MOLD ALLERGY

Prevention is always better than treatment. Since we don’t have treatment options that completely cure mold allergy. So it’s important you take these prevention measures seriously.

There are several measures that can be taken to prevent the development of mold spores in the home. Some of  such measures have been outlined below;

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1. Maintain the right humidity :

Makr sure the humidity in your home  is between 20 percent to 45 percent. Remember that temperatures above 50 percent promote the growth of spores and no amount cleaning will help. If you happen to use a humidifier, then make sure you clean the fluid reservoir at least twice in a week, this will protect against the growth of mold.

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2. Get a central air conditioning with a HEPA filter attachment:

Air conditioners are able to reduce moisture in the atmosphere by 30 percent. An  air conditioning system with a HEPA filter attachment will help remove particles with size 0.3 microns or larger at an efficiency of 99.97 percent.

Don’t  use devices that treat mold with heat or ozone. Ozone is dangerous for people with Allergy and or asthma.

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3.  Use fungicides to control growth of visible spores.

4. Open the windows when it is safe to ensure proper ventilation.

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window

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is recommended that you open your window at least one hour everyday to enhance ventilation.  When doing so, you shouldn’t compromise your cover for pollens. You can use trickle vents to prevent dangerous particles from getting into your home when your windows are opened.

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5. Do not leave home damp and make sure you repair plumbing leakage. 

6. Get an air purifiers which also acts as  dehumidifiers. And Make sure to clean it regularly.

7. Do not place carpets in your basements and bathrooms. Carpets encourage the growth of mold in these places. 

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8. You can also refer to the Environmental Protection Agency for more guide on handling mold. 

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In Conclusion

It is clear that Indoor mold allergy can be quite a serious health concern. Totally eradicating mold might not be easy. It’s tough to do so.

But if you implement the above measures, you will be able to seriously limit your contacts with Mold pores and thus do away with indoor mold allergy symptoms.

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Related Posts;

How to Reduce Allergens at Home

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Dust Mite and Allergy

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