It’s summertime, that time of year when everyone is coughing and sneezing away from the high pollen count. But this isn’t anything new for you — it’s a year-round battle with allergies. And you’re not alone. Over 40 million people suffer from allergies and the majority of those patients suffer from year-round allergies, according to a survey reported by CBS News. It could be that you are reacting to a different allergen each season, or perhaps the source of your allergies is mold.
Are Molds the Reason for Your Year-Round Allergies?
What Are Molds? Molds are fungi whose seeds, known as spores, travel through the air in dry, windy weather or when humidity is high, like with fog or dew. Outdoors they are found on fallen leaves, grasses, rotting logs, and compost piles. And you probably already know that indoor molds are found in damp areas like around your showers and sinks.
Are Molds Present Throughout the Year? Molds are most prevalent from July through early autumn. But because fungi grow in all sorts of places, you can be exposed to them throughout the year. If you’re suffering from symptoms of year-round allergies, it may be from inhaling spores.
What Are Mold Allergies Like? Much like hay fever symptoms, molds typically cause sneezing, itching, runny nose, congestion, and dry, scaling skin. Allergies to spores can also lead to asthma. One telltale sign that you may be allergic to mold is if your symptoms get worse in a damp or moldy room. If you have a severe inflammatory reaction to mold, this can cause a more serious condition called allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis that may involve severe wheezing, coughing, and shortness of breath.
What Should I Do to Treat a Mold Allergy? If your symptoms are unbearable, you can have your doctor run tests to see what you’re allergic to. Mold allergy tests involve skin tests using extracts of various fungi. If your skin shows a reaction, then you’re most likely allergic to the mold. Your doctor may also draw blood for an allergen specific IgE blood test. Although there is no cure for allergies, you can treat the symptoms with over-the-counter antihistamines and nasal steroids. You can also avoid exposure to mold spores by wearing a mask when gardening and limiting outdoor time when mold counts are high.
Some of the easiest tricks to prevent indoor mold include opening a window or vent while you’re showering (when possible) to let the moisture escape, and to remove clothes from your washing machine as soon as possible. But there are several other things you can do to prevent indoor mold.
To read more related topics, check out Hospitality Health ER’s blog on air quality and food allergies.