Mold goes far beyond what you might see growing on old bread or on the ceiling of a stuffy bathroom. It is a living organism that comes in many varieties, that is present in most places, including indoors and outdoors. Mold may be visible on the surface of food, but its roots can grow deeper into the food and not be apparent to the naked eye, illustrating the prevalence and level of one’s exposure to mold. Despite this regular exposure to mold, most people are relatively unaffected by it. However, those with an allergy to mold will react to breathing it in. Essentially, being allergic to mold means that your immune system overreacts when you are exposed to mold spores. Symptoms of a mold allergy include wheezing and difficulty breathing, watery and itchy eyes, a runny or stuffy nose, and breaking out in a rash or hives.
An estimated 5 percent of Americans have some allergy to mold. Severe mold allergy can result in asthma attacks. It is a year-round problem, but is more common in warm weather.
If you have been diagnosed with a mold allergy, the best way to control the onset of symptoms is to limit exposure to mold. Exposure cannot realistically be completely eliminated, so do your best to control how much mold you may be breathing in. Before consuming food, visually check it carefully for signs of mold. Avoid smelling food to determine if it is still good, because smelling the food may cause you to inhale mold spores, triggering an allergic reaction. Additionally, some foods are more likely to contain mold, and these foods should be avoided if possible. These foods include mushrooms, yeast, cheese, vinegar and vinegar-containing foods such as salad dressing, and meat and fish.
If you suspect you may have a mold allergy or have been diagnosed with a mold allergy, speak to Dr. Jones about how to limit exposure to mold as well as how to best control your symptoms.
Testing & Treatment
Dr. Jones will look at your medical history and ask you specifics about your symptoms. Allergy testing will be performed to identify specific allergens, usually in the form of skin testing.
Avoidance and prevention is the best choice for avoiding mold allergy. Dr. Jones will recommend other tactics, such as synthetic fabrics and household cleaning. Allergy shots are sometimes recommended when the situation is hard to control.