Mold or fungus is found everywhere. Unlike with plants, mold requires food and water sources to thrive. The food source is often in the form of a carbohydrate material such as cellulose or wood. Remember that mold grows in units called mycelium and reproduce via the formation of spores. These spores become airborne and capable of triggering allergy symptoms among highly sensitive individuals.
Types of diseases caused by mold
Mold has been linked with certain diseases. Individuals can develop fungal infections of various types particularly those with weakened immune systems. Take note that fungi are also known to generate toxins that might be responsible for causing various diseases.
In addition, mold can also trigger severe immune reactions as a result of colonizing the lungs and the sinuses. The common allergic diseases caused by mold include allergic asthma and allergic rhinitis.
Types of mold that cause allergies
There are various types of mold but only a few are available for allergy testing. The following are the usual causes of allergic disease based on the types of mold spores they release in the air.
- Cladosporium is a common airborne outdoor mold
- Alternaria is an outdoor mold and an allergy to this type can be linked with severe asthma
- Penicillium is a common indoor mold and an allergy to this is not linked with antibiotic allergy
- Aspergillus is both an indoor and outdoor mold that is also linked with allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis
- Helminthosporum is found in warm climates
- Fusarium is found on rotting plants
- Epicoccum is found is agricultural and grassland areas
- Phoma is an outdoor mold that is common during the wet season
- Aureobasidium is an outdoor mold usually found in lumber, paper and painted surfaces
- Rhizopus and mucor are found on decaying leaves and damp indoor areas
- Yeast are present in the air during the wet season in agricultural areas
Time of the year when mold allergy is common
In areas that have cold climates, mold are usually found in the outdoor air starting in late winter and peaks in the late summer to early fall. In areas with warmer climates, the mold spores are present throughout the year with the peak level in late summer up to early fall.
Even though indoor mold can occur all year round and dependent on the level of moisture, the levels are usually higher when the outdoor mold levels are high. With this in mind, the common source of indoor mold is from the outside environment, but can be due to an indoor mold contamination.
Measures to reduce the mold level
- You have to prevent the outdoor mold from entering the house by keeping the windows and doors closed and utilizing an air conditioning unit with allergen-grade filters.
- Repair any water leaks in the kitchens, bathrooms and basement.
- You have to regulate the indoor moisture by using a dehumidifier.
- Always ensure adequate ventilation particularly in moist areas of the house.
- Replace or clean contaminated surfaces using a diluted solution of chlorine bleach in 9 parts water and always use proper protective gear such as goggles and a mask.
- Utilize a HEPA filter on vacuums or as a stand-alone air filter, particularly in the bedroom.
- Try to limit the indoor house plants and ensure that they are free of mold especially on the leaves and the potting soil.