You know the telltale signs of an allergic reaction: you feel itchy, you start sneezing, you’re congested, your nose is running, your eyes are itchy, you have a tickle in your throat — the list goes on. Most people attribute their allergy symptoms to pollen in the air, but that’s not always the source. Approximately 25 percent of people with a known allergy also have a mold allergy, and as much as 10 percent of the total population experiences an allergy to mold.
What Are the Symptoms of a Mold Allergy?
Most symptoms of a mold allergy mimic symptoms of hay fever. These include:
- Runny/stuffy nose
- Watery eyes
- Itchy eyes, nose & throat
- Postnasal drip
- Dry, scaly skin
The biggest difference between the two is when you experience symptoms. Hay fever symptoms usually occur after exposure to the outdoors, while mold allergy symptoms are oftentimes indoor-only – more specifically, in certain locations indoors. For example, you may only notice symptoms when you’ve spent some time in your bathroom, the kitchen or your workplace but not other areas of your home.
The Connection Between Mold & Asthma
If you have asthma and a mold allergy, the combined effects can be detrimental to your health. Asthma symptoms are often triggered by exposure to mold spores, and they can be severe. In addition to usual allergy symptoms, you may experience coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and chest tightness.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, indoor air pollution can be at least twice as high as outdoor pollution due to limited ventilation. This means that if there’s mold in your home, it could wreak havoc on your health. Be sure to have your air quality tested if you experience symptoms indoors when the windows are closed.
Preventing Mold & Mildew
The best thing you can do for your symptoms is to try to prevent mold from growing. To do this, be sure to…
- Keep your bathroom clean, particularly the bathtub, shower, windowsills and shower curtains. Clean with bleach at least once a month.
- Use an exhaust fan that vents outside in bathrooms, kitchens and laundry rooms to ventilate excess moisture. Clean fans every three months.
- Remove organic yard debris from your gutters and yard, as dead leaves and branches are prime growth spots for mold.
- Regularly check under your sinks to ensure there are no leaks.
For more information about mold allergies or to schedule an appointment, call Topeka ENT today.