When we think of allergies, pets and pollen are what usually come to mind.
But did you know that mold is a major allergen?
Yes, you could be allergic to mold!
Allergies cause our immune system to exhibit symptoms such as sneezing, wheezing, itching, and crying. These symptoms can affect our breathing, confidence, alertness, and quality of sleep.
If we’re lucky, we’re only bothered for a short period of time during the year. Those who aren’t lucky might experience allergy symptoms year-round.
Mold allergy can be both a seasonal and year-round problem so it’s important to know the signs. In this article, I’ll share my experience with mold allergy and the 8 signs you’re allergic to mold.
My Allergy Test Was Eye Opening (Reactions To Mold)
It wasn’t until my 30’s that I finally got tested for allergies. I had experienced allergic symptoms most of my life, however, the symptoms were mild and I ignored them.
Over time, my symptoms became worse and they began to affect my quality of life.
I was always tired even though I slept 12 hours a day. I had unexplained rashes, sinus congestion and my eyes constantly watered.
I know it seems obvious now, but I didn’t realize how serious my allergies were. I never had a doctor that recommended me to an allergist. Eventually, I made an appointment on my own.
My allergist tested me for a spectrum of 100 environmental allergens. The test included pollen from grass, weeds, and trees, pets, dust mites, cockroaches, yeasts, and a bunch of molds. I had no idea there were so many things I could be allergic to.
Sure enough, the test came back positive for most of the allergens, including a number of different molds. My allergist talked to me about the treatment options and gave me advice on how to protect myself.
I began to read about environmental allergens, including mold. I wanted to know:
- Where was mold found?
- Was it an indoor or outdoor allergen?
- How to reduce mold around my home?
- How could I recognize mold?
Where You Might Find Mold
Feel free to check out my other article where I discuss the signs of mold in your home. As a general rule, mold can develop indoors and outdoors.
You’ll likely find mold where there is moisture and humidity. Here are some examples:
- In a bathroom that lacks ventilation
- Under a leaky sink
- In a moist basement without adequate airflow
- Outside in a pile of leaves
- In a tropical environment (indoors and outdoors)
Indoor water leaks are a serious problem because moisture behind a wall might go unnoticed for years while it causes property damage and mold growth.
If you have watermarks on your wall or soft spots on your wall it might be an indicator of moisture and/or mold.
Could You Be Allergic To Mold – 8 Signs You Are
Persistent Cold-Like Symptoms
Mold allergy symptoms can result in cold-like symptoms. This includes coughing, sniffling, and sinus pressure.
Unlike colds, mold allergy might become chronic as long as you are in the presence of the allergen. Imagine having cold-like symptoms year-round if the mold is not killed.
Allergy-induces asthma occurs when someone who is allergic to a substance breathes the allergen.
Asthma can be scary and life-threatening and it’s not something to take lightly. If you have asthma symptoms during spring (warm, wet weather) or notice mold inside that coincides with breathing problems, then it could be a mold allergy.
When tiny mold spores get airborne, they can be inhaled through the mouth and nose and they can get into our eyes.
Once on the eye, mold spores can spark a reaction, causing our eyes to tear and itch. If you have itchy, irritated eyes and notice mold growing in your home, it’s wise to get rid of the mold as soon as possible.
A sore throat can be linked to asthma, or it can exist on its own. A sore throat indicates that something is bothering our airway.
Tea and lozenges can soothe the throat, but finding the cause of the sore throat should be a priority.
A sore throat doesn’t necessarily equate to allergy, but if the symptom persists for several months it’s time to start investigating the cause.
Eczema or Dry Scaly Skin
I grew up with eczema but never knew there was a connection to allergy. I tried every cream and moisturizer available, but nothing seemed to work.
Sure enough, after treating my allergies, my skin cleared up. Your skin is the biggest organ of your body. If it’s showing signs of irritation then try to figure out the reason.
A mold allergy could definitely exacerbate skin that is prone to dryness and eczema.
Constantly sneezing? This is a telltale sign of an allergy.
If you notice mold indoors and experience sneezing then it could be related. Sneezing isn’t a problematic allergy symptom like asthma but it can be annoying if becomes chronic.
Be aware of your surroundings. If there aren’t cats or dogs around then it could be the lesser-known allergens like mold and dust mites.
A running nose is another immune response that works to build mucous in the nose. Excess mucous in the nose helps to “rinse” the nasal passages of bacteria or allergens.
We get a runny nose when we’re sick but it also occurs when we encounter an allergen. A persistent runny nose might indicate the body is fighting something that is being inhaled.
Fatigue was a major problem for me when my allergies were at their worst. My body was working hard to fight harmless allergens and my immune system was run into the ground.
I slept a lot, however, the quality of my sleep was poor. My nose was stuffed up so I had trouble breathing while sleeping. My low quality sleep made me feel like a zombie during the day.
Once I addressed my allergies, including mold, I began to sleep better and I felt energized throughout the day.
- Pay attention to your home and keep it clean
- Know your home’s damp areas (basement, sinks, bathrooms)
- Routinely check for bathroom mold
- Look for watermarks and soft spots on the walls
- Clean up piles of leaves and other lawn debris
- Assess shady areas in your yard (places that don’t dry out)
Mold isn’t the allergy that most people think of when they are experiencing symptoms. Pets and pollen often get the attention but mold can be hazardous to our health and cause allergy symptoms.
A few of the molds and yeasts that I was tested for included:
If you suspect you are allergic to mold, it’s wise to make an appointment with an allergist. Prior to establishing an appointment, ask the allergist what they test for.
The first allergist I went to only tested me for 20 things then, unsuccessfully tried to treat me. The second allergist I visited wondered why I was only tested for 20 things.
He tested me for 100 things, and I was allergic to most of the 100 allergens. The treatment I’ve received since has been excellent. I began allergy shots (read my experience with allergy shots) and most of my allergies have disappeared.
Don’t underestimate a mold allergy. Also don’t put up with allergy symptoms, especially if they affect your quality of life.