If you are prone to itchy, watery eyes or frequently need a tissue to dab your runny nose, you are right to assume you probably have an allergy. But what could be causing your chronic discomfort? Your first thought might be the family pet, the high concentration of pollen, or the dust that needs to be cleared from your home’s surfaces, but few people consider one of the major and most dangerous causes of allergy symptoms--mold.
Mold allergies are caused by a sensitive immune system that, when met with airborne mold spores, identifies them as foreign particles and develops antibodies to combat them. Even after the exposure has passed, the antibodies remember the culprit and will react to future mold encounters by producing histamines (the substance that causes watery eyes, nasal itch, etc.).
Common symptoms of mold allergies overlap with those of other upper respiratory allergies, and can include a runny nose, watery eyes, cough, nasal drip, and dry skin. Because the symptoms are familiar and relatively mild, it may seem very unlikely that mold could be the culprit. However, here are five signs that your allergy symptoms may be caused by mold:
Your allergies flare up or worsen during damp weather.
Being in outdoor or indoor spaces that have a high mold concentration triggers your allergies.
You experience year-round allergies that don’t seem to correlate with animal dander, certain foods, or any other typical allergen.
If you have asthma, you may experience more severe asthma attacks as a result of mold exposure.
Symptoms of hay fever (ie, runny or stuffy nose, sneezing, and mucus in the throat) crop up at the wrong time of year or several different times a year.
You may be at a higher risk of developing mold related allergies if you have a family history of allergies, live in an area of high humidity, live in a house with poor ventilation or excess moisture, or are employed in an occupation that exposes you to mold.
Though symptoms of mold allergies are usually mild, the complications that come with them are not. As previously mentioned, mold can worsen asthma, leading to life-threatening asthma attacks. People with asthma or cystic fibrosis can also develop fungus in the lungs and experience allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis, a condition that can lead to permanent lung damage. Even if you are otherwise healthy, you could develop allergic fungal sinusitis, an inflammatory reaction of the sinuses.
Not all molds trigger allergies, and having a mold allergy does not necessarily make you allergic to every mold. Personalized medical treatment is necessary to determine if you are allergic to mold and which types of mold could trigger your immune system.
To learn more about the symptoms of mold allergies or determine if your allergies are actually a reaction to mold, please call my office for an exam, and together we can identify any allergy symptoms caused by mold. Contact Sage Nutrition and Healing Center at 303.503.5969 today.