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Mold Allergy - Meaning, Treatment, And Preventive Measures
Allergy to mold is one of the most common health disorders that affect people of all ages worldwide. It takes place when individuals are exposed to certain harmful “aeroallergens” present in several settings -- whether indoors or outdoors.
Aeroallergens are nothing but a combination of various airborne particles such as mold spores, pollen, pet dander, dust mites, and other biological and non-biological inhalants that lead to a series of allergic disorders in humans. When humans come in contact with aeroallergens like mold spores, by way of inhalation, they release proteins in the form of skin allergic reactions or mucous membranes. Let’s learn about mold allergy in detail.
What is mold allergy?
Mold allergy is caused by mold spores, which are microscopic fungi that are present everywhere in the air. They are very prevalent in damp environments and survive on food, air, suitable temperature, and water. Molds can be found outdoors as well as in homes and in other closed environments. Hence, molds can cause both indoor as well as outdoor mold allergy.
There are more than a hundred types of molds present in the environment, but only a few of them are known for disrupting the immune system and causing mold allergy. Some of the most common molds that trigger allergy include Alternaria, Aspergillus, Cladosporium, and Penicillium.
How do mold spores affect humans?
As molds are omnipresent in nature, each and every one of us breathes them in through the air. However, only some of us (having an overly sensitive immune system) fall prey to allergic reactions due to mold.
Such people experience typical mold allergy symptoms such as sneezing, itchy or watery eyes, runny and/or itchy nose, and nasal congestion. In a few cases, indoor mold allergy can get more serious leading to breathing-related problems like bronchitis and asthma.
How can it be prevented?
Before anything else, the only way to treat an allergy to mold is by taking preventive measures to avoid exposure to triggers of mold allergy. However, as molds are commonly found everywhere, it is next to impossible to avoid them completely. Below preventive measures can be helpful to some extent:
● Use an allergy face mask whenever you suspect molds around you
● Stay away from a pile of damp or rake leaves
● Maintain indoor humidity levels at 35% to 50%
● Keep moisture away from mold epicenters like bathroom and kitchen
● Use HEPA-powered air-conditioners
What is the treatment available?
Unfortunately, there is no proper way to cure allergic rhinitis triggered by mold allergy. Also, self-medication can be harmful, hence it is best to seek professional medical assistance. Whenever you suspect mold allergy symptoms, do consult your doctor or a leading allergist for your condition. They will be able to diagnose your symptoms by a simple blood test and/or skin prick test.
Based on the severity of your symptoms, an allergist will provide you with the best treatment options to ease your symptoms. Some of the prescription medications available to treat mold allergies include nasal sprays, antihistamines, oral decongestants, montelukast, and nasal corticosteroids. In case of mold allergy gets too serious, doctors might also opt for other advanced treatments like immunotherapy and nasal lavage.
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