Mould Allergy: Learn about symptoms, causes and treatment
- Posted on- Jun 04, 2015
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Have you ever had an unexplainable allergy that has made you miserable? It could be moulds. These moulds are sometimes microscopic, so there is seldom you can do to avoid them. Living with mould allergy is difficult, but if you know the symptoms, avoiding triggers could be easy.
Mould is a type of fungus which is found almost everywhere. It grows on soil, plants, foods, fabrics, damp walls, etc. It reproduces by releasing huge numbers of tiny spores which float through the air. When these spores are inhaled, some people exhibit allergic reactions, thereby treating the mould spores as allergens. Moulds are of various types however, not all of them cause allergy.
Symptoms of mould allergy
Mould allergy can trigger symptoms similar to a generic respiratory allergic reaction. You will start with an itchy nose and throat followed by sneezing, and accompanied by a runny nose. The blocked nose, however, continues to drip and so do the eyes. In a little while, the sinuses appear inflamed, and there seems to be a rash on the facial skin. In case of hypersensitivity, these symptoms may develop into asthma like attack that triggers off excessive coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. The patient finds it difficult to lie down, and restlessness caused by inability to breathe augments the problem.
Causes of mould allergy
Whenever the moulds encounter the skin or body of sensitive people, their immune system automatically starts manufacturing antibodies to fight them. These antibodies are produced even after the moulds are gone. Later, if again there is an exposure to mould, the immune system begins to react. This reaction leads to the release of histamines into the system causing itchy, runny nose, watery eyes, sneezing, and difficulty in breathing.
A word of caution: If your walls have a growth of mould, there will be enough spores in the house to trigger allergy attacks. This growth may be because of a bad plumbing or leaky pipelines. Moulds can appear on leftover bread, behind pictures on walls in damp climates, even on damp soap, carpets, or anything that can retain moisture. Any such thing lying around the house can trigger allergy reactions.
Treatment of mould allergy
While sneezing and stuffy nose can also be a sign of common cold, if they persist for more than 2 weeks, and specially get noticeable in a particular place, book an appointment with allergic expert. There are no actual medicines to control mould allergy, but in most cases a dose of antihistamine helps.
The only accurate test for mould allergies is the allergy-skin test. This test uses the extracts of common allergens on your skin on different, numbered patches. The reaction to each of them is then noted down, and the allergic expert can determine which of these elements you are allergic to.
In a healthy body the only real trouble a mould allergy can cause is that of bringing on a dangerous asthma attack. In rare cases, the doctor can prescribe inhalers that have corticosteroids. These are fast acting medications that dilate your bronchioles, easing breathing almost immediately. In milder situations, the prescription usually holds antihistamines, which bring relief in a short while, but usually make one drowsy. Rhinitis can be treated using decongestants and also nasal sprays or drops. In some cases, allergy shots may help provide long-term relief of symptoms.
Prevention of mould allergy
Prevention is better than cure, so it is better to reduce the occurrence of the allergy symptoms by controlling the triggers. Start by getting rid of mould in your environment. Try to reduce dampness or humidity in your house or workplace. Pipes causing dampness on walls should be rectified immediately. Ensure bathrooms are well-ventilated and clean at all times. AC ducts should also be cleaned regularly. Try to maintain the humidity levels in the house below 40%.
Take care of yourself too. Avoid damp weather walks. Try wearing a dust mask when you have to do work that rakes up dust. Night-time is worst for airborne mould spores, so avoid sleeping with windows open at night. If proper care is taken, allergy symptoms can be handled well.