Molds are tiny fungi whose spores float through the air. They like damp environments and need four things to grow: food, air, appropriate temperature and water. Molds can be found outdoors, in homes and other buildings.
When you inhale you breathe in mold spores from the air, but only some people have an allergic reactions or asthma symptoms if exposed to too much of this fungus.
Your immune system is overly-sensitive to specific mold spores and treats them as an allergen. When you inhale the mold spores, your immune system triggers symptoms such as sneezing, itching, watery eyes, runny nose, nasal congestion or itchy nose, mouth and lips.
There are hundreds of types of mold but not all of them are responsible for causing allergy symptoms. The most common allergy causing molds include Alternaria, Aspergillus, Cladosporium and Penicillium.
You can develop allergy symptoms outdoors on days when mold spores are in the air. You may have symptoms indoors if mold is in your home, school or workplace.
- Itchy nose, mouth and lips
- Itchy, watery eyes
- Mold can also trigger asthma symptoms such as wheezing, shortness of breath or chest tightness.
- Nasal congestion
- Runny nose
Mold symptons often mimic symptoms of other conditions as well. Your allergist can diagnose whether mold is the culprit to your symptoms. A skin prick test gives accurate results in just a few minutes. Consult with your allergist about other mold tests.