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Mold and Allergies

Mold can trigger allergies in mold-sensitive individuals.  Because mold reproduces via spores that are released into the air, it is very difficult to avoid contact with mold, although there are measures that can be taken to reduce the amount of mold to which one might be exposed.

Mold grows where there is adequate moisture and food.  That food can include everything from dust, to leaves, to trees, to building materials such as insulation and drywall.  Controlling exposure to mold might be easiest indoors, where HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters can be utilized to help remove mold spores from indoor air.  English ivy, a common houseplant is notable for its ability to clear mold from the air, and steps can be taken to ensure that mold is not growing within the home.  A quick and regular check for leaks, dampness, and condensation can go a long way toward the prevention of mold growth.  The use of dehumidifiers, air conditioners, and ceiling fans are also effective weapons in the war against mold.

It is a natural function of mold to assist in the decomposition of organic materials.  Unfortunately, just as people feel some relief from hay fever, their allergies may return to full swing in the autumn, when leaves come down and leaf mold abounds.  Mold survives cold winter temperatures.  It does not die – It simply goes dormant, waiting for spring to come, which will allow it to grow again.  Wearing a mask when raking leaves, either in spring or fall, is a good idea.

Fresh cut or live Christmas trees and fresh wreaths can cause allergic responses in some people.  Thoroughly washing and drying these items before bringing them into the home, and limiting the time they spend indoors may help.  It is not likely that mold can be completely eliminated from these conifers.  An artificial Christmas tree might be best, as long as it is not allowed to grow dusty or stored in a damp basement.  Mold can grow on artificial trees too given the right conditions.

Outside, mold counts can be particularly high on any given day depending on many factors, including weather, humidity, and the time of year.  Windy days can be particularly troublesome in the fall when downed leaves are beginning to grow mold.

Mold allergies are much like hay fever.  One might experience coughing, sneezing, itchy and watery eyes, a runny nose, or fatigue.  Antihistamines can be very effective against mold allergies.  For particularly severe allergies, an allergist may need to be consulted and allergy shots started.

When mold allergies are suspected, it’s probably best to consult a physician.  When mold is found growing in the home, steps toward mold removal should be taken.  And when that mold problem is too extensive for the average homeowner, a mold remediation contractor might be just what the doctor (and the mold allergies) ordered.

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