Womens Health

All About Mold

Internal Warfare

An allergy is a hostile response of your immune system to a given substance. In the case of a mold spore allergy, the allergic person breathes in airborne mold spores. The body detects the spores and senses them as a threat. Your immune system produces antibodies to fight them off and this internal warfare is the cause of your allergic symptoms.

Even when symptoms have passed and you're no longer exposed to the allergen your body continues to produce antibodies so that your immune system remembers the trigger. When you next come in contact with the allergen, your body reacts by releasing histamines. In the case of mold and other airborne allergens, histamines give you a runny nose, cause your eyes to itch and water, and make you sneeze and cough.

Molds are found everywhere, both in and out of doors. There are several different kinds of molds but not all of them cause allergies. If you have a mold allergy, you may not react to every mold. Among the mold types most liable to cause an allergic reaction are alternaria, aspergillus, cladosporium, and penicillium. Mold allergies tend to run in families.

Occupational Hazard

If mold triggers allergies, you may need to avoid certain occupations where mold exposure is a danger. Some examples include: carpentry and furniture repair, viticulture and winemaking, greenhouse work, millwork, baking, logging, dairy work, and farming.

You may also need to reconsider your workplace and living space. For instance, living in a home with higher than 50% humidity is a recipe for mold growth and subsequent exposure. Mold can grow just about anywhere, but grows best in damp, dark places. Spores can grow behind a painting on a wall, on the grouting in your shower stall, in your basement, and in your carpet or carpet pad.

If your workplace or home has been exposed to excess moisture you may be at risk for exposure to mold. Water damage that occurs as a consequence of leaky pipes, flood damage, or water seepage not only brings mold, but other common allergens as well, for instance cockroaches and dust mites.

Proper ventilation can prevent mold formation. Window and door seals shouldn't be too tight, lest they trap moisture inside your living spaces. Bathrooms, kitchens, and basements are areas in the home that are the most susceptible to mold. Letting in light and air is your best protection against mold formation in these problem areas.

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