Next, using a purification unit like the one we’ve discussed in this article will help to control inhalation. Next, it is important to support the body in getting rid of any accumulated toxins. We must deactivate and eliminate the mold toxins by addressing three key areas. These are glutathione production, maximizing detoxification systems, and binding toxins to be eliminated. This is my protocol:
ThyroLiver Protect: A combination of selenium, milk thistle extract, Alpha-Lipoic Acid, and N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine. This combination assists liver detoxification while supporting the production of glutathione. Taking 1-2 caps, 2 times daily helps your liver neutralize and process the mold spores.
Super Glutathione: For tough cases, extra glutathione can be necessary. This is an acetylated form that is able to be absorbed by the digestive tract. I recommend 1-2 caps – 2 times daily. This is especially important if you are suffering with a lot of symptoms from mold exposure.
Coconut Charcoal: When detoxification systems are upregulated, many toxins are released into the digestive tract. If they are not bound by something like charcoal, they are given the opportunity to reabsorb and cause more problems. Using 1-2 caps of charcoal between meals and immediately before bed is a great strategy.
BioToxin Binder: This product contains a special form of carbon that has a greater binding ability. It also contains wild-crafted yucca root and fulvic acid. It’s formulated specifically to support binding biotoxins like mold, ammonia and aldehyde systemically. Take 1-2 caps – 2 times daily.
- Sources for this Article Include
- 1. CDC – Mold: Basic Facts ()
- 3. American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology – Allergy Symptoms ()
- 4. Gray M. Molds and mycotoxins: beyond allergies and asthma. Altern Ther Health Med. 2007;13(2):S146-52. PMID: 17405693
- 6. The National Wildlife Federation – Home Mold Dangers: Keeping Mold in Check at Home ()
- 11 Ways to Prevent Mold Allergies
- Mold: How Does It Cause Allergies?
- Reduce Mold to Breathe Better
- Mold Allergies and Homeopathic Solutions
- Identifying Your Mold Allergies:
- 1. Alternaria Allergy
- • Symptoms:
- 2. Aspergillus Allergy
- • Where it Grows:
- • Exposure Symptoms:
- 3. Cladosporium Allergy
- 4. Memnoniella Allergy
- 5. Penicillium Allergy
- 6. Stachybotrys Allergy
- Homeopathic Solutions
- 1. Change Up Your Diet
- Remove These Foods from Your Diet:
- Add These Foods to Your Diet:
- 2. Add Some Herbs and Supplements
- 3. Explore Some Herbal Medicine
- 4. Take Some Natural Remedies
- ThyroLiver Protect
- Super Glutathione
- Coconut Charcoal
- Allium Cepa
- Natrum Muriaticum
- Nux Vomica
- Keep Your House Clean
- Reduce Humidity Levels
- Keep Outside Spores Outside
- Filter Your Air
- Invest in Some Houseplants
- Stop Mold in Its Tracks with RestoPros
- Symptoms of Mold Allergies
- How to Minimize Exposure to Mold
- Tips to Controlling Mold
- Mold allergy
- Risk factors
- Lifestyle and home remedies
- Preparing for an appointment
- Black Mold Symptoms
- 12 Natural Ways to Deal with Black Mold Symptoms
- Allergies? Tips to minimize your exposure to mold
Sources for this Article Include
1. CDC – Mold: Basic Facts ()
3. American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology – Allergy Symptoms ()
6. The National Wildlife Federation – Home Mold Dangers: Keeping Mold in Check at Home ()
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11 Ways to Prevent Mold Allergies
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Fighting mold allergies might seem like an impossible challenge. After all, mold is a natural part of the environment and, though you can’t see mold spores, they can travel through the air and make their way into your nose. “It’s fair to say that a mold allergy can be a problem, but the first place to start is with good, basic hygiene,” says John Cohn, MD, a professor of medicine and pediatrics and chief of the adult allergy section at the Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Jefferson University Hospitals in Philadelphia. “Just as staying out of the sun can prevent sunburn, good housekeeping and other simple measures can go a long way toward managing allergies,” Dr. Cohn says.
Mold: How Does It Cause Allergies?
Mold is a fungus that grows in places that are moist. During its growth phase, mold is unlikely to cause many allergy symptoms unless you’re actively touching or removing it, says Christian Nageotte, MD, staff allergist at Henry Ford Hospital in Novi, Michigan. “But on dry and windy days outside, mold goes into the protective part of its life cycle,” he says. That’s when mold releases seeds, or spores, that blow in the wind and can be inhaled.
About three dozen types of mold can cause respiratory allergies. Mold allergy symptoms may include a runny nose, sneezing, congestion, mucus buildup, postnasal drip, and an itchy nose and eyes. When mold spores enter the lungs, they could trigger asthma.
If you have experienced allergic symptoms but are unsure of the cause, a skin or blood test done by an allergist can tell you if mold is the culprit.
Reduce Mold to Breathe Better
Because mold needs moisture to grow, it’s often found in piles of leaves, in grasses, and on logs. Inside, it can grow wherever there’s moisture and poor ventilation. Here’s how to protect yourself, indoors and out:
Use a dehumidifier. Lowering the humidity inside your home to under 45 percent — or even under 35 percent —will help you fight mold growth, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. If you live in a larger house, consider placing the dehumidifier in your basement, which is a cooler, moister area in the home where mold grows easily. Cohn recommends setting one up so that it drains automatically without your having to empty the reservoir, which is easy to forget to do, and can actually create more mold growth. To do so, attach a hose to the unit and allow it to empty into a water-collecting sump pump drain.
Keep the A/C running smoothly. Another way to take moisture out of indoor air is to run your air conditioner during warm months. “It lets you dry out the house, and you’ll have less of a mold issue, assuming you keep your unit in good shape and cleaned out,” Cohn says. This means scheduling regular times to dust and remove accumulating dirt from the air conditioner. Moreover, you need to change filters and clean out ducts regularly to help keep your dehumidifiers and air conditioning units working for you. This includes the A/C filter in your car. Dr. Nageotte also recommends having ducts in your home cleaned out every year or two because condensation may occur, which can lead to mold growth.
Focus on air flow. Use a clean exhaust fan in your bathroom when you shower and in your kitchen when you cook or wash dishes. Keep the inner doors of your house open to help air flow and to stem mold growth.
Fix leaks. Anywhere there’s leaking water, mold may be present. Check for leaks in your basement, bathtubs, and laundry room, by all faucets, and on your roof.
Scrub it away. If you see mold, scrub with a 10 percent bleach solution while wearing a protective facemask, Nageotte says. If you have respiratory issues that prevent you from using bleach, use a 50/50 water and vinegar solution, which also works well but may require a little more elbow grease.
Keep up with regular housecleaning. Fungi can grow on the soap film left on tile and grout, so clean your bathroom thoroughly at least once a month. In the laundry room, wipe the rubber seal on the washing machine door and leave the lid open when you’re not using it so moist air doesn’t remain trapped. In the kitchen, mold can lurk on refrigerator door gaskets, drip pans, and garbage cans. Also watch for mold growth in water bottles and pitchers. Empty them and allow them to dry completely.
Position drains away from the house. Moving rainwater away from your house will help keep the structure dry and mold-free.
Gift your indoor plants. Mold occurs naturally on soil and plants that require frequent watering, Nageotte says. Give your plants to a friend who doesn’t have allergies and replace with synthetics.
Wear a dust mask during outside chores. These protective coverings will help you avoid breathing in allergens. Nageotte recommends asking your allergist or pharmacist about which mask is best for mold.
Avoid outdoor activities when mold counts are high. If a dust mask is too uncomfortable, do your best to avoid too much outdoor activity when mold counts are high. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology offers an online resource that gives pollen and mold levels in various areas of the country. Typically, mold allergy symptoms are at their worst during spring and fall when allergens are sprouting and on dry and windy days.
Shower after outdoor activities. Like pollen, mold spores should be washed away after you come in from a game of baseball or raking leaves. This will prevent them from being spread to your indoor environment.
Whether you’re in your home or outdoors, taking these steps can help to dramatically reduce your exposure to mold and prevent allergic reactions.
Mold Allergies and Homeopathic Solutions
by Resto Pros on May 17, 2019
There are few things more exhausting to cope with than allergies. From springtime sneeze attacks to missing out on playing with your friend’s new puppy, allergies keep you from many things. However, if you suffer from mold allergies, you face daily triggers that are everywhere, and don’t disappear with springtime. Are you looking for simpler methods to ease your day-to-day symptoms? Well, the experts at RestoPros are here to help by telling you about some common mold allergies and homeopathic solutions.
Identifying Your Mold Allergies:
First of all, you must identify the type of mold that’s causing the reaction. Moreover, it’s important to identify the type of mold so you can understand the symptoms that come with exposure. Therefore, to help you navigate your own symptoms, here are some common mold allergies:
1. Alternaria Allergy
Dark green, black, or grey with long velvety hairs, Alternaria is a mold that requires very little moisture to grow.
Because it requires minimal moisture to grow, Alternaria is commonly found on carpets, clothing, basements, windows, and doors.
If you’re suffering from exposure to this type of mold, you’ll experience symptoms similar to hay fever. In addition to the hay fever symptoms, you may also experience respiratory problems and asthma.
2. Aspergillus Allergy
Because it can be grey, brown, yellow, green, white, or black, Aspergillus is often tricky to identify from other molds. That being said, this type of mold grows very quickly once the spores are released.
• Where it Grows:
Although Aspergillus mold grows quickly, it does require more moisture than Alternaria. As a prevalent household mold, it grows in walls, soil, insulation, basements, and clothing.
• Exposure Symptoms:
Particularly harmful to people with weakened immune systems, such as young children and the elderly, Aspergillus can cause serious infections. Releasing aflatoxin, a chemical that can cause liver damage and cancer, Aspergillus is one of the more dangerous household molds to encounter.
3. Cladosporium Allergy
With a powdery texture and grey, brown, or black in color, Cladosporium can have dark-pigmented conidia that occur in simple or branching chains.
As a mold that can grow on both dead and living matter, it is commonly found on food, dead plants, insulation, wood, and dark, damp environments, such as basements.
If exposed to Cladosporium, you may experience allergic reactions similar to hay fever. This can include dry skin, sneezing, runny nose, scratchy throat, coughing, and watery eyes. On the more severe end, you could also suffer asthma attacks, fungal sinusitis, tightness in your chest, and difficulty breathing.
4. Memnoniella Allergy
Although very similar to Stachybotrys, Memnoniella mold is smaller and is usually a dark green or black color.
Growing in damp areas like bathrooms and basements, Memnoniella can also be found on cotton, wool, canvas, walls, and ceilings.
While this mold is less common and poses a lesser health risk than others, you can experience severe symptoms. Most commonly, these symptoms include respiratory problems, coughing, and headaches.
5. Penicillium Allergy
With over 300 species, Penicillium mold is typically blue or green. Named after the Latin word for paintbrush, the spores of Penicillium form into what closely resembles a paintbrush.
As a mold that has been identified world-wide, Penicillium can grow anywhere. From air and soil to leather, food, and insulation, this is a prevalent household mold.
Although Penicillium has saved countless lives, there are species of Penicillium that produce toxic compounds. If a mold-sensitive individual is exposed to the spores, they can experience congestion, eye irritation, and coughing. If food with Penicillium mold is ingested, it will also irritate the stomach.
6. Stachybotrys Allergy
More notoriously known as toxic black mold, Stachybotrys is dark green or black in color with a slimy texture.
Because it thrives on material with a high cellulose and low nitrogen content, Stachybotrys is commonly found on fiberboard, gypsum board, paper, dust, and lint. Therefore, this toxic mold can grow in walls, ceilings, and floorboards as long as there is consistent moisture present.
As its commonly-known name denotes, Stachybotrys can cause severe headaches, asthma, dizziness, and joint pain. In addition to the physical symptoms, it can cause fatigue and mental impairment. Furthermore, exposure to Stachybotrys has been linked to cancer, internal organ failure, and multiple deaths infant deaths.
Although general practitioner-prescribed medicines address the symptoms of mold allergies, they often miss the mark in tackling the cause. Moreover, many of these medications come with a laundry list of unwanted side effects. As a result, you may start to wonder if the mold allergies are worse than the side effects of the medication.
Rather than just address the symptoms, you can explore homeopathic solutions. As a better long-term option, homeopathic solutions tackle mold allergies from within, alleviating the stress on your immune system. To lay out some natural alternatives, here are some homeopathic solutions to explore:
1. Change Up Your Diet
For many mold allergy sufferers, the exposure doesn’t end with airborne spores. In fact, many foods contain mold spores that can wreak havoc on your immune system, if you’re mold sensitive. Consequently, simple changes in your diet can produce dramatic results in lessening your symptoms. Here are some examples of the diet changes you can make:
Remove These Foods from Your Diet:
- Sour Cream
- High-Yeast Breads, like Pumpernickel
- Soy Sauce
- Pickled and Smoked Meats
- Dried Fruit
- Processed, Canned, and Bottled Foods
- High Sugar Fruits, like pineapple, mango, bananas, melons, oranges, and grapes
Add These Foods to Your Diet:
- Pastured and organic animal products, like beef, bison, lamb, veal, wild-caught seafood, poultry, and pastured eggs
- Ginger, garlic, cayenne, and horseradish
- Organic fresh fruit, like berries, apples, lemons, limes
- Yeast-Free Breads, such as flatbreads and tortillas
- Low-Carb veggies, like broccoli, spinach, kale, cabbage, arugula, cauliflower, cucumber, peppers, tomatoes, beets, carrots, yams, onions, leeks, asparagus, garlic, and artichokes.
- Raw nuts and seeds, like sunflower, pumpkin, flax, and chia seeds, and low mold nuts like almonds
- Extra virgin olive oil, coconut milk, coconut oil, organic butter, and avocados.
- Filtered water, non-fruity herbal teas, mineral water, fresh veggie juice, low-mold alcohols like vodka and gin.
2. Add Some Herbs and Supplements
Another homeopathic measure to alleviate your symptoms is adding beneficial herbs and supplements to your diet. Here are some to include:
- Pau d’arco
- Oregano Oil
- Tea Tree Oil
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Grapefruit Seed Extract
- Powdered Licorice
- Lemongrass Oil
- Echinacea Angustifolia (Purple Coneflower)
- Grape Seed Extract
- Aloe Vera
- Tannate Plant Extracts
- Flaxseed Oil
- Vitamin C, A, and E
3. Explore Some Herbal Medicine
In order to relieve your symptoms with more natural methods, you can explore some herbal medicines. Here are a few to consider:
- Dong Quai
- This serves as an effective anti-inflammatory and antihistamine.
- Eyebright – Use this medicine to reduce congestion, as well as itchy eyes and sneezing.
- Gingko – Containing bioflavonoids, this medicine is also an antihistamine and anti-inflammatory.
- Milk Thistle – In addition to reducing allergic, inflammatory, and histaminic reactions, milk thistle supports your liver function.
- Red clover – This medicine serves as a resistance-builder to mold.
- Yarrow – Yarrow alleviates congestion and reduces secretion.
- Stinging nettles – Stinging nettles are another anti-inflammatory and antihistamine.
4. Take Some Natural Remedies
If you’re looking for a way to fortify your immune system against mold, here are some natural remedies to explore:
- To help detoxify your liver and support the production of glutathione, take 1-2 caps, twice a day of ThyroLiver Protect. Using selenium, milk thistle extract, Alpha-Lipoic Acid, and N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine, this medicine helps your liver neutralize and process mold spores.
- For added support to your liver and digestive tract, take 1-2 caps, twice a day of Super Glutathione.
- To help your digestive tract detoxify mold spores, use 1-2 caps of coconut charcoal between meals and before bed.
- Use this supplement to help with discharge from your eyes and nose, and to alleviate hoarseness.
- To alleviate discharge from your eyes and nose, a dry cough, sneezing, and diarrhea, take Euphrasia.
- For discharge from your eyes, cold sores, a loss of your sense of taste and smell, and headaches, take natrum muriaticum.
- WWith Wyethia, you can alleviate extreme itchiness in the nose and throat, a swollen throat, and blocked nasal passages.
- If you have a runny nose during the day and a dry nose at night, Nux Vomica may be what you need. Additionally, it can relieve sneeze attacks and outdoor reactions to pollen.
Keep Your House Clean
Most harmful indoor mold growth starts with dust, dander, and moisture. Therefore, your best bet at keeping mold at bay in is keeping a clean home. This means regularly dusting and vacuuming with a HEPA filter vacuum to eliminate dust and dirt. Furthermore, you should keep damp places like your bathrooms, kitchen, and basement clean and dry.
Reduce Humidity Levels
Another important way to keep your home mold-free is regulating the humidity levels. In order to best track and control indoor humidity, we recommend purchasing a hygrometer and dehumidifier. In fact, many dehumidifiers contain a built-in hygrometer, allowing you to easily measure and maintain a healthy level of humidity.
Keep Outside Spores Outside
In order to avoid bringing harmful mold spores into your home, there are plenty of simple measures you can take. Since many mold spores are found in piles of leaves, grass, and dirt, your shoes can track them into your house. Therefore, you can avoid bringing them inside by taking off and leaving your shoes by the door. Also, you should wash your clothes and shower each evening, so you’re not taking any lingering spores to bed with you.
Filter Your Air
Because mold is everywhere, it’s impossible to avoid bringing it into your home. However, you can eliminate a large portion of it from your air. With the right air filtration system, you can breathe easy with clean, mold-free air. Additionally, there are many different air purifiers on the market with HEPA filters that are very effective in providing mold-free air.
Invest in Some Houseplants
One of our favorite natural ways to remove mold spores from your home air is keeping some purifying houseplants. In many cases, certain houseplants can even help improve conditions for asthma sufferers. For some 2-in-1 natural relief, here are some plants to consider keeping:
- Peace Lilies
- Spider Plants
- Bamboo Palm
- Areca Palm
- Dracaena Plants
- Snake Plants
- Boston Fern
- Aloe Plants
Stop Mold in Its Tracks with RestoPros
Although you can treat your mold allergies with homeopathic solutions, there are preventative measures you can take to keep a mold-free home. With our knowledgeable mold removal experts, the team at RestoPros is dedicated to helping residents of the DFW area fight back against mold. For help from mold removal experts you can trust, call us today at 855-587-3786 or fill out a service request form on our website!
Symptoms of Mold Allergies
While tree, grass, and weed pollen seasons coincide with the season in which these plants are blooming, mold spores can exist all year round both outside and inside. Mold spores can trigger allergies and asthma symptoms. Those who are allergic to mold, experience typical respiratory allergy symptoms including:
- Nasal congestion
- Runny nose
- Irritated eyes
- Itchy throat
Fall is a common time for mold growth outside due to the damp and cold weather. Those who are allergic to mold spores should minimize their exposure and work to control mold where they live.
How to Minimize Exposure to Mold
Mold is a fungus that can grow many places and it is almost impossible to avoid; however, there are several of protection products that can help you minimize your exposure to mold spores.
Use a N95 Mask – Using a NIOSH N95 mask will prevent you from breathing in mold spores you may be exposed to when working outside or in damp areas.
Wear Gloves – When cleaning areas where mold may have grown such as bathrooms or outside doing yard work, use gloves to prevent skin exposure to the mold spores.
Tips to Controlling Mold
Avoidance is the first step to treating allergies. When avoidance and medications do not control your allergy symptoms, then immunotherapy is typically recommended for pollen and mold allergies. Controlling mold in your environment is crucial whether you are allergic to mold or not. The key is to control moisture levels. Here are a few tips to help prevent mold growth in and around your home:
Mold typically grows in hot and humid environments. It is important to properly ventilate your kitchen, bathroom, or laundry room to control the humidity levels. Simple activities such as boiling water, washing clothes, and taking showers can add moisture to the air. If these areas are not ventilated properly to the outside, moisture can build up and encourage mold growth. Instead of opening a window, use an exhaust fan to vent the area, as open windows may let in pollen from the outside.
Using a HEPA filter in your HVAC or air cleaner can help catch mold spores and improve your indoor air quality. If the air is too humid, use a dehumidifier to reduce moisture levels. Dehumidifiers should be drained and cleaned regularly.
Monitor your humidity levels
Mold thrives in areas that have a high humidity level. Using a moisture meter you can track the level of moisture in your home and take steps to keep humidity levels between 30 to 60 percent as the EPA recommends. If you see condensation appear on a wall or window, dry it immediately and take steps to properly ventilate the area to prevent the condensation from building up again.
Fix leaks and Damp Areas
Be aware of the problem areas in your home, there are certain areas – under sinks, basements, garages – that tend to get wet more often. Fix leaky pipes and keep the humidity levels under control by using a dehumidifier if necessary. Mold can destroy the material it is growing on, if mold has saturated an area, you may need to contact a professional for mold remediation and clean up.
Once fall arrives many homes decorate with fall and holiday decorations. Organic fall decorations include displays of corn shock, hay bales, and an assortment of gourds and pumpkins(carved and not), these may mold within a few weeks of being left out in the weather. Discard of moldy vegetables and organic decorations promptly as you notice the mold growth. After the holidays, when putting other decorations away, ensure they are completely dry and give them a good wipe down to remove any pollen or mold spores.
Rake Leaves, Drain Water away from Home, and Clean Gutters
After tackling the inside, check around the outside of your house. Leaves can pile up in the yard; wet leaves are the perfect place for mold spores to grow. Raking and bagging the leaves can protect your family as they enjoy the cooler outside weather in the fall. Drain water away from your home and clean out your gutters regularly to prevent clogs, leaks, and mold growth. For more information on where mold can grow and why; visit the EPA’s website on mold growth.
While it might not be possible to get rid of mold completely, taking these steps can help control mold in your home and control your mold allergies. If avoidance and over the counter medications are not controlling your allergy symptoms, schedule an appointment with one of our physicians, and they can help you find relief.
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Apr 3, 2019.
- Disease Reference
If you have a mold allergy, your immune system overreacts when you breathe in mold spores. A mold allergy can make you cough, make your eyes itch and cause other symptoms that make you miserable. In some people, mold allergy is linked to asthma and exposure causes restricted breathing and other airway symptoms.
If you have a mold allergy, the best defense is to reduce your exposure to the types of mold that cause your reaction. Medications can help keep mold allergy reactions under control.
Mold allergy causes the same signs and symptoms that occur in other types of upper respiratory allergies. Signs and symptoms of allergic rhinitis caused by mold allergy can include:
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Cough and postnasal drip
- Itchy eyes, nose and throat
- Watery eyes
- Dry, scaly skin
Mold allergy symptoms vary from person to person and range from mild to severe. You may have year-round symptoms or symptoms that flare up only during certain times of the year. You may notice symptoms when the weather is damp or when you’re in indoor or outdoor spaces that have high concentrations of mold.
Mold allergy and asthma
If you have a mold allergy and asthma, your asthma symptoms may be triggered by exposure to mold spores. In some people, exposure to certain molds can cause a severe asthma attack. Signs and symptoms of asthma include:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest tightness
When to see a doctor
If you have a stuffy nose, sneezing, watery eyes, shortness of breath, wheezing or other bothersome symptoms that persist, see your doctor.
Like any allergy, mold allergy symptoms are triggered by an overly sensitive immune system response. When you inhale tiny, airborne mold spores, your body recognizes them as foreign invaders and develops allergy-causing antibodies to fight them.
After the exposure has passed, you still produce antibodies that “remember” this invader so that any later contact with the mold causes your immune system to react. This reaction triggers the release of substances such as histamine, which cause itchy, watery eyes, runny nose, sneezing and other mold allergy symptoms.
Molds are very common both inside and outside. There are many types, but only certain kinds of mold cause allergies. Being allergic to one type of mold doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be allergic to another. Some of the most common molds that cause allergies include alternaria, aspergillus, cladosporium and penicillium.
A number of factors can make you more likely to develop a mold allergy or worsen your existing mold allergy symptoms, including:
- Having a family history of allergies. If allergies and asthma run in your family, you’re more likely to develop a mold allergy.
- Working in an occupation that exposes you to mold. Occupations where mold exposure may be high include farming, dairy work, logging, baking, millwork, carpentry, greenhouse work, winemaking and furniture repair.
Living in a house with high humidity. If your indoor humidity is higher than 50 percent, you may have increased exposure to mold in your home.
Mold can grow virtually anywhere if the conditions are right — in basements, behind walls in framing, on soap-coated grout and other damp surfaces, in carpet pads, and in the carpet itself. Exposure to high levels of household mold may trigger mold allergy symptoms.
- Working or living in a building that’s been exposed to excess moisture. Examples include leaky pipes, water seepage during rainstorms and flood damage. At some point, nearly every building has some kind of excessive moisture. This moisture can allow mold to flourish.
- Living in a house with poor ventilation. Tight window and door seals may trap moisture indoors and prevent proper ventilation, creating ideal conditions for mold growth. Damp areas — such as bathrooms, kitchens and basements — are most vulnerable.
Most allergic responses to mold involve hay fever-type symptoms that can make you miserable but aren’t serious. However, certain allergic conditions caused by mold are more severe. These include:
- Mold-induced asthma. In people allergic to mold, breathing in spores can trigger an asthma flare-up. If you have a mold allergy and asthma, be sure you have an emergency plan in place in case of a severe asthma attack.
- Allergic fungal sinusitis. This results from an inflammatory reaction to fungus in the sinuses.
- Allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis. This reaction to fungus in the lungs can occur in people with asthma or cystic fibrosis.
- Hypersensitivity pneumonitis. This rare condition occurs when exposure to airborne particles such as mold spores causes the lungs to become inflamed. It may be triggered by exposure to allergy-causing dust at work.
Other problems caused by mold
Besides allergens, mold may pose other health risks to susceptible people. For example, mold may cause infections of the skin or mucous membranes. Generally, however, mold doesn’t cause systemic infections except for people with impaired immune systems, such as those who have HIV/AIDS or who are taking immunosuppressant medication.
To reduce mold growth in your home, consider these tips:
- Eliminate sources of dampness in basements, such as pipe leaks or groundwater seepage.
- Use a dehumidifier in any area of your home that smells musty or damp. Keep your humidity levels below 50 percent. Remember to clean the collection bucket and condensation coils regularly.
- Use an air conditioner, and consider installing central air conditioning with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter attachment. The HEPA filter can trap mold spores from outdoor air before they’re circulated inside your home.
- Change filters on your furnace and air conditioners regularly. Have forced air heating ducts inspected and, if necessary, cleaned.
- Be sure all bathrooms are properly ventilated, and run the ventilation fan during a shower or bath and immediately after to dry the air. If you don’t have a ventilation fan, open a window or door while you’re showering or bathing.
- Don’t carpet bathrooms and basements.
- Promote groundwater drainage away from your house by removing leaves and vegetation from around the foundation and cleaning out rain gutters frequently.
- Keep organic plant containers clean and dry, such as those made of straw, wicker or hemp.
- Toss or recycle old books and newspapers. If left in damp places, such as basements, they can quickly become moldy.
Besides considering your signs and symptoms, your doctor may want to conduct a physical examination to identify or exclude other medical problems. He or she may also recommend one or more tests to see if you have an allergy that can be identified. These include:
- Skin prick test. This test uses diluted amounts of common or suspected allergens, such as molds found in the local area. During the test, these substances are applied to the skin in your arm or back with tiny punctures. If you’re allergic, you develop a raised bump (hive) at the test location on your skin.
- Blood test. A blood test, sometimes called the radioallergosorbent test, can measure your immune system’s response to mold by measuring the amount of certain antibodies in your bloodstream known as immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies. A blood sample is sent to a medical laboratory, where it can be tested for evidence of sensitivity to specific types of mold.
Positive reaction to allergy test
A small area of swelling with surrounding redness is typical of a positive allergy skin test.
The best treatment for any allergy is to take steps to avoid exposure to your triggers. However, molds are common, and you can’t completely avoid them. While there’s no sure way to cure allergic rhinitis caused by a mold allergy, a number of medications can ease your symptoms. These include:
Nasal corticosteroids. These nasal sprays help prevent and treat the inflammation caused by an upper respiratory mold allergy. For many people, they’re the most effective allergy medications, and they’re often the first medication prescribed.
Examples include ciclesonide (Omnaris, Zetonna), fluticasone (Xhance), mometasone (Nasonex), triamcinolone and budesonide (Rhinocort). Nosebleeds and nasal dryness are the most common side effects of these medications, which are generally safe for long-term use.
Antihistamines. These medications can help with itching, sneezing and runny nose. They work by blocking histamine, an inflammatory chemical released by your immune system during an allergic reaction.
Over-the-counter (OTC) antihistamines include loratadine (Alavert, Claritin), fexofenadine (Allegra Allergy) and cetirizine (Xyzal Allergy 24Hrs, Zyrtec Allergy). They cause little to no drowsiness or dry mouth. Older antihistamines such as clemastine work as well but can make you drowsy, affect work and school performance, and cause dry mouth.
The nasal sprays azelastine (Astelin, Astepro) and olopatadine (Patanase) are available by prescription. Side effects of the nasal sprays may include a bitter taste in your mouth and nasal dryness.
- Oral decongestants. OTC oral decongestants include Sudafed and Drixoral. Because oral decongestants can raise blood pressure, avoid them if you have high blood pressure (hypertension). Possible side effects include high blood pressure, insomnia, loss of appetite, heart pounding (palpitations), anxiety and restlessness.
- Decongestant nasal sprays. These include oxymetazoline (Afrin, others). Don’t use these medications for more than three or four days, as they can cause congestion to come back with even worse symptoms when you stop using them. Other possible side effects include headache, insomnia and nervousness.
Montelukast. Montelukast (Singulair) is a tablet taken to block the action of leukotrienes — immune system chemicals that cause allergy symptoms such as excess mucus. It has proved effective in treating allergic asthma, and it’s also effective in treating mold allergy.
Like antihistamines, this medication is not as effective as inhaled corticosteroids. It’s often used when nasal sprays cannot be tolerated or when mild asthma is present.
Other treatments for mold allergy include:
- Immunotherapy. This treatment — a series of allergy shots — can be very effective for some allergies, such as hay fever. Allergy shots are used for only certain types of mold allergy.
Nasal lavage. To help with irritating nasal symptoms, your doctor may recommend that you rinse your nose daily with salt water. Use a specially designed squeeze bottle, such as the one included in saline kits (Sinus Rinse, others), bulb syringe or neti pot to irrigate your nasal passages. This home remedy, called nasal lavage, can help keep your nose free of irritants.
Use water that’s distilled, sterile, previously boiled and cooled, or filtered using a filter with an absolute pore size of 1 micron or smaller to make up the irrigation solution. Also be sure to rinse the irrigation device after each use with similarly distilled, sterile, previously boiled and cooled, or filtered water and leave open to air-dry.
Lifestyle and home remedies
To keep mold allergy symptoms at bay, take these measures:
- Sleep with your windows closed to keep out outdoor mold. The concentration of airborne mold spores tends to be greatest at night, when the weather is cool and damp.
- Wear a dust mask over your nose and mouth to keep mold spores out if you have to rake leaves, mow your lawn or work around compost.
- Avoid going outdoors at certain times, such as immediately after a rainstorm, in foggy or damp weather, or when the published mold count is high.
Preparing for an appointment
Many people are diagnosed and treated for allergies by their primary care physicians. However, depending on the severity of your allergies, your primary care doctor may refer you to a doctor who specializes in treating allergies.
You can take steps to ensure you cover everything that’s important to you during your appointment. Here’s some information to help you get ready and know what to expect from your doctor.
What you can do
- Ask if there are any pre-appointment restrictions when making your appointment. For example, if you’re having allergy tests, your doctor will likely want you to stop taking allergy medications for several days before the test.
- Write down any symptoms you’re experiencing as well as where you were and what you were doing when the symptoms started.
- Make a list of all the medications, vitamins or supplements you take, and bring that list with you to your appointment.
- Write down any questions you have for your doctor.
Preparing a list of questions helps you make the most of your time with your doctor. For a mold allergy, some questions you might want to ask include:
- What do you think is causing these symptoms?
- Are there tests available that can confirm a specific allergy? Do I need to prepare for these tests?
- How can I treat a mold allergy?
- What side effects can I expect from allergy medications?
- How can I get mold out of my home?
- Is there a generic alternative to the medicine you’re prescribing?
- I have another health condition. How can I best manage these conditions together?
- Do you have brochures or other printed materials? What websites do you recommend?
What to expect from your doctor
To determine whether allergies or other possible causes are responsible for your symptoms, your doctor may ask you a number of questions, such as:
- Exactly what are your symptoms?
- What seems to trigger symptoms or make them worse?
- Are your symptoms worse during certain times of the year or certain times of the day?
- Do your symptoms flare up when you’re in certain locations, such as outdoors or in your basement?
- What medications do you take, including herbal remedies?
- What other health problems do you have?
- Do other members of your family have allergies? What kinds?
- Are you exposed to mold, dust, fumes or chemicals at work?
- Do you know if you have mold in your home?
What you can do in the meantime
While you’re waiting to see your doctor, there are numerous over-the-counter allergy medications that may ease your symptoms.
If you have visible mold in your home, it will help to have someone who’s not allergic to mold clean the area using a solution of 1 ounce of bleach to 1 quart of water or a commercially available mold-cleaning product. If you have to clean up the mold yourself, be sure to wear long rubber gloves, safety goggles and a mask to limit your exposure to the mold.
Black mold exposure and black mold poisoning can cause a wide range of health problems. Some black mold symptoms can actually be really serious. You may have found this article from googling “black mold in shower” or “mold in house.” Unfortunately, mold problems are not unusual in the home, and the shower is a classic location to find black mold flourishing. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, molds in general are very common in homes and buildings and they can grow anywhere indoors where there is moisture. (1)
You can help your body recover if you’ve been exposed to black mold. You can also naturally rid your home of black mold and prevent it in the first place! Black mold symptoms are highly unpleasant so you really don’t want to deal with them if you don’t have to.
What Is Black Mold?
Black mold is easily distinguishable from other molds because, not surprisingly, it tends to be dark black. Black mold, also known as Stachybotrys chartarum or Stachybotrys atra, can be found indoors growing on a variety of surfaces, especially things with a high cellulose content like wood, fiberboard, gypsum board, paper, lint and dust. (2)
Other than being black, what does black mold look like? Black mold can actually be a greenish or grayish black. It has a distinctive odor that’s musty and mildew-like.
What is mold? A mold is a type of fungus that grows in filaments and reproduces by forming mold spores that cannot be seen by the naked human eye. Mold can grow and thrive in any season, indoors or outdoors, in damp, warm and humid environments, and it spreads like wild fire. Mold itself flourishes in warm, moist environments, but mold spores can actually survive in harsh, dry environments. The spores float around in indoor and outdoor air. When the spores land on a moist surface, the mold can then start to grow.
Black mold is most likely to rear its ugly head in areas of the home that are warm, humid and damp. In addition to showers, basements and crawlspaces that may have leaks, or some other sources of moisture, are commonly susceptible to the growth of toxic black mold.
I want to note that according to the CDC, the term “toxic mold” is not accurate. However, it does admit that molds (like black mold) can produce toxins (specifically mycotoxins) that are toxic or poisonous. So maybe we should call it toxin-producing black mold.
Black Mold Symptoms
There are several common black mold symptoms. Some of these symptoms of mold exposure include: (3)
- Chronic fatigue
- Eye irritation
- Irritation to the mucous membranes of the mouth, nose and throat
- Chronic coughing
Black mold symptoms are even worse if the black mold exposure is severe, has lasted for a long time or if the individual has a mold allergy. Symptoms could include nausea, vomiting, as well as bleeding in the nose and lungs. Studies have also linked household mold exposure to depression. (4)
The extent of black mold symptoms depends upon the number of spores inhaled and the duration of exposure. Black mold easily causes mold allergy symptoms, and symptoms likely persist until you get rid of the the black mold. Sometimes people don’t realize the health problems they’re having are actually black mold symptoms. Black mold is not something to ignore because it only gets worse the longer you ignore it.
If you’re looking for a way to confirm that you have black mold poisoning, some laboratories offer testing for the presence of mycotoxins in the body. Labs use an immunology test called an Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA) to test urine samples for aflatoxins, ochratoxin A and trichothecenes. (5)
Black Mold Causes and Risk Factors
Moisture combined with warmth in any environment is the major predecessor to black mold. Bathrooms, especially showers, are not the only prime locations for mold. The basement, especially if there is any water leakage, is another common area for black mold to flourish.
Another place to watch out for black mold is your HVAC or air conditioning system, which is constantly recycling air. If there is moisture in the air, this can lead to moisture inside the system, which can then lead to mold growth. In addition to the mold actually growing within the inside of the system itself, now you have a system that’s spewing out mold spores into your living space. This is why it’s so important to have your system checked and cleaned regularly, or even replaced if the system already contains mold.
Conventional Treatment of Black Mold
Typically, you can see or smell large black mold infestations. Smaller infestations can be harder to find. Wondering how black mold is conventionally treated? (6)
According to the CDC, “In most cases mold can be removed from hard surfaces by a thorough cleaning with commercial products, soap and water, or a bleach solution of no more than 1 cup of bleach in 1 gallon of water. Absorbent or porous materials like ceiling tiles, drywall, and carpet may have to be thrown away if they become moldy. If you have an extensive amount of mold and you do not think you can manage the cleanup on your own, you may want to contact a professional who has experience in cleaning mold in buildings and homes. It is important to properly clean and dry the area as you can still have an allergic reaction to parts of the dead mold and mold contamination may recur if there is still a source of moisture.”
Are you wondering how to test for mold? One option is to hire a professional mold tester to collect and analyze mold samples. A cheaper option is to order a black mold test kit, which you can use to collect mold samples yourself. You then send the samples to a professional mold testing laboratory.
12 Natural Ways to Deal with Black Mold Symptoms
If you already see or smell black mold, remove it immediately and thoroughly.
If you’re experiencing black mold poisoning, there are thankfully some natural ways to help with your black mold symptoms, including:
1. Raw Garlic
Raw garlic has amazing antifungal abilities, which is just what your body needs when it has been exposed to black mold. Garlic helps to kill off fungi, molds and yeasts. Two to four grams of fresh garlic per day, or 600 milligrams to 900 milligrams of garlic tablets daily, is recommended for toxic mold exposure. (7)
2. Activated Charcoal
Activated charcoal can be taken as a supplement for mold cleansing. Most people don’t think about mold living in their bodies, but it can, and activated charcoal is a potent natural treatment. It traps toxins in the body, allowing them to be flushed out so the body doesn’t reabsorb them. Activated charcoal is made from a variety of sources, but when used for natural healing, it’s important to select activated charcoal made from coconut shells or other natural sources.
It’s so much more than a green pigment found in plants. I’m talking about chlorophyll, which has shown an ability to protect DNA from damage caused by toxic molds like aflatoxin. (8) Chlorophyll also has antibacterial and antifungal properties, making it a highly recommended part of any healthy diet, but especially one that is looking to fight black mold symptoms.
Chlorophyll is in green vegetables, especially dark green leafy ones, so eat them regularly. Chlorella, spirulina and phytoplankton are three of the best sources of chlorophyll; they’re available in a variety of supplement forms.
4. Cut Down or Cut Out Sugar
If you’re suffering from mold toxicity, sugar is definitely not your friend. Fungi, which include molds and yeasts, require the presence of sugar for survival. Eliminate, or significantly cut down, your sugar intake to help to get rid of any black mold symptoms.
When it comes to black mold in your home, these are some of the best natural ways to deal with black mold:
5. Identify the Moisture Source
The absolute key to dealing with black mold anywhere is to identify what’s creating the warm, damp environment in which the black mold can flourish. If you clean up black mold but don’t address the source of the moisture, then the black mold is highly likely to return. No natural or conventional treatment will prevent or remove mold permanently unless you remove mold’s necessary ingredient, which is moisture.
6. Fix the Source
You need to completely fix any water leaks, enable better ventilation where humidity is high and/or address any HVAC system problems. You can also purchase a dehumidifier for any areas that tend to be too humid. Exhaust fans are in kitchens and bathrooms for good reason. Make sure you use them to get moisture out of these prime mold areas.
7. Throw Away Mold-Ridden Items
Discard any items that are porous or if you are unable to completely remove the mold from them. It’s also a very smart idea to get rid of any carpets that have been flooded because they’re very prone to mold. Never paint or caulk over moldy surfaces.
8. Tea Tree Oil
Bleach will definitely work to effectively kill black mold. However, it’s ideal not to turn to bleach since bleach comes with so many concerning health side effects, including irritation to the eyes, mouth, lungs and skin. If you have asthma or another breathing problem, then the use of bleach is even more health-hazardous. Bleach can also burn human tissue, both internally and externally, especially in small children. (9)
Tea tree oil is one of several natural mold killers that you can employ instead of bleach. To put tea tree oil’s natural fungicide power to work, combine two teaspoons of tea tree oil with two cups water in a spray bottle and shake well. Spray the mixture anywhere that you see black mold. Then just let it sit and reapply as needed. Tea tree oil is said to be one of the best natural mold killers. (10) Pine oil can also be used in a similar fashion.
9. Baking Soda
Baking soda is another great natural anti-mold substance. Mix a teaspoon of baking soda with two cups of water in a spray bottle. Make sure to shake the mixture well. Next, spray the moldy areas and use a scrubbing brush to scrub the black mold away. Rinse the area and spray it again with the baking soda solution. This time just let it dry.
Put undiluted white distilled vinegar into a spray bottle and spray the vinegar directly on the moldy area(s). Let it set without any rinsing or scrubbing. This is a smelly natural mold remedy, but it’s said to be highly effective and the vinegar scent will fade.
11. Grapefruit Seed Extract
If you just can’t handle the smell of vinegar (even short term), then there is another option that is odorless. I’m talking about grapefruit seed extract, which is an excellent antifungal both internally and externally. To use it on a moldy area in your home, simply combine 20 drops of grapefruit seed extract with two cups of water in a spray bottle. Shake the mixture and spray it directly on the mold and do not rinse. (11)
12. Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide is another odorless option that can be used to kill black mold. Pour a 3 percent concentration hydrogen peroxide into a spray bottle and spray the moldy areas until they are saturated. Let the hydrogen peroxide sit for at least 10 minutes before scrubbing the area well. Wipe the area with hydrogen peroxide when you’re done scrubbing.
Natural remedies may not be as strong as bleach, and typically need to be repeated, but they are a much healthier route!
Black Mold Prevention
The main way to prevent black mold infestation and black mold exposure is moisture control. If you have a water leak or flooding, address the source of the water to prevent mold growth. If you’re having trouble in your bathroom and don’t have an exhaust fan, then it’s a a good idea to install one.
You should also aim to keep humidity down in your home — ideally, not higher than 50 percent. If humidity is a problem where you live, then a dehumidifier can be helpful. This is especially important when the weather is humid outdoors. In warmer months, an air conditioner can help to keep the humidity down.
Also, make sure to properly ventilate your home. It’s especially important to have exhaust fans in your bathrooms and kitchen. Make sure not to carpet your bathroom(s) because this will only increase the trapping of moisture. You should also remove and replace any carpets in your home that have experienced flooding.
Regularly cleaning your home, especially your bathroom and basement, with natural anti-mold products will help to keep black mold away, too.
Black Mold Precautions
If you do opt to go the conventional route and use bleach to clean up black mold, never mix bleach with ammonia or any other household cleaning product. Doing so can cause extremely dangerous and even fatal fumes.
Always wear protective gloves and eye wear when cleaning mold. Make sure you cover the skin of your arms as well as your hands. You should also wear a respirator or mask designed for work with mold spores. A N-95 respirator is available online or at some hardware stores. To increase ventilation, open windows to let fresh air inside.
If you have an area of black mold that is more than 10 square feet, consult the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency guide titled “Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings.” This document also applies to other building types.
If you have any health concerns or are currently taking any medication, check with your doctor before using any internal natural remedies for black mold symptoms. If you’re looking for a doctor who has experience in diagnosing and treating mold and mycotoxin-related illnesses, you can check out the American Academy of Environmental Medicine.
Final Thoughts on Black Mold Symptoms
Toxin-producing black mold can cause serious black mold symptoms in adults and children. It can also cause extensive damage to your home as well as your health. I hope this article helps you to better understand how to identify, prevent and completely eliminate black mold from your life in every way. Remember that the No. 1 key to black mold prevention is moisture control.
Read Next: Indoor Air Pollution Worse Than Outdoor
Allergies? Tips to minimize your exposure to mold
Even if you are getting allergy shots or taking medications, the best way to help your shots and other allergy medicines do their job is to reduce your exposure to allergens. Avoidance is the best medicine! The most common symptom is a stuffy or runny nose due to allergic rhinitis. The major categories of allergens that trigger it are pollen (from trees, grass, and weeds), dust mites and cockroaches, pet dander, and mold (the allergy trigger that can be the most challenging to identify).
Molds and other fungi
The spores of fungi (molds, mildew, yeasts, and mush- rooms) are ubiquitous and, like pollen, are very light and travel in the air. Capable of surviving in dry, adverse conditions, fungal spores can live a long time. However, they especially thrive in a damp, warm environment, indoors or out.
Many people are allergic to mold, and in some people it may trigger asthma. Doctors have long recognized the connection between respiratory diseases caused by the inhalation of mold spores and an allergic response.
Outdoor molds include Alternaria, whose spore count peaks in late summer or early fall, and Cladosporium, whose spore count peaks during the summer months. People who are allergic to mold should minimize exposure to airborne molds by avoiding wooded areas or activities like raking damp leaves. Also avoid outdoor activities on windy and rainy days, since mold spore counts increase in warm, humid weather and immediately after summer rainstorms.
Indoor molds are also common, with more than 1,000 different molds found in U.S. homes. Indoor exposure to mold can be linked to not only to rhinitis symptoms, but also coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath.
Tips for avoiding mold
The best way to avoid mold allergens is to prevent mold from forming in the first place. Molds like moist places, so try to find and fix sources of dampness.
Outdoors, sensitive individuals should avoid areas that are likely to have mold, such as compost piles, cut grass, and wooded areas. Remove damaged wood, since molds live off dead vegetable matter such as wet, rotten wood.
To minimize indoor mold try these additional tips:
- Keep humidity levels as low as you can—no higher than 50%—all day long. Use an air conditioner or dehumidifier during humid months.
- Be sure the home has adequate ventilation, including exhaust fans in bathrooms and kitchens. Install a bathroom exhaust fan that vents directly to the outside.
- Clean mold-covered surfaces with bleach and water (1:10 ratio). Don’t mix bleach with ammonia. If mold has impregnated drywall and insulation, you’ll have to rip it out and replace it.
- Remove mold-impregnated carpets and upholstery and throw away any moldy items (including clothing, books, and papers).
- Do not carpet bathrooms and basements.
- Add mold inhibitors to paint when redecorating.
- If you have house plants, don’t overwater; it encourages mold in the soil.
For more on pinpointing and treating your allergies read Controlling Your Allergies, a Special Health Report from Harvard Medical School.
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