What are the different types of Mold that cause allergies?
Many types of molds exist in Canada, but around twelve have been documented to cause potential allergic reactions in people. These mold are:
- Aureobasidium (Pullularia)
- Cladosporium (hormodendrum)
- Stachybotrys Chartarum
- Serpula Lacrymans
Alternaria, Aspergillus, and Penicillium are the most common molds found in homes across Canada, specifically in our wet climate in Victoria BC. These mold types can cause the development of an allergy to mold, when in high enough concentrations and with long enough exposure to mold and its associated mold spores respiratory issues can start to occur.
Are there other factors that can make you more susceptible to a Mold allergy?
Many factors can make an individual more susceptible to developing a mold allergy, including;
- Family Conditions. If you have a family history that has been susceptible to allergens or asthma.
- Work place conditions. Many jobs can put you in danger of being in constant contact with mold, these include: construction, roofing, farming, logging, baking, millwork, carpentry, greenhouse work, winemaking, marijuana grow ups and any job that would require you to be in a wet/damp environment for a long duration of time.
- Living in high humidity homes. When homes get above 60% relative humidity or 50 percent humidity, the opportunity for mold growth increases significantly. Mold can collect in HVAC systems that don’t have dehumidifiers or aren’t cleaned properly. This puts you at a higher risk for increased exposure as you are constantly breathing in potentially contaminated air. Newer homes are built extremely “tight” for example windows and doors now a days can have too much weatherproofing which can cause seals that trap moisture and doesn’t allow the home to breath.
- Living in a home that has had prior water intrusions or mold damage. Mold does not die, it will go dormant. As soon as there is enough moisture it will start to grow again and release its toxic mold spores. This is what allows it to continue to spread throughout a home or apartment.
- Due to this, mold damage that has been severe is extremely hard to fully remove, which causes it to come back again and again. If you see mold or evidence of a prior water damage event, it is important to contact a professional to inspect the home and potentially remediate as soon as possible.
Mold is extremely resilient and will grow almost anywhere. All mold needs to thrive is a humid environment, that are primarily dark, untouched areas in your home. Common areas are; crawl spaces, attics, bathrooms, under kitchen sinks, walls, framing and basements with little air flow.
What are the common symptoms from Mold allergies?
Symptoms of mold allergies can be similar to most other common respiratory infections, such as:
- Constant Sneezing
- Stuffy or Runny Nose
- Itchy & Watery eyes
- Nose or Throat irritation
- Dry Scaly or Flaky Skin
Symptoms will vary in degree from individual to individual. You can be affected year-round, in certain homes, or even specific months of the year. If you are prone to allergy symptoms, it is crucial to have your home tested from mold just as it would be to go to the doctor for an allergy test.
What are the best strategies to reduce the chances of Mold allergies in your home?
Clean and repair water damaged areas immediately to prevent the mold from starting to grow. Mold can start to grow in as little as 48-72 hours after a water intrusion so preventing mold growth inside of your home is a key strategy in stopping the allergens from causing an allergic reaction. Utilizing a dehumidifier is an excellent strategy to help prevent mold growth, a simple unit from your local department store can do wonders when used in humid areas. If you do spot mold growth clean it as quickly as possible before it starts to spread, a 50/50 mixture of household vinegar and hydrogen peroxide is one of the best mold killing options. After the mold has been successfully killed, look for the cause of moisture and correct the issue. If you don’t know where the moisture is coming from it is best to consult a professional for an inspection.
Can there be other problems caused by Mold exposure?
Many allergic reactions caused by mold can appear similar to pollen allergies. But there are some individuals, usually with compromised immune systems that will have an extremely severe response. These include:
- Asthmatic induced Mold Response. Toxic Mold spores can induce asthma much like common allergens, but some people with hypersensitivities can react with a severe asthma attack.
- Mold Spores causing Rhinitis. Inflammation of the inner nose caused by spores and mycotoxins released from mold.
- Mold Spores causing Sinusitis. Inflammation or infection of the sinuses due to high concentration of mold spores in a homes indoor air.
- Hypersensitivity pneumonitis. This can be an extremely rare reaction but is is similar to sinusitis, which is caused by a high concentration of mold spores in the homes air.
- Bronchopulmonary Aspergillosis. Is specific to Aspergillus mold and can occur in people that have Cystic Fibrosis or Asthma. .
- Dermatitis. This is a rare case but when mold concentrations are high for prolonged periods of time, dermatitis (skin rash) can form on open areas or even areas that are in contact with mold infested clothing. Immediate removal from the home and doctor intervention is the best course of action.
Can a Mold allergy make my asthma more severe?
Yes- having asthma and breathing in toxic mold spores can have a detrimental effect on your respiratory condition. If you already have a weekend immune system or are immune compromised you are at risk for a severe asthma attack. Common symptoms from asthma can include:
– Shortness of breath
– Tightness in the chest cavity
– Sensation of not getting enough air
If you believe you are your family is suffering from a Mold allergy contact Coastal Pure Air today for a free inspection. With our advanced dry fog mold removal technology we can make certain that you will be breathing the purest air possible. Coastal Pure Air is based in Victoria BC and services Southern Vancouver Island providing Mold inspections, testing and removal services.