Mold Allergies

Columbia Asthma & Allergy Clinic

Allergists, Asthma Specialists, & Immunologists located in the Pacific Region

When you have hay fever symptoms, but they last year-round, there’s a good chance you have mold allergies. The doctors at Columbia Asthma & Allergy Clinic have helped many patients learn how to avoid mold and gain symptom relief. To schedule an appointment, use the online booking feature or call one of the 13 offices in four Pacific Region states: in Fremont, Oakland, Redwood City, Sunnyvale, San Mateo, and San Leandro, California; Clackamas and Gresham, Oregon; Bellevue, Fishers Landing, Longview, and Salmon Creek, Washington; and Eagle, Idaho.

Mold Allergies Q & A

What should I know about mold and mold allergies?

Mold is a type of fungus that thrives in warm, damp environments. Outdoor molds grow on rotting wood, fallen leaves, grasses, grains, and compost piles. Inside, you find mold in damp areas such as the bathroom, kitchen, and basement.

Molds reproduce by releasing tiny spores that travel through the air, making them easy to inhale. If your immune system overreacts to the mold spores and identifies them as harmful, you develop a mold allergy.

What symptoms develop due to a mold allergy?

Outdoor molds cause the worst symptoms in summer and fall, then they’re inactive in the winter. But since they grow indoors, mold allergies, and your symptoms, can last year-round.

Mold allergies cause symptoms that are like other seasonal allergies:

  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Congested nose
  • Itchy nose, eyes, or mouth
  • Red, watery eyes
  • Dry, itchy skin

When mold spores get into your lungs, they can trigger an asthma attack.

How are mold allergies diagnosed?

Your doctor at Columbia Asthma & Allergy Clinic reviews your medical history, and if they suspect a mold allergy, they may perform a skin prick test or allergen-specific blood test. 

A skin prick test is done using extracts of different types of fungi, putting a small amount on your skin and then gently pricking the area beneath the sample. If you have a skin reaction, you’re allergic. In some cases, patients have a follow-up blood test to verify the results.

How are mold allergies treated?

After allergy testing identifies the exact mold causing your allergy, the first line of treatment is developing a plan to avoid exposure to the mold. For example, you may want to stay indoors when the mold count is high, and wear a mask when you’re doing yard work.

You can also minimize your exposure to mold spores in your house by lowering indoor humidity, using exhaust fans in the bathroom, scouring sinks and tubs, and repairing water leaks.

In addition to avoiding mold, your doctor at Columbia Asthma & Allergy Clinic may prescribe medications to relieve your symptoms. When medication and avoidance tactics don’t help, you may be a good candidate for allergy shots. Allergy shots desensitize your immune system so it stops reacting to mold. 

To get relief from mold allergies, call Columbia Asthma & Allergy Clinic or schedule an appointment online.