Spring is almost here!

Spring is almost here! The temperature is starting to even out and we know that soon, April showers will be upon us helping new buds to spring up on trees and setting us up for the summer. Of course, this time of year can bring increasing humidity as the rain falls more than usual. We at HNST Mold Inspections know that mold loves moisture and it thrives during this time of year. That’s why this time of year is a great time to get your home inspected for mold and to get the mold removed before the moisture arrives.

Since there is usually a checklist for a homeowner for spring cleaning, spring lawn cleanup and other things to do around the home, adding mold inspection to the list fits in perfectly. As you work to remove dust, clean debris and go through the basement you may run into signs of moisture problems, or even visible mold. This is particularly true for unpacking stored air conditioners, give these portable or window units a good cleaning and inspect them for mold. You want to make sure that they are completely clean before use.

In the case of central air, this is not so easy and it is best for you to call in a certified inspector who can ensure that your air ducts are free and clear of mold. Experts can also offer you tips to keep your home free of mold such as reducing moisture. Call us for your spring mold inspection and get ahead of the game!

Types of Mold: Alternaria

The third common indoor mold that we are highlighting in our series is Alternaria. If you haven’t read our previous two blogs in the series highlighting Cladosporium and Aspergillus you can check them out too. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Immunology in 2006 highlighted Alternaria and its association with asthma in US homes. You can read more about this study from the National Institute of Health (NIH).

Alternaria is commonly found in soil, plants or other vegetation and generally it is dubbed an outdoor allergen. However, the exposure to these fungi in the home is still possible due to spores coming into the home from an outdoor source. Think: plants, flowers, dirt from shoes, etc. Spring is the beginning of the rise in Alternaria spores in the environment and they thrive throughout the fall.

In contrast to some of the other common indoor molds that we’ve been highlighting, Alternaria is one of the ones that actually thrives in dry, windy conditions as well as moist conditions. The spores are easily transported this way with the wind and this helps them to enter the home as well through open windows and doors.

This allergen can cause allergy symptoms such as allergic rhinitis and can cause issues with patients who have allergies to mold. Alternaria is a known risk factor for asthma as well (see study above).

Since it is impossible to completely avoid contact with these common indoor molds, the most important thing that we can do is to minimize exposure! This means, if you see mold in the home or think your symptoms are not just common allergies, you should have your home tested for mold.

Do you have a mold allergy?

Mold Allergies are hard to diagnose, particularly since the signs and symptoms that are experienced also occur with other respiratory allergies. Allergic reactions to mold work in the same manner as any other allergens invading your system, it sets off an immune response in your body, causing coughing, itching, sneezing and other common allergic reaction symptoms. So, how do you find out if its mold that is causing the symptoms?

It’s important to find out if you have a mold allergy, because with mold, it can go from allergy to illness, or skip allergy and go straight to illness/infection. If you think you may have a mold allergy, or are being exposed to mold, it’s important for you to visit your doctor right away.

Some factors can make you more likely to have a mold allergy such as:

  • Family history of asthma or allergies
  • Being exposed to mold in the workplace
  • Areas in the home of high humidity
  • Poor ventilation in bathrooms

Once you see a doctor, you will have a better idea of what you’re dealing with. Write down a list of symptoms, where and when you experience them as well as any questions you may have before your appointment. Doctors can order a blood test to better determine what is causing your allergic reaction and recommend treatment as well as preventative measures that you can use to avoid mold.

If you have mold in your home, visible or not, it could be triggering your symptoms. If you see visible mold, call in an expert to investigate the issue and make sure it isn’t larger than it seems. A mold inspection is critical to discovering areas of mold you may not be able to attend, and abatement can remove the problem completely, leaving you allergy free! For more information on mold allergies, visit the Mayo Clinic’s website here.