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.

Allergies?

Dealing with Mold Allergies?

Well, Punxsutawney Phil told us this week that we should be expecting an early spring! That’s great news for most of us who are looking forward to spring, but for people with seasonal allergies this could be a scary thought.

Seasonal allergies come in all different types, pollen, animal dander, and of course mold. If you’re a reader of our blog, you know mold can grow anywhere indoors or out which means double trouble for anyone with a mold allergy. If you’ve been diagnosed with a mold allergy here are some of our tips to help from The American Academy of Allergy & Immunology to prepare you for allergy season indoors and out.

  • Check the National Allergy Bureau (NAB) before you venture outside. This website updates pollen and mold counts for each state. If you notice the levels are particularly high, stay indoors
  • Don’t rake leaves or stir up the earth. This can release spores lying dormant into the air and expose yourself to allergens
  • Stay away from fields of uncut grass
  • Shower when coming in from outdoors to remove any mold spores that may be on your body or clothing
  • Fix water leaks in your home immediately to prevent mold growth. If you find mold in your home or notice your allergy symptoms are increasing indoors, call in a mold expert to inspect and remove any dangerous mold
  • Keep the humidity in your home below 60% in order to reduce the chances of mold growth
  • Remove carpeting in areas that are prone to dampness such as bathrooms and basements

If you are allergic to mold and are experiencing symptoms now, you may be exposed to mold indoors and it is a good time to get your home inspected for mold. Many do not realize that mold can be hidden out of sight and be causing you to exhibit allergy symptoms year round. HNST Mold Inspections is here to help, use our quick contact form to obtain a quote today.

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.