What causes mold allergies?
There are thousands of types of mold, but only a small number of molds are
widely recognized allergens. The seeds of molds are called spores. Each spore
that germinates creates new mold growth, which in turn can produce millions of
spores. Because they are so tiny, the spores may get past the protective
mechanisms of the nose and upper respiratory tract, and bring on allergy
Some facts about mold
Molds can grow wherever there is moisture, oxygen, and a few chemicals which
they need to thrive. Mold grows abundantly outside, in rotting logs, moist
leaves, and many damp areas. Inside the home, mold flourishes in areas that are
warm, moist, and dimly lit. Watch out for mold growth in areas like damp
basements and closets, bathrooms (especially shower stalls), places where fresh
food is stored, refrigerator drip trays, house plants, air-conditioners,
humidifiers, garbage pails, mattresses, upholstered furniture, and old foam
People who have mold allergies may have symptoms from spring to late fall. Mold
is especially a problem in warmer areas of the US. However, mold growing indoors
can cause allergy symptoms all year round.
An established mold colony can be seen as spots or streaks. It is not the mold
growth itself which contains the allergens, but the mold spores. Once these
spores become airborne and are inhaled, your mold allergy symptoms begin.
The most common symptoms associated with mold allergies are:
The good news is, there are some easy steps you can take to get rid of mold
inside your home, and alleviate your mold allergy symptoms.
- Nasal stuffiness
- Eye irritation
- Aggravation of asthma symptoms
- Cold and flu like symptoms
What can be done to decrease exposure to mold?
- Monitor humidity with a hygrometer or humidity gauge,
and use a dehumidifier if necessary. It is best to keep relative humidity
levels inside the home between 40% and 50%.
- Use a HEPA air purifier for the removal of mold spores. The best way
to avoid exposure to mold is to trap mold spores before they can reach you or start new mold growth.
- Use Vital Oxide to eliminate visible mold growth. Vital Oxide is a completely
non-toxic but highly effective way to kill mold. Remember to pay special attention to
sinks, tubs, and shower stalls.
- After cleaning surfaces and removing mold, use Vital Oxide or Allergy Armor Sure Coat as a
sealant to prevent mold from growing back. Vital Oxide lasts about 3 months while Allergy Armor will give you about six months of protection (in very wet areas - like shower stalls).
- Use mold resistant shower curtains or mold reducing shower squeegees to eliminate excess moisture.
- Avoid carpets in bathrooms, or use only washable throw rugs.
- Keep humidity under 50 percent by using air conditioners, and supplement with dehumidifiers in the summer.
- Allow moisture to escape from the home. Ventilate the shower and cooking areas. Open windows when the outside humidity is low.
- Wear a face mask when mowing the lawn or gardening.
Mold Allergy Buying Guide
Austin Air Healthmate 400
A HEPA air purifier will remove mold spores before they have a chance to
contaminate your air or start more mold growth. We recommend the Austin Air
HM-400, a great value for allergy sufferers. The HM-400 contains a true HEPA
cloth filter to trap 99.97% of all particles 0.3 microns and larger. It removes
mold spores, as well as a variety of other airborne allergens and contaminants:
pollen, pet dander, dust, odors, chemical vapors, and more. Most effective for
areas up to 700 square feet.
Danby 70 Pint Dehumidifier
The Danby 70 dehumidifier is one of the best ways to remove excess moisture from any space in your home. With a full electronic controls,
built-in humidistat, casters and a direct drain option the Danby 70 makes moisture removal simple. By keeping the humidity levels in
your home below 50% you can not only eliminate the growth of mold but also keep your home cooler during the summer and eliminate the damp
conditions that dust mites need to survive.
The whole home Aprilaire dehumidifiers can be ducted directly into your existing HVAC/central air structure. This solution offers
whole house dehumidification. With steel construction and a five year warranty the Aprilaire dehumidifiers are a no-hassle way
to keep humidity levels in check throughout your entire home.
Acu-Rite Humidity Gauge
It is important to maintain knowledge of humidity levels inside your home so that
you can effectively control them. A humidity gauge (also called a hygrometer) is
the best way to monitor humidity levels. The Acu-Rite Digital Humidity Gauge
also features a digital thermometer, clock, and light.
M-1 House Wash
This versatile cleaning solution can be used on a variety of surfaces to perform
just about every cleaning job you can think of. It makes easy work of removing
mold and mildew, and can be used on many surfaces, so you can get rid of mold
and mildew everywhere.
Vital Oxide is the safe and effective solution for mold removal,
odor control, green cleaning, and broad spectrum disinfection.
Allergy Armor Sure Coat
This clear, non-toxic, odorless solution is a mildew resistant coating. Use on
indoor and outdoor surfaces that are exposed to moisture or high humidity.
Simply spray or wipe onto any clean surface, and allow to dry. Allergy Armor Sure Coat can
protect from mold and mildew for up to 2-4 years, depending on conditions.
Silk Comfort Mask
Luxurious, double-layered silk blocks particles like mold spores, as well as
dust, pollen, animal dander, and more. Hand washable, and conveniently folds
into your pocket or purse.
3M HEPA Mask
This true HEPA mask is economical and efficient, blocking mold spores and a
variety of other allergens and irritants. Wear it to do outside chores like
mowing the lawn and raking moist leaves, or inside chores like cleaning air
conditioners and bathrooms.