The mold spores are found everywhere including black mold that forms on window frames while others are found on decaying food. One can end up exposed to mold almost everywhere, thus it is difficult to determine how much mold an individual is exposed to in daily life. Just like with dust allergens, mold allergy can be perennial while allergic individuals experience symptoms throughout the year, although the levels increase in autumn during wet, mild weather as well as the harvesting season.
Symptoms of mold allergy
Mold release spores that are responsible for triggering the allergic reactions. The spores are microscopic particles released by mold. Once spores get in contact with the skin and nasal membranes, they trigger symptoms such as itchy eyes, rhinitis, eczema and asthma. Well-known conditions such as Sauna-taker’s lung and Farmer’s lung are caused by mold allergy.
Suitable environment for mold
Mold favors musty, moist conditions, thus piles of grass cuttings, rotting leaves, garden sheds and compost heaps are suitable environments for mold growth. The indoor mold are usually found on food that is turning bad such as white or black fur found on cheese, fruit, bread and vegetables.
Always bear in mind that the refrigerator is the ideal mold environment if not properly cleaned and dried, especially around the seal. Other types of mold are found on window frames, particularly when there is a lot of condensation on the windows, soil of house plants and under wallpaper. In addition, the damp environment caused by baths, tumble dryers and showers makes bathrooms and kitchens high-risk areas.
The molds that are typically linked with daily living are usually present most of the year and in similar areas. The common types of mold include the following:
- Penicillium notatum is widely distributed in soil and can also be isolated from decaying leaves and vegetables. It is also found on stored cereals and hay. When indoors, the green-blue mold is present on stale breads, nuts and fruits. The mold is present all year round but its concentrations can reach the peak during spring and winter.
- Cladosporium herbarum is usually present in the air and increases in amount in spring and peak in late summer and autumn. This type of mold is frequently found on foodstuffs, dirty refrigerators, straw, window frames, low damp areas and houses with poor ventilation.
- Alternaria alternate is found in foodstuffs, soil and textiles. The usual habitat for this mold includes composts, rotten wood, forest plants and nests of birds. The black spots on tomatoes and other foods are linked to this mold.
- Aspergillus fumigatus is found in leaf, soil, plant litter, decaying roots and vegetables, tobacco, bird droppings and stored sweet potatoes. Unlike with other mold, the concentration of spores in the air is relatively low. Take note that this mold is often linked with asthma, bronchitis and conditions such as Farmer’s lung.
- Trichophyton rubrum and pityrosporum orbicculare are yeasts that thrive inside the skin in certain types of eczema.