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Mold - Allergies

Allergies are probably the most common reaction to contact with molds. Atopic individuals (those who experience allergic reactions that is often hereditary) who are exposed to mold, mold spores, or mold byproducts may manifest allergic reactions once they become vulnerable (sensitized) to the particular mold. The reactions can run the spectrum, from very mild and temporary reactions to acute, chronic illness. Of course, molds are simply one of the causes of indoor allergens. Other common causes include dust mites, cockroaches, effluvia from domestic pets and other microorganisms (molds are included in this category).

However, according to The Institute of Medicine:

  • 1 in 5 Americans suffer from allergic rhinitis, the most common chronic disease in humans.
  • 1 in 9 Americans suffer from allergy-related sinusitis.
  • 1 in 10 Americans have allergic-related asthma.
  • 1 in 11 Americans experience allergic dermatitis.
  • Less than 1 in 100 Americans suffer from serious chronic allergic diseases.

These statistics indicate that allergic reactions are extremely common in humans. Often times, the specific cause of the allergies is in question. Recently, the existence of mold in homes and workplaces has cropped up as a very real possibility as the cause of some of these allergic reactions.

Many different types of molds can put their spores and byproducts into the air, but only a few purified mold allergens are available for allergy tests. Atopic individuals can become sensitized to certain molds, but this may not always be cited by a health care professional as a mold-related allergy. A positive mold allergy test indicates that an individual is susceptible to a specific allergen, but testing negative doesn't necessarily rule out mold allergy for atopic individuals.