Mold is everywhere. It’s indoors, outdoors, in our trash, and it can grow on our food.
We’re all exposed to mold in some way each day, and a little isn’t much of a problem. But if you have a mold allergy, it can cause reactions that threaten your health and make life uncomfortable.
Let’s look at what a mold allergy is, how to tell if you have one, and what you can do about it.
There are about a thousand different mold species. And when mold grows, it releases tiny spores into the air that we breathe. We can also accidentally eat it if it’s growing on foods.
For most people, mold exposure doesn’t cause any symptoms. But those with a mold allergy will have a reaction when exposed to the spores.
Mold allergy symptoms often mimic other allergy symptoms. They can include:
Other symptoms may include low energy levels, sleep problems, low mood, headaches, or joint pain.
It can be hard to identify a mold allergy, especially if you live somewhere with many allergens in the air. But most of the time, symptoms will only occur where the mold growth is happening, such as in your home. And the reactions can happen year-round.
Besides negatively affecting your quality of life, a mold allergy triggers inflammation as your body tries to fight off the toxic mold.
Mold can show up in many places, including:
Because it can grow in so many places, mold can be hard to outrun. But knowing what to look for and how to avoid mold growth can help:
The most common mold colors are black, gray, and brown, but it can also be green, blue, yellow, white, orange, or reddish shades.
If you think you might have an allergy to mold, track your symptoms for at least a week. Note when you experience reactions and where you’ve been when they happen.
Blood or skin testing can also help pinpoint the mold allergy.
And remember: You can be exposed to mold indoors, outdoors, at work, at home—just about anywhere. Keep your environment as clean as possible, always throw out old food, especially if it looks or smells off, and monitor how you feel over time.