What You Need to Know About Mold Allergy

Where Do Molds Grow?

Molds can be found wherever there is moisture, oxygen, and a source of the few other chemicals they need. In the fall, they grow on rotting logs and fallen leaves, especially in moist, shady areas.
In gardens, they can be found in compost piles and on certain grasses and weeds. Some molds attach to grains such as wheat, oats, barley, and corn, which makes farms, grain bins, and silos likely places to find mold.
Hot spots of mold growth in the home include:
  • Damp basements and closets
  • Bathrooms (especially shower stalls)
  • Places where fresh food is stored
  • Refrigerator drip trays
  • House plants
  • Air conditioners
  • Humidi?ers
  • Garbage pails
  • Mattresses
  • Upholstered furniture
  • Old foam rubber pillows.
Molds also like bakeries, breweries, barns, dairies, and greenhouses. Loggers, mill workers, carpenters, furniture repairers, and upholsterers often work in moldy environments.

What Molds Cause Allergies?

Like pollens that cause pollen allergy, mold spores are important airborne allergens only if they are abundant, easily carried by air currents, and allergenic in their chemical makeup. Found almost everywhere, mold spores in some areas are so numerous they often outnumber the pollens in the air. Fortunately, however, only a few dozen different types are signi?cant allergens.
In general, Alternaria and Cladosporium (Hormodendrum) are the molds most commonly found both indoors and outdoors in the United States. Other common molds include:
  • Aspergillus
  • Penicillium
  • Helminthosporium
  • Epicoccum
  • Fusarium
  • Mucor
  • Rhizopus
  • Aureobasidium (Pullularia).
There is no relationship, however, between a respiratory allergy to the mold Penicillium and an allergy to the drug penicillin, which is made from mold.
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