More Info on Allergies to Mold

Are Mold Counts Helpful?

Similar to pollen counts, mold counts may suggest the types and number of fungi present at a certain time and place. For several reasons, however, these counts probably cannot be used as a constant guide for daily activities.
 
One reason is that the number and types of spores actually present in the mold count may have changed considerably in 24 hours because weather and spore distribution are directly related. Many common allergenic molds are of the dry spore type; they release their spores during dry, windy weather. Other fungi need high humidity, fog, or dew to release their spores. Although rain washes many larger spores out of the air, it also causes some smaller spores to be propelled into the air.
 
In addition to the effect of weather changes during 24-hour periods on mold counts, spore populations may also differ between day and night. Dry spore types are usually released during daytime, and wet spore types are usually released at night.
 

Other Mold-Related Conditions

Fungi or organisms related to them may cause other health problems similar to allergic diseases. Some kinds of Aspergillus may cause several different illnesses, including both infections and allergies. These fungi may lodge in the airways or a distant part of the lung and grow until they form a compact sphere known as a "fungus ball." In people with lung damage or serious underlying illnesses, Aspergillus may grasp the opportunity to invade the lungs or the whole body.
 
In some people, exposure to these fungi can also lead to asthma or to a lung disease resembling severe inflammatory asthma. This lung disease is called allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis. This latter condition, which occurs only in a small number of people with asthma, causes wheezing, low-grade fever, and coughing up of brown-flecked masses or mucus plugs. Skin testing, blood tests, x-rays, and examination of the sputum for fungi can help establish the diagnosis. Corticosteroid drugs usually treat this reaction effectively. Immunotherapy (allergy shots) is not helpful.
 
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