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MAIN Arrow to Health Health Arrow to Disease Diseases Allergies

Menacing Molds - Are They
Affecting Your Allergies?

cleaning mold from walls
Use a solution of warm water, liquid soap,
and 5% bleach to clean mold from walls.

April showers can increase the amount of mold found inside and outside the home. Along with pollens from trees, grasses, and weeds, molds are an important trigger of hay fever or allergic rhinitis, affecting nearly 40 million Americans, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI).

"Mold spores contain allergens, substances that some immune systems recognize as dangerous," said Robert K. Bush, MD, Fellow of the AAAAI and member of the AAAAI's Indoor Allergen Committee. "Exposure to mold can trigger an allergic reaction such as nasal stuffiness, eye irritation, wheezing, coughing and hay fever-like symptoms."

Molds are microscopic organisms that are pervasive in any outdoor environment. However, they may be brought inside via clothing, shoes and soils. Mold needs only a food source, warm environment and moisture to grow. Mold may be invisible to the eye or may look like furry growth, black stains or specks of black, white, orange, green and brown on surfaces. Large infestations of mold can usually be seen or smelled.

Where can mold be found?

  • Inside, basements or crawl spaces are likely places where mold may grow, as well as around windows, near leak pipes or under sinks.

  • Outside, mold is likely to grow near heavy vegetation, in piles of leaves, or near hay or straw.

What can be done?
Along with keeping your outdoor spaces free of swampy areas, piles of leaves or overgrown vegetation, the AAAAI recommends that you take the following steps to rid your home of mold:

  • Repair leaking roof and pipes

  • Maintain a low level of humidity in your home (between 35-40 percent); if necessary, use a de-humidifier to remove moisture

  • toxic mold
    also see in the Legal Blog:
    Toxic Mold: Your Health & the Law

    Use a solution of warm water, liquid detergent and 5% bleach to clean the mold on washable surfaces

  • Use exhaust fans in the bathroom and wipe down the shower after use

  • If mold is visible on soft spaces, such as carpeting or wallpaper, these things should be removed

The role of the allergist/immunologist
An allergist/immunologist can evaluate your symptoms and help you determine which are caused by mold. To learn more about allergies and asthma, visit the AAAAI Web site at


More about household molds around the Web:

Mold in Your Home: Cleaning Options

The Key to Mold Control is Moisture Control - U.S. EPA


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