The presence of mold and mildew in a home may trigger allergic reactions in sensitized individuals as the body releases histamines in response to inhalation or skin contact with the irritant. Individuals without pre-existing conditions can become hypersensitive after prolonged exposure, causing an array of respiratory ailments and health conditions.
Mold and mildew are environmental allergens that spread through the air, entering the body through the eyes, nose and mouth. Continued inhalation leads to allergic reactions as the nasal passages become swollen when in contact with the allergen, producing mucus that in turn causes congestion, sneezing, watery and itchy eyes, runny nose, sore throat, chronic coughing, headaches and migraines. Antihistamines, allergy shots and inhalers can reduce symptoms.
Symptoms of asthma may occur as mold spores linger in bronchial tubes and airways, causing increased mucus production and inflammation of the lungs. Mold thrives in mucus, causing air passages to become blocked and irritated, resulting in constricted breathing. The inhalation of mold and mildew results in chest tightness, wheezing, shortness of breath, chronic coughing and difficulty breathing. Increased exposure to mold and mildew may cause insomnia, fatigue and irritability in asthmatics.
Upper-respiratory symptoms of allergic sinusitis are triggered by household mold and mildew. Year-round sinusitis symptoms of nasal congestion, facial tenderness, phlegm, headaches, sneezing, pressure and nosebleeds signal a mold and mildew irritant within the home. Sinusitis caused by mold and mildew can develop into aspergillosis in the form of a fungal infection of the lungs, ears or sinuses with prolonged mold exposure. Aspergillosis can cause blood in sputum, fever, chronic hacking and malaise when symptomatic.
Household mold and mildew spores circulate through heating and cooling systems within a home, and can land on skin and textiles, irritating the skin through direct contact. Allergic skin irritations typically last no longer than 24 hours unless a person is continually exposed to the allergen. Prolonged dermatitis symptoms of itchy skin, hives, rashes and eczema may indicate the presence of household mold and mildew, particularly if symptoms persist, disappearing only while outside of the home.
Over-the-counter suppressants, nasal and throat sprays, and antihistamine treatments may provide temporary relief of household mold-induced symptoms. Individuals suffering from allergies and asthma may benefit from doctor-prescribed antihistamines, steroids, inhalers and immunology for extended relief. Detecting and eliminating household mold and mildew is effective in reducing symptoms. Regular dusting, vacuuming and maintenance of air ducts, vents and appliances, along with ventilating moisture-collecting areas can help control the spread of spores throughout a home, providing improved air quality.
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