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There’s a Fungus Among Us

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Mold is a type of fungus that grows quickly in damp/humid environments; such as, basements, bathrooms and areas with water damage.  Mold also loves to grow outdoors when it’s hot and humid, or when there’s lots of rain (like we’ve had this summer).  It can show up at the beach, in the grass, in damp forests and under leaves. I can tell by the number of mushrooms growing in my backyard!!

When mold spores are released into the air, they can be inhaled and cause various allergic symptoms like sneezing, asthma, coughing, wheezing, tightness in the chest, itching, rashes, body aches or even brain fog and fatigue.

Some common types of mold include: aspergillus, cladosporium, alternaria, chaetomium, fusarium, mucor and stachybotrys chartarum (aka black mold); but there are many more.

Here are some things to consider:

  • Outdoor mold occurs between spring and fall
  • Indoor mold can occur year round
  • Reactions may be delayed
  • If you have plumbing in your home, you probably have some kind of mold
  • Remove carpeting from the basement
  • A de-humidifier is awesome for collecting water and drying up the dampness
  • Always wipe down your shower and remove any standing water
  • There is such a thing as snow mold – gray snow mold (Typhula), and pink snow mold (Fusarium)
  • Don’t forget…there is also mold on your food too!

The immune system plays a crucial role in mold allergies.  When a person with a mold allergy comes into contact with mold spores (they’re so small, you can’t see them), their immune system reacts and releases chemicals, such as histamine, to fight off the perceived threat.  This immune response leads to the symptoms.

Mold allergies can be problematic for individuals with compromised immune systems, such as those with asthma or respiratory conditions. Things like bleach, hydrogen peroxide, distilled vinegar, borax or other store-bought products can be used for small ‘outbreaks’, but if you have a severe case in your home you’ll need a professional to remove it.