Sneezing. Nasal congestion. Coughing fits. Watery eyes.
Anyone who suffers from seasonal allergies knows how irritating they can be. If there’s a lot of pollen in the air, you may be troubled even leaving the house without a box of tissues in hand. Seasonal allergies, otherwise known as hay fever, trigger all sorts of unpleasantries.
Before you spend a fortune on pills or strap a dust mask on outdoors, consider mold—yes, mold—and the possibility that what you think are symptoms of seasonal allergies could, in fact, be symptoms of mold exposure, either indoors or out.
Mold versus seasonal allergies
Unfortunately it’s not easy to tell a reaction to mold spores apart from a reaction to the pollen that prevails when trees bud and flowers flourish; the symptoms of each are more or less the same:
- Stuffed up or runny nose
- Itchy, irritated or watery eyes
Bear in mind that no two reactions to mold are exactly the same. Your reaction will depend on the frequency or duration of your exposure and your sensitivity to mold.
Some people are born sensitive, while others are more susceptible because they are either elderly, very young, or they have a weak immune system at the time of exposure.
Because symptoms of mold exposure and symptoms of seasonal allergies are so similar, many people mistaken one for the other. This is problematic because mold spores can be hazardous. Exposure to potentially toxic black mold spores can be life threatening even—especially over time.
It’s imperative then that you recognize and address mold allergies for exactly what they are. This allergy season, the next time your eyes start feeling itchy or out-of-control watery, or you can’t quit sneezing, think about your indoor environment—your home, your office, or school. Next, ask yourself these important questions:
- Is there a history of flooding?
- Are there any visible signs of mold?
- Are there musty odours?
Besides symptoms of exposure, a history of flooding, discoloured walls or building materials or musty odours are all tell-tales signs of a mold problem.
Ask your doctor for his or her opinion on the matter. Explain your symptoms and perhaps take an allergy test. You must first get to the root of the real problem to receive effective and long-lasting relief.
Prevent mold allergies
Similar to hay fever, poor ventilation in your indoor space will trigger allergies if there’s existing mold. Ensure your home is properly ventilated to alleviate symptoms.
- Use the air conditioner, if you have one;
- Install a dehumidifier, to keep the air indoors dry; and
- Frequently clean your floors, preferably with a HEPA vacuum.
These are just a few measures you can take to improve the air flow and prevent indoor air pollutants from accumulating.
Besides alleviating your mold allergies, why not completely eliminate them? Preventing mold from developing in the first place is the absolute best way to avoid mold allergies and the fungal growth’s many other negative effects. To do so, control moisture and the relative humidity indoors.
If it’s too late for preventative measures, and it’s already developed, quickly have it removed. If you don’t, not only will your symptoms persist but they may develop into more serious and long-term respiratory troubles.
Don’t forget that you’re not likely the only one affected by mold exposure in your home, even if you’re the only one exhibiting symptoms. Everyone reacts differently but nobody is immune or safe from its adverse health effects.
If you suspect you or someone you know is exposed mold and experiencing a reaction, please book a mold inspection as soon as possible. We offer same-day service in many cases.