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Mould allergy

Mould spores can trigger allergy symptoms, and can be found in many places from rotting food, to mushrooms and fungi and black mould on window frames.

Some mould spores are in the air all year round, while other may be seasonal.

What are the symptoms of mould allergy?

Symptoms of a mould reaction are those typical of many other allergies. They include:

If you have a mould allergy, avoiding all exposure to mould may not be possible. However you can reduce your risk of reaction by choosing your foods carefully. Check all foods for signs of mould before you eat them. Do not smell foods to see if they are spoiled because inhaling mould spores can set off an allergic reaction. In addition, you can avoid foods that are more likely to contain mould or other fungi such as mushrooms and yeast.

Common food sources of mould include:

  • Cheese
  • Mushrooms
  • Vinegar and foods containing vinegar such as salad dressing, tomato ketchup and pickles
  • Soured cream, soured milk and buttermilk
  • Meat or fish more than 24 hours old
  • Breads and other food made with yeast
  • Sauerkraut
  • Pickled and smoked meats and fish
  • Dried fruits such as dates, prunes, figs and raisins
  • Soya sauce
  • Hot dogs, sausages

Preventing mould

Although there are thousands of kinds of moulds, few produce toxins but household moulds can trigger allergy symptoms in allergy sufferers. So avoiding mould can help you avoid eye irritation, congestion, and other allergy-related symptoms.

The best way to avoid mould is to avoid moisture:

  • Keep the house dry, don't let water build up anywhere, ventilate damp rooms, and wipe shower walls and doors after use.
  • Don't leave wet clothes in the washing machine where mould can quickly grow.
  • Wash shower curtains and bathroom tiles regularly with mould-killing products.
  • Don't have too many indoor plants, especially in the bedroom; mould can grow in plant soil.
  • Fix any leaks or seepage in the house, indoors and out.
  • Use extractor fans in the kitchen and bathrooms.
  • Turn off humidifiers if you see condensation on windows.
  • On concrete floors, consider removing carpet and using area rugs that can be lifted and washed, or install a vapour barrier over the concrete.
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WebMD Medical Reference

Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks on April 25, 2016

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