Mould – unloved companions

Mould fungi surround us almost everywhere, whether outdoors or indoors. For people with respiratory allergies, mould spores often become a burden. Especially people with allergic asthma show an increased risk to react to moulds.

What are moulds?

Moulds are microscopically small organisms and consist of countless fine threads that are not visible to the naked eye. The visible part of moulds are the spores, they serve the multiplication and are also the distinguishing feature of the different types of moulds. In most cases the allergens are contained in the roundish spores, which are spread through the air.

Where do moulds occur?

Mould fungi occur both indoors and outdoors. They often occur in damp cellars, in bathrooms, on textiles such as upholstered furniture and mattresses or, for example, on wallpaper behind furniture on the walls. The higher the air humidity, the higher the mould load. In the open, they often form on compost heaps, in the garden, in greenhouses or are found in grain. The load is greatest here in the summer and autumn, since a temperature between 20-25 degrees Celsius favors the load.

Symptoms of mould allergy

The complaints caused by mould allergy usually affect the respiratory tract. In asthmatics, asthmatic symptoms, e.g. dry coughing, can occur more often or the narrowing of the bronchi increases. This can then become noticeable in increased breathing difficulties, especially during physical exertion.

Also the eyes as well as the skin can react with unpleasant symptoms to a mould fungus contact. Rarer, but possible, are also allergic complaints in the gastrointestinal tract after the consumption of fungus-contaminated food. These can be either simply moldy or enriched with mould cultures, such as Gorgonzola. Depending on the mould to which one reacts allergically, the stress can occur year-round or seasonally.

How is mould allergy treated?

As with most allergies, the avoidance of allergy-causing spores is recommended. The occurrence of fungal spores as environmental pollution in the open air is naturally difficult to influence and therefore problematic.

In living rooms and interiors, on the other hand, regular ventilation is recommended, especially in rooms that are exposed to increased humidity, such as bathrooms. If there is no window, draught through open doors, ventilation or a fan can help. Air conditioners and humidifiers should be handled with caution as they can promote the spread of mould.

How is mould allergy detected?

The symptoms of mould allergy are very similar to those of pollen and house dust allergies. Especially in the case of pollen, the burden also frequently overlaps with moulds in terms of time. If you notice any of these or similar symptoms, a blood test is highly recommended for clarification. As with most inhalative allergies (allergic reactions of the respiratory tract), a precise diagnosis as early as possible is important and advisable in order to avoid consequential damage such as allergic asthma.

Do you know your alergy triggers? Test yourself now!

Medically reviewed
This article was checked for medical correctness by Prof. Dr. Karl-Christian Bergmann (Chairman of the German Pollen Information Service Foundation). Prof. Dr. Karl-Christian Bergmann is chairman of the medical igevia advisory board.

Posted by Nicole Dopler on 8/19/2019

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