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Allergies, asthma, and molds

Alternate Names

Allergic rhinitis - mold

Molds

Things that make allergies or asthma worse are called triggers. Mold is a common trigger. When your asthma, or allergies, becomes worse due to mold you are said to have a mold allergy.

There are many types of mold. They all need water or moisture to grow.

  • Molds send out tiny spores that you cannot see with the naked eye. These spores float through the air, outdoors and indoors.
  • Mold can begin growing indoors when the spores land on wet surfaces. Mold can commonly grow inbasements, bathrooms, and laundry rooms.

Controlling Mold Indoors

Fabrics, rugs, stuffed animals, books, and wallpaper can contain mold spores if they are in a damp place. Outdoors, mold lives in the soil, on compost, and on plants that are damp.Keeping your house and yard drier will help control mold growth.

Central heating and air-conditioning systems can help control mold.

  • Change furnace and air conditioner filters often.
  • Use high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters to best remove mold from the air.

In the bathroom:

  • Use an exhaust fan when you shower or take baths.
  • Use a squeegee to wipe water off shower and tub walls after you bathe.
  • Do not leave damp clothes or towels in a basket or hamper.
  • Clean or replace shower curtains when you see mold on them.

In the basement:

  • Check your basement for moisture and mold.
  • Use a dehumidifier to keep the air drier. Keeping indoor moisture levels (humidity) at less than 30 - 50% will keep mold spores down.
  • Empty dehumidifiers daily and clean them often with a vinegar solution.

In the rest of the house:

  • Fix all leaky faucets and pipes.
  • Keep all sinks and tubs dry and clean.
  • Empty and wash the refrigerator tray that collects water from the freezer defroster often.
  • Frequently clean any surfaces where mold grows in your house.
  • Do not use vaporizers for an extended time to manage symptoms during asthma attacks.

Outdoors:

  • Get rid of water that collects around the outside of your house.
  • Stay away from barns, hay, and wood piles.
  • Do not rake leaves or mow grass.

References

Wallace DV, Dykewicz MS, Bernstein DI, Blessing-Moore J, Cox L, Khan DA, et al. The diagnosis and management of rhinitis: an updated practice parameter. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2008 Aug:122(2).


Review Date: 5/16/2012
Reviewed By: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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