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Allergens: Mold

What is mold?

Mold is a member of the fungus family. It is a branching-type growth called hyphae. It rarely dies from heat or cold exposure, but remains dormant until a particular season, such as spring or fall, when it grows and thrives.

Where does mold grow?

Mold lives in moist conditions where there is oxygen and other chemicals. Places mold may be found are:

Outside:

  • On dead or dying vegetation

  • Moist, shady areas

  • Rotting leaves and logs

Inside:

  • Damp basements and closets

  • Bathrooms

  • Food storage areas

  • Refrigerators

  • House plants

  • Air conditioners and humidifiers

  • Mattresses

  • Upholstered furniture

  • Garbage containers

What is mold allergy?

Mold spores or fragments may be inhaled through the nose and into the lungs or touched, and they may cause allergic reactions in people who are sensitive. Allergic reactions may include hay fever-like symptoms, such as sneezing, runny nose, and red eyes, or a skin rash. Inhaling mold spores may cause wheezing or other symptoms in people who have asthma and are allergic to mold spores.  

Online Medical Reviewer: Akin, Louise, RN
Online Medical Reviewer: MMI board-certified, academically affiliated clinician
Date Last Reviewed: 6/30/2014
© 2000-2014 The StayWell Company, LLC. 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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