Mold allergy – symptoms, causes and other risk factors

Symptoms and causes of Mold

Those people who have mold allergy, their immune systems are overreacting when they breathe in mold spores. If you have mold allergy, then it can make your eyes itch, make you cough and cause other symptoms that make you feel miserable. In some people, the mold allergy to exposure and asthma and it is causing restricted breathing and other airway symptoms. If you suffer from a mood allergy, then the best thing which you should do is to reduce your exposure to the types of mold which are causing you reaction. There are many medications which can help to keep the mold allergy under control. [1]

Symptoms of mold allergy

This type of allergy is causing the same signs and symptoms which are happening in other types of respiratory allergies. Here are some signs and symptoms of allergic rhinitis which are caused by mold allergy:

  • Dry, scaly skin
  • Watery eyes
  • Itchy eyes, nose and throat
  • Cough and postnasal drip
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Sneezing

The symptoms of mold allergy are varying from person to person and they can range from mild to severe. You can have round symptoms or some symptoms which flare up only during certain times of the year. You can notice symptoms when the weather is damp or when you are outdoor or indoor spaces which have high concentrations of mold.

Mold allergy and asthma: If you suffer from asthma and you have mold allergy, then your asthma symptoms can be triggered by exposure to mold spores [2]. There are some people who have exposure to certain molds can lead to severe asthma attack. Here are some signs and symptoms of asthma:

  • Chest tightness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Coughing

Symptoms and causes of Mold

Causes of mold allergy

Like any allergy, the symptoms of the mold allergy can be triggered by an overly sensitive immune system response. When someone is inhaling tiny and airborne mold spores, then your body is recognizing them as foreign invaders and it is developing allergy – causing antibodies to fight them. After this exposure has passed, the body will continue producing antibodies which are remembering this invader so if you have any late contact with the mold, it is causing your immune system to react. This reaction is triggering the release of substances such as histamine which is causing sneezing, runny nose, itchy and watery eyes and other mold allergy symptoms. Molds can be very easily found inside and outside. There are many types of molds but you should know that there are certain kinds of molds which are causing allergies. If you are allergic to one type of mold, then this not unnecessary means that you will be allergic to another type of mold. Penicillium, cladosporium, aspergillus and alternaria are some of the most common types of molds that are causing allergies.

Risk factors: There are many different factors that can increase your chances of developing a mold allergy or worsening your existing mold allergy symptoms, such as

  • If you live in a house that has poor ventilation: It is known that tight window and door seals can trap moisture indoors and it can prevent proper ventilation which is creating ideal conditions for the mold growth. Damp areas, such as basements, kitchens and bathrooms, are most vulnerable. [2,3,4]
  • Working or living in a building that has been exposed to excess moisture: Examples for this factor are including water seepage during rainstorms and flood damage, and leaky pipes. It is known that at some point, nearly every building has some kind of excessive moisture and this moisture is allowing the mold to flourish. [3,4]
  • Living in a house with high humidity: If the indoor humidity is higher than 50%, then you have increased exposure to mold in your home. The mold can grow virtually anywhere if their conditions are right – in the carped pads, in the carpet itself, on soap – coated grout, behind walls in farming and in basements. The exposure to high levels of household mold is triggering the mold allergy symptoms.  [3,4]
  • Having a family history of allergies: If the asthma and allergies are running in your family, then you are having increased chances of developing a mold allergy. [2,5]


[1] Bush RK, Portnoy JM, Saxon A, et al. The medical effects of mold exposure. Environmental and Occupational Respiratory Disorders. 2006;117(2):326-33.

[2] Caillaud D, Leynaert B, Keirsbulck M, et al. Indoor mould exposure, asthma and rhinitis: findings from systematic reviews and recent longitudinal studies. European Respiratory Review. 2018;27:170137.

[3] Mendell MJ, Mirer AG, Cheung K, et al. Respiratory and allergic health effects of dampness, mold, and dampness-related agents: A review of the epidemiologic evidence. Environmental Health Perspectives. 2011;119(6):748–56.

[4] Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on Damp Indoor Spaces and Health. Human health effects associated with damp indoor environments. In Damp Indoor Spaces and Health. 2004. Retrieved from

[5] Paaso EMS, Jaakkola MS, Rantala AK, et al. Allergic diseases and asthma in the family predict the persistence and onset-age of asthma: a prospective cohort study. Respiratory Research. 2014.


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