Mold Sensitivity vs Mold Allergies
It’s widely known that mold can trigger allergy-like symptoms, even in people who do not have allergies. This reaction is called a mold allergy.
Other people have a different reaction when exposed to mold. Mold sensitivity produces other symptoms that are harder to pinpoint. Although medical professionals readily agree that mold sensitivity is real, its diagnosis is controversial. The debate around this condition is a result of the wide range of symptoms sufferers report.
Below, Pure Air North Carolina will share some of the differences between mold allergies and mold sensitivity and how our services can both identify and remove mold from any home or business in Charlotte NC.
Mold sensitivity is sometimes compared to sick building syndrome, a condition that affects people who work in offices. Symptoms of this sickness include generalized issues like respiratory concerns and headaches. This syndrome is also associated with stressful or unpleasant working conditions, making SBS hard to diagnose.
Mold sensitivity takes it one step further with a long list of psychological symptoms (which we will discuss in more detail in a moment). These symptoms are hard to define and quantify.
These vague symptoms and subsequent difficult diagnoses are the main similarities between SBS and mold sensitivity. It’s also the reason that some medical professionals are hesitant to actually diagnose mold sensitivity.
Diagnosing Mold Allergies
Mold is fungus. It releases spores in the air which land on surfaces in your home and can spread into colonies.
These spores are found everywhere, especially outdoors. The air you breathe almost always contains mold, pollen, and dust. Any of these particles can irritate your respiratory system.
Mold in particular is responsible for all the following:
Congestion or runny nose
If you experience these things when mold is present, your body is sensitive to mold. Because your body is sensitive to the presence of mold, your immune system produces extra antibodies in response to the mold. This reaction is considered a mold allergy.
Even within the category of people who deal with mold allergies, the level of sensitivity to different types of mold can vary greatly. Some people may simply feel like they have a cold after being exposed to mold, while people with more severe mold sensitivity may have to take medicine or use an inhaler to deal with the symptoms.
We need to add an important distinction here, though. Virtually anyone who is exposed to high amounts of mold will have a reaction. This is not the same as having a mold allergy, which needs to be diagnosed and monitored by an allergy specialist. These tests are measurable and can detect allergies to different species of mold, giving doctors a clear way of diagnosing mold allergies.
Diagnosing Mold Sensitivity
Being sensitive to mold (as described above) is different from a diagnosis of mold sensitivity.
Similar to sick building syndrome, mold sensitivity features a wide range of symptoms, many of which are cognitive/psychological. Symptoms of mold sensitivity have been described as all of the following:
Pain with no other cause
Mold allergies can be diagnosed easily with a skin test or blood test. But as you can see, there is no measurable test for these symptoms.
Consider this scenario: A patient presents with anxiety, but the cause is clear. There are stressful conditions in the patient’s life, or the patient has a history of anxiety, but the patient also has prolonged mold exposure. It’s nearly impossible for a health professional to determine the exact cause of the anxiety.
Fortunately, the EPA reports that non-allergic reactions to mold (mold sensitivity issues) are not nearly as common as allergic reactions (mold allergies). This silver lining means that a much smaller percentage of the population is affected by mold sensitivity than much more common mold allergies.
The best way to prevent mold sensitivity and a battle to have it diagnosed correctly is to prevent exposure whenever possible. This means making sure your home and workplace free of mold.
Preventing Mold Growth
By keeping your home and workspace mold-free, you will greatly reduce the chances of developing either a mold allergy or mold sensitivity.
Mold can grow virtually anywhere in your home. It starts with microscopic mold spores landing on moist surfaces in your home. Mold can feed on just about anything, so it will immediately start forming a colony.
Here are a few ways to prevent mold:
Reduce moisture and wetness in your home.
Use a dehumidifier.
Increase ventilation throughout the house.
Invest in an air purifier.
Mold Remediation in Charlotte NC
Of course you want to prevent mold growth in your home and office, but you may not always catch it in time. When mold shows up despite your best prevention efforts, you need professional help to get rid of it.
During a mold remediation, Pure Air North Carolina will test the air within your home to see if it has an abnormally high mold count. If high levels of mold are found, remediation is performed to lower these levels so the air is cleaner and you don’t have any more mold growth issues.