Mold and mildew allergies occur when the immune system erroneously responds to mold spores, causing symptoms that include itchy eyes, sneezing and fatigue. Allergy medications, such as antihistamines and decongestants, can help relieve mold allergy symptoms, but may cause unwanted side effects that include dry mouth and sedation. While there is no known cure for mold and mildew allergies, natural remedies may help alleviate symptoms while reducing the overall stress on your immune system.
Foods that are fermented or contain mold may worsen symptoms in a small portion of sensitive individuals. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, fermented foods, such as red wine, can trigger the release of histamine by constricting blood vessels, resulting in increased allergy symptoms. Actual allergic reactions to fungi in foods are rare and aren't necessarily more likely to occur in people with mold and mildew allergy. Foods high in sugar may promote overgrowth of Candida yeast in the body, which can interfere with digestion and immune function.
To help lessen the severity of mold allergies, limit the amount of fermented foods in your diet. Avoid mushrooms, yeast and other fungi, and limit your intake of cheeses and other foods that are made with mold if you experience symptoms after eating them. Monitor your reaction to alcoholic beverages, black tea, bread and vinegar and adjust your intake of these substances accordingly.
Herbs And Supplements
Herbs with anti-fungal properties can help ease symptoms of mold and mildew allergies. Garlic is one of the most well known anti-fungal herbs available. According to the National Institutes of Health, garlic contains the compound ajeone, which inhibits the growth of Candida and Aspergillus fungi. Other herbs with anti-fungal effects include pau d’arco, oregano oil and tea tree oil. Nutritional supplements, including vitamin C and selenium, may also help lessen allergy symptoms by strengthening the immune system.
Over-the-counter supplements can cause dangerous side effects and interactions with other herbs and medications. To prevent negative reactions, ask your doctor before taking an herbal or nutritional supplement.
Prevention is the best treatment for mold and mildew allergies. Decreasing exposure to mold spores in your home environment is an important factor in treating allergic reactions.
To control humidity levels, use a dehumidifier in damp rooms, including bathrooms and basements. Keep vents and fans clean, and consider buying an air cleaner with a HEPA filter to help remove mold spores from the air. Keep gutters clear of debris and address leaks within 48 hours to prevent extensive water damage and mold growth.
Keep an eye on the local allergen forecast, and avoid outdoor activities when mold spore counts are highest. Wear a mask when raking leaves or doing yard work, and keep windows closed in your home and car to prevent additional mold spore exposure.