Mold is a type of fungi that generally grows in dark, moist conditions. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the most common indoor molds include Cladosporium, Penicillium, Aspergillus and Alternaria. Side effects from mold occur from the release of spores, irritants and toxic substances that might cause you to have an allergic reaction.
Common Side Effects
The most common side effects of house mold are generally mild but might become persistent over time and cause more severe symptoms. The common side effects of house mold, as reported by the Medline Plus website, include coughing, respiratory difficulties, hives, itching, rash, runny nose, sneezing, watering eyes, sinus pressure and wheezing.
An allergy occurs when your immune system overreacts to a trigger, or allergen. Generally, most allergens are harmless, but inhaling or touching it can cause an allergic response. Cladosporium, Aspergillus, Penicillium, Helminthosporium, Epicoccum, Fusarium, Mucor, Rhizopus and Aureobasidium are the most common molds associated with allergic reactions, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Your reactions might include sneezing, runny nose, eye irritation and skin rash, or dermatitis, when the mold enters your lungs or attaches to your nose's lining.
A study done in 2004 by the Institute of Medicine found sufficient evidence to link upper respiratory tract symptoms to indoor mold exposure in healthy individuals and in otherwise healthy children.
According to the Mayo Clinic, approximately 37 million people in the United States suffer from chronic sinusitis. A study done in 1999 by ear, nose and throat specialists from the Mayo Clinic and led by Dr. David Sherris reported that 202 of 210, all of which were diagnosed with chronic sinusitis, tested positive for fungi in the mucus. The study revealed more than 40 different kinds of fungi present, attributing to the symptoms, which included runny nose, nasal congestion, headache and loss of smell.
House mold can trigger asthma attacks when it travels to the lungs, including a serious condition known as allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis that is caused by Aspergillus fumigatus. Exposure to this type of mold can cause cough, wheezing, fever and chronic lung damage, especially if you have been previously received a diagnosis of asthma or cystic fibrosis, according to The Merck Manuals.
Exposure to toxic mold, such as Stachybotrys chartarum, commonly known as black mold, can produce mycotoxins. Mycotoxins are a form of greenish-black mold that, when in contact, ingested or inhaled can trigger problems such as respiratory illness, skin rashes, memory problems and brain damage, even if you are healthy, according to the Allergy Escape website. This type of mold is common in water-damaged homes that are not repaired.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Facts About Mold and Dampness
- Medline Plus: Allergy to Mold-Animal Dander-Dust
- Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America: Mold Allergy
- ScienceDaily: Mayo Clinic Study Implicates Fungus As Cause Of Chronic Sinusitis
- The Merck Manuals: Allergic Bronchopulmonary Aspergillosis