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What Are the Treatments for Black Mold Poisoning?

by
author image Nancy Clarke
Nancy Clarke began writing in 1988 after achieving her Bachelor of Arts in English and has edited books on medicine, diet, senior care and other health topics. Her related affiliations include work for the American Medical Association and Oregon Health Plan.
What Are the Treatments for Black Mold Poisoning?
Two pharmacists are talking. Photo Credit Thinkstock Images/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Overview

Black mold poisoning holds the same risks and requires the same treatments as exposure to other household molds. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, breathing in the spores from reproducing Stachybotrys chartarum fungi does no more harm than ingesting allergens of other strains.
All molds may pose risks, however, for people with allergies and allergy-induced asthma. High concentrations of fungal colonies, such as those growing in water-damaged flooring or building materials, can cause severe allergy symptoms, from flu-like discomfort to life-threatening asthma attacks.

Antihistamines

When mold allergy symptoms hit hard and fast, an over-the-counter antihistamine can provide immediate relief. Patients may not see an allergy bout coming due to the growth habits of black mold. These tiny fungal organisms only become visible when enough grow together to form a mycelium. Most over-the-counter antihistamine allergy medications are designed for fast-acting, short-term relief of runny noses, itchy eyes and sneezing. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology notes that patients can choose from sedating formulas such as clemastine, diphenhydramine or cetirizine, or nondrowsy loratadine, without a prescription. These should be taken after known mold exposure or when symptoms develop.

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Decongestants

Antihistamines don’t treat the stuffy-nose congestion that can make breathing difficult and disturb patients’ sleep. The Mayo Clinic reports that decongestant nasal sprays such as oxymetazoline and pseudoephedrine relieve these symptoms for a short period but can't safely be used for longer than a week. Oral decongestants often add a sedating antihistamine to the formula, making them impractical to take for long periods. Prescription drugs may hold better choices than these combination allergy medications for patients who frequently have black mold allergy symptoms.

Air Quality Treatments

Once the initial respiratory and itching problems have been addressed, patients should treat their environments to reduce mold spore allergens. This may include cleaning hard surfaces with bleach solutions or removing infested carpeting, upholstery, wallpaper or other mold habitats. The CDC advises using ventilation or humidity control devices to achieve 40 percent to 60 percent indoor humidity thereafter, to discourage black mold growth.

Prescription Allergy Medication

Patients who need longer-term drug therapy for ongoing mold allergy symptoms should request doctor prescriptions based on their overall health conditions. According to the Mayo Clinic, nasal corticosteroids such as flunisolide manage symptoms more effectively than prescription antihistamine allergy medications. People whose asthma grows worse after mold exposure may need an inhaled oral corticosteroid such as bethclomasone or fluticasone to manage their chronic symptoms.

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References

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