Mold and mildew are both a type of fungus that can cause allergic reaction symptoms in some people, according to CNN Health. If you suffer from a mold allergy, avoiding exposure to mold, mildew and other fungi is one of the most important things you can do to prevent symptoms. Avoiding mold spores that are airborne or visible in the home is a vital role in prevention, but modifying your diet to eliminate edible fungi is just as important. Do not modify your diet without first consulting your doctor.
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The cause of mold allergies is a hypersensitivity of the immune system to fungi, including mold and mildew. When you ingest or inhale fungi, your immune system mistakes the fungi as a dangerous substance and begins to defend the body, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Part of the defense system is the production of IgE antibodies that specifically target the fungi and attempt to ward it off. Increased levels of IgE antibodies in the body cause mast cells to produce histamine, a chemical that leads to common allergy symptoms.
Symptoms produced by increased levels of histamine in the blood include nasal congestion, sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes, throat irritation, coughing and postnasal drip, according to CNN Health. A person with a mold allergy may also experience common food allergy symptoms when he eats certain foods containing fungi. These symptoms include wheezing, stomach cramping and skin rashes such as hives and eczema, according to MayoClinic.com.
If you are allergic to airborne mold spores, you may be allergic to certain fungi found in common foods, including pickled fish, raisins, mushrooms, vinegar, cheeses, beer, sour cream and foods made with yeast, according to the Cleveland Clinic. If the patient has a food allergy to certain fungi, she will develop common food allergy symptoms within a few minutes or up to an hour after eating the food product.
Treat an airborne or food mold allergy by avoiding exposure to fungi. This includes eliminating visible mold in the bathroom, the basement and other places around the house. Avoid all known foods containing fungi. If ingested or inhaled, an airborne mold allergy is treated with antihistamines, according to CNN Health.
MayoClinic.com warns that a food allergy can be deadly if the allergy is severe. Anaphylactic shock can cause a person’s blood pressure to drop drastically, heart rate to race, throat to swell and lungs to tighten, which can cause suffocation.