Everything you need to know about mould allergies

Published on March 4, 2024

A mould allergy is an allergic reaction to the presence of mould spores in the air.[1] Allergies to mould can cause a variety of symptoms, including sneezing, coughing, watery eyes, and difficulty breathing.[2] In order to protect yourself from a mould allergy, it’s important to understand how they work and how to identify them.

What Are Mould Allergies?

Mould allergies are caused by exposure to mould spores — microscopic particles that can be found both indoors and outdoors. These spores are released into the air by fungi that feed on organic material such as wood or plants. When you inhale these spores, your immune system mistakes them for a foreign invader and releases histamines into your bloodstream in an attempt to fight off the “invasion”.1 This is what triggers an allergic reaction in some people, causing a variety of symptoms which range from mild to severe.

How Many People Have an Allergy to Mould?

It is estimated that anywhere between 5% and 30% of people have a sensitivity to mould spores.[3] This number increases significantly in areas where there is high levels of humidity or moisture — for example, in coastal regions or areas that are prone to flooding. It is also more common amongst those who suffer from other allergies such as hay fever or asthma, due to their weakened immune system.1   

Mould Allergy Symptoms

The most common symptom of a mould allergy is nasal congestion and sneezing caused by inflamed nasal passages. Other symptoms can include wheezing, coughing and difficulty breathing, itchy eyes, skin irritation, headaches, sore throat or a runny nose.2 If you experience any of these symptoms regularly (especially if they occur when exposed to damp environments) then it is important to speak to your doctor about whether you may have a potential mould allergy.

Mould Allergy Treatment

The best way to treat a mould allergy is through avoidance — this means reducing your exposure to mould spores as much as possible. Avoiding exposure to mould in your home is as simple as keeping it as clean and dry as possible. If your home has areas with high levels of mould growth then it’s important that you take steps right away to remove it and make sure it doesn’t come back. You may also want to consider investing in an air purifier or dehumidifier which can help reduce the amount of airborne particles in your home which could trigger an allergic reaction.[4] 

Make sure that damp areas like basements, sheds, garages, and bathrooms are regularly cleaned with anti-mould products. Additionally, some medications such as Telfast contain antihistamines, which can help reduce your symptoms, if needed.

With many Australians suffering from mould allergies each year, it’s important for everyone to be aware of the signs and symptoms so they can take steps towards managing their condition effectively. Through avoiding contact with mould spores whenever possible — along with using ventilation systems in damp areas — you can reduce your risk of experiencing symptoms due to a sensitivity to mould.[5]

If you suspect you may have a mould allergy, speak with a medical professional so they can help diagnose your condition accurately and provide appropriate treatment options for relief from discomforting symptoms associated with this common type of allergen sensitivity.

MAT-AU-2302156

[1] Mould – Fact sheets. (2022, December 20). NSW Health. Retrieved from https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/environment/factsheets/Pages/mould.aspx

[2] Mould Allergy. (2015, September 25). Australian Allergy Centre. Retrieved from https://www.australianallergycentre.com.au/mould-allergy/

[3] Mold Allergy: What It Is, Symptoms, Treatment, Prevention. (2022, October 1). Cleveland Clinic. Retrieved from https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/22309-mold-allergy

[4] Mould and your health. (2020, August 10). Better Health Channel. Retrieved from http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/mould-and-your-health

[5] James. (2022, August 8). Mold Allergy. Asthma & Allergy Foundation of America. Retrieved from https://aafa.org/allergies/types-of-allergies/mold-allergy/


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