Common Mold Allergies

There are hundreds of types of molds, but not all of them are responsible for causing allergy symptoms. The most common allergy-causing molds include:

Alternaria – Aspergillus – Cladosporium – Penicillium

Today MACTexas takes a closer look at Alternaria and Allergies.

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OVERVIEW

Molds are tiny fungi whose spores float through the air. They like damp environments and need four things to grow:  food, air, appropriate temperature, and water. Molds can be found outdoors, in homes and in other buildings.

Everyone breathes in mold spores in the air, but some people have an allergic reaction or asthma symptoms if exposed to too much of this fungus.

If you are allergic to mold, your immune system is overly-sensitive to specific mold spores and treats them as an allergen. When you inhale the mold spores, your immune system triggers symptoms such as sneezing, itchy, watery eyes, runny nose, nasal congestion or itchy nose, mouth and lips.

About Alternaria

  • Alternaria alternata is a powerful inducer of respiratory allergic diseases.
  • alternata produces a broad and complex array of allergenic proteins.
  • The study of A. alternata allergens has allowed for the understanding of mold allergies.
  • A alternata allergens are potent markers of phylogeny, sensitization and exposure.

When it comes to molds that are susceptible to growth in an indoor environment like a home, there are a few common ones like the well-known Alternaria. We are going to discuss more about the well-known household mold and learn more about an Alternaria allergy on human health for those exposed to this mold in their indoor environment(s).  

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What is Alternaria Mold?

Alternaria mold has over 250 known species that are extremely common and widespread in different environments, both indoors and outdoors. This mold forms from the Alternaria plant pathogen, that has infected more than 4000 species of host plants and can lead to and cause significant damage to agricultural products like grains, fruits, and vegetables. These different species of Alternaria can grow in a range of environments with varying temperatures and moisture levels.

When Alternaria mold grows indoors it is likely to be found in carpets, wallpaper, textiles, window frames and air conditioning systems. When and if this mold forms in an indoor environment like a home, it will trigger allergic responses that will similarly reflect allergy symptoms upon exposure to this mold and its spores in the air. The Alternaria allergy season usually falls between spring through the summer months and this is typically when those individuals who suffer from allergies and/or asthma will begin to experience symptoms from Alternaria.

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Where Does Alternaria Mold Grow

The versatile Alternaria mold can be found growing and thriving in many different environments and conditions, as it will freely float in the air and spread throughout the airspace. The season nor the location matters to Alternaria, as it will linger in the air on dry, windy days allowing it to be picked up by a breeze and become airborne into the air.

If this species of mold enters into your home, it will likely cling to your produce, houseplants, furniture, and even clothing. In addition, Alternaria can also form and grow under carpeting and inside walls in some cases. However, when this mold produces its spores into the environment they can circulate feverishly throughout the airspace and are often found growing in showers, basements, and in attics. Wherever there is higher than normal humidity levels for the mold to aggressively grow is where.

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Is Alternaria Mold Dangerous?

There are many species of mold that have been recognized and identified as a dangerous form of mold to both human health and the environment (as it can significantly alter the indoor air quality and lead to destruction of the walls and other surfaces in the home). One of the most infamous mold species is the notorious stachybotrys chartarum (black mold) that is known for producing toxic mycotoxins into the airspace that can severely impact the environment and the health of those largely exposed to these hazardous toxins in their air. Additionally, other forms of mold like Alternaria can also present dangerous effects into the indoor environment of a home and to human health overtime as exposure progresses.

Can mold make you sick? Alternaria has been known to cause certain health problems in individuals who are exposed to the mold in their personal indoor environment, and these health effects can vary depending on the amount of mold in the environment, the duration of exposure, and the ventilation and air flow within this indoor space. This type of mold species will produce mycotoxins into the environment, similar to black mold, which can affect the respiratory system, skin, and nails, according to Mold Busters. Alternaria will produce an allergenic pollutant into the air, also known as mold spores, that will trigger asthma/allergy attacks in those people who are prone to these health conditions, and thus is why the term Alternaria allergy has formed and is suffered by those who are stuck dealing with this species of mold in their homes.

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Allergy to Alternaria Alternata

Did you know that Alternaria alternate is one of the most common funguses associated with asthma and allergies, but primarily asthma? The presence of this mold will not only lead to the development of asthma but also the persistence and severity of already pre-existing asthma issues in those who have been strongly sensitized and exposed to this mold species.

The Alternaria allergen can also affect those individuals with sensitive and compromised immune systems that can cause serious infections in the respiratory tract along with other potential adverse health effects. These health effects will commence from exposure and/or inhalation of these Alternaria allergens and the mold spores produced into the air by this species of mold.

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Alternaria Mold Health Effects

Alternaria is a type of mold that commonly causes allergic reactions in the body, especially when this form of mold is growing aggressively throughout the indoor environment of your home. The human body will identify Alternaria mold as an extremely dangerous foreign invader, which will trigger the release of antibodies from the immune system in an act to protect the health of an individual from this classified “threat”. The triggered antibodies will initiate chemicals like histamines, that bring on the allergic symptoms that many people with allergies suffer from daily. The typical allergic symptoms that will be triggered in the human body from Alternaria alternata mold can include sneezing, itchy and watery eyes, runny nose, congestion, coughing, and dry skin.

When it comes to health effects and risks produced from Alternaria mold, the most vulnerable people to this mold will include those with pulmonary diseases, asthma, allergies, and those with a weakened immune system. As an individual is exposed to this species of mold for a prolonged period of time, it has the potential to cause several health issues for most individuals, but it will affect the elderly, children, and babies more severely in most cases. If you begin to notice signs and symptoms that similarly reflect these when inside of your home, it is important to begin checking for this mold throughout your home because there is a higher chance that Alternaria is growing in this indoor environment.

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How to Remove Alternaria Mold in Air

The process of removing any species of mold from your home’s environment including both the surfaces and the air can be a lengthy procedure that will require the help of specialists that are trained and capable of effectively and safely removing mold from an indoor environment. When it comes to the specific mold species of Alternaria, this type of mold species will produce and release mold spores and allergenic substances into the environment that will latch onto surfaces and hang around in the indoor air for an ambiguous amount of time, depending on the ventilation and air flow within the indoor space.

Allergen Removal

The best solution to implement into your home to combat airborne mold spores and allergens is the use of a mold air purifier. An air purifier is a device that works to filter the indoor air by using an air filtration technology to trap and remove pollution from the air. These devices, depending on the model and brand, can also be utilized to remove and destroy microorganisms like mold spores that can be collected in the indoor air.

 

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