Autumn: Your Symptoms of Mold Allergy Kick into High Gear!

Russell Faust, MD, PhD, how to reduce your symptoms of mold allergy

Image: Autumn – When Your Symptoms of Mold Allergy Kick Into High Gear

Symptoms of Mold Allergy, And What You Can Do About It!

Fall. Autumn. My personal  favorite time of the year. Gorgeous colors. Sweaters. Comfortable biking, running, sporting weather. Only one problem: mold. Leaf mold everywhere. And rain. Combined with the cooler temperatures, the higher humidity is a mold’s best friend. And your worst enemy if you have symptoms of mold allergy. The symptoms are nothing unusual: just the typical symptoms of allergic rhinitis! What is unusual is that we usually think of things growing best during spring and summer months – not during the Fall. In fact, many molds prefer a little cooler weather – say, 50-60 degrees (F). So, in addition to mold spores wafting in the breeze outside, we’re not even safe from mold spores in our homes. And, for most people with allergic rhinitis or asthma, allergies to molds are only a little less common than allergy to dust mites. So what to do about it? Sort of moving to the desert, that is? Here are 8 steps you can take to reduce your mold allergy symptoms during my favorite time of year, Fall.

Russell Faust, MD, PhD, how to reduce your symptoms of mold allergy

Image: Molds LOVE High Humidity and Lower Temps!

  1. Close your windows. As much as I love the cool breeze and fresh-air scents of Autumn, opening your windows brings in the mold spores from leaf molds. Leave them closed for now.
  2. Keep a small fan running in the lower level of your home. Moving air reduces stagnant moisture, thereby reducing the likelihood of molds.
  3. Be certain to run the ventilation fan when you shower. And keep it running until that shower is dry.
  4. Fix that leaking faucet or pipe! Track down any leaking or condensation on cold pipes. Those are a source of moisture for mold to grow. Look beneath your bathroom or kitchen sink: any stains beneath pipes suggest a leak or drip from condensation. Have it checked and repaired to remove a potential source of mold.
  5. If you’ve turned on your furnace, you may also be using a humidifier to compensate for that drier air. For those using humidifiers, be sure to turn it off during the day! Open your bedroom(s) and air it out. Dust mites and molds love moisture.
  6. Don’t use toxic cleaners: Vinegar is great for scrubbing away mold. Also consider tea tree oil, which is a natural antifungal agent. Just add a teaspoon of the essential oil to a cup of water and apply with a brush (an old toothbrush works well for a small area).
  7. Change your furnace filters. Old filters accumulate mold spores and other toxic debris. Don’t keep blowing that stuff throughout your home. Change the filters; they’re cheap
  8. Use a HEPA-Filtered vacuum cleaner. This is an efficient way to eliminate many mold spores from your carpets and floors, and also reduce dust that dust mites live on.

Bonus:  Finally, take off your shoes when you come home from outdoors. Most of the mold spores and toxins in the dirt in our homes comes in on our shoes! Leave your shoes at the door to minimize tracking this stuff into your clean home.

Follow these 8 or 9 tips and breathe easier this Fall.

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Russell Faust, PhD, MD boogordoctor / healthy children

Image: Dr. Faust and friend

Hi, I’m Russell Faust, author of this medical education blog.

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