Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"How should one deal with an allergy to mold?"
My wife recently consulted with an allergist who told her she is allergic to mold. How should we handle this new information? We live in an old, damp apartment complex, so we can't really get away from mold. Should we move? Should my wife start taking antihistamines? What is the SOP here?
Questions about allergies and managing symptoms caused by specific allergies are best addressed by an allergist. Many allergists will have patient information available to help patients and their families deal with newly diagnosed allergies. As with any allergy, the best way to treat mold allergies is to get away from sources of mold. Moving can be difficult or impossible, but if you know that the place in which you live is a source of allergen exposure, the best way to prevent worsening symptoms is to get away from the source. If moving is an option, then moving to a mold-free environment is the best course of action. There are also several lifestyle strategies that can be used to manage mold allergies at home. You can sleep with the windows shut, as mold spores tend to be most prevalent at night. Wearing a mask when raking leaves or outside in an environment likely to contain mold spores can also help. Many newspapers will also publish daily 'mold counts' for the air--when these counts are high, it is best to avoid going outdoors if possible. Finally, there are also medications that can be helpful to manage symptoms of mold allergies. These medications include inhaled nasal steroids, antihistamines, decongestants, luekotriene inhibitors, or nasal lavage. In some patients, desensitization with allergy shots may also be effective in helping to treat mold allergies.
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