Mold Spore Allergies: Dark Side of Summer Showers

Jul 09, 2010, 16:39 ET from Greater Austin Allergy

AUSTIN, Texas, July 9 /PRNewswire/ -- Lake levels are higher and the normally brown Austin roadside is green and lush, but for allergy sufferers summer showers can increase their exposure to allergenic mold spores. Molds can be found inside and outside the home. Along with pollens from trees, grasses, and weeds, molds are an important trigger of allergic rhinitis, affecting nearly 40 million Americans, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI).

"Mold spores contain allergens, substances that some immune systems recognize as dangerous," said Henry Legere, MD of Greater Austin Allergy (contact "Exposure to mold can trigger allergic reactions such as nasal stuffiness, eye irritation, wheezing, coughing and hay fever-like symptoms."

Molds are microscopic organisms that are pervasive in any outdoor environment. However, they may be brought inside on skin or pets, clothing, shoes or indoor potted plants. Mold needs only a food source, warm environment and moisture to grow. Mold may be invisible to the eye or may look like furry growth, black stains or specks of black, white, orange, green and brown on surfaces. Large infestations of mold can usually be seen or smelled.

Where can mold be found?


  • Basements or crawl spaces
  • Near windows
  • Under sinks
  • Near leaky pipes


  • Near heavy vegetation
  • Near hay or straw
  • In piles of leaves
  • In grass

What can be done?

Dr. Legere at  recommends that you take the following steps to rid your home of mold:

  • Repair leaking roof and pipes.
  • Maintain a low level of humidity in your home (between 35-40 percent); if necessary, use a de-humidifier to remove moisture.
  • Use a solution of warm water, liquid detergent and 5% bleach to clean the mold on washable surfaces.
  • Use exhaust fans in the bathroom and wipe down the shower after use.
  • If mold is visible on soft spaces, such as carpeting or wallpaper, these things should be removed.

The role of the allergist/immunologist

An allergist/immunologist can evaluate your symptoms and help you determine which are caused by mold. Once your allergic triggers are determined, your allergist/immunologist will work with you to develop a plan to avoid the allergens that trigger your symptoms. Allergists like Dr. Legere can perform skin testing to diagnose mold and pollen allergies and can institute medication treatment regimens or potentially cure your allergy symptoms with allergy shots.

SOURCE Greater Austin Allergy