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BellaOnline's Allergies and Colds Editor

Mold allergy

Allergy to molds is a year-round problem, unlike other allergies that may only be present during pollen season. Molds live everywhere and especially flourish in damp, cooler climes.

Mold allergies can get worse during the fall and winter, especially if you live in an area where the majority of the wetter weather happens during those seasons. Some areas, like Hawaii, will have high mold levels year-round but not all areas are the same. There are parts of the islands that are receive more rain, humidity.

I am a mold allergy sufferer. For years, I lived in a house with a damp basement and had no idea why my allergies never let up, regardless of the season. Allergy testing revealed that I had severe mold allergy. Immunotherapy (allergy shots) helped some but my best remedy was moving to a different home with no basement.

After moving to a new home, my symptoms lessened considerably. However, I continue to be vigilant in lessening my exposure to mold, as that is my best defense. It is not possible to completely avoid mold in most areas as it thrives indoors and outdoors.

Molds grow on fallen leaves, rotting logs, compost piles, grasses and grains. Indoors, fungi can be found in damp areas, such as basements, bathrooms and kitchens.

Here are some lessons I have learned about avoiding mold:

•Avoid climates with increased humidity and rainfall. My enjoyment of a trip to Hawaii was lessened, to some degree, because of the high mold counts, which aggravated my allergy.
•Frequently clean kitchens and bathrooms to remove mold and mildew. Pay particular attention to showers and refrigerators. Don’t forget to clean the refrigerator door gaskets where molds hide.
•Use central air conditioning with a HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filters. It will help trap some of the mold spores.
•Keep the humidity level in your home below 45 percent.
•Be vigilant about cleaning up damp areas in your home.
•Clean garbage pails often.
•Use a cleaning solution made of one ounce laundry bleach per quart of water.
•Consider purchasing a steam-cleaning device, which can kill mold and make cleaning faster and easier.

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Content copyright © 2013 by Sheree Welshimer. All rights reserved.
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