Mold Allergies

Molds live everywhere—on logs and on fallen leaves, and in moist places like bathrooms and kitchens. Some people are allergic to these molds. An allergy occurs when you react to things like mold or pollen (called allergens) that don’t affect most people.


Mold allergies can be tough to outrun. The fungus can grow in your basement, in your bathroom, in the cabinet under your sink where a leak went undetected, in the pile of dead leaves in your backyard and in the field of uncut grass down the road.

There are roughly 1,000 species of mold in the United States — many of which aren’t visible to the naked eye. As tiny mold spores become airborne, they can cause allergic reactions in people who have mold allergies.

Don’t let allergies hold you back.

The best way to manage your mold allergy is to see an allergist.


Mold allergy symptoms can be similar to those of other respiratory allergies:

  • Nasal congestion
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Irritated eyes
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Itchy throat

Mold can also trigger or aggravate asthma symptoms.

Management and Treatment

If you suspect you might have a mold allergy, or if you have similar symptoms that continue to persist, consult an allergist. Allergists are specially trained to help you take control of your allergies and asthma, so you can live the life you want. They can conduct skin or blood tests that help pinpoint the allergy.

In the case of mold allergies, you may be able to identify the source of the mold by tracking your symptoms over a two-week period, along with where you’ve been. Exposure to mold allergies can occur just about anywhere — in the home, outdoors or at work.

Antihistamines and decongestants can help relieve the symptoms. Plan ahead and wear a dust mask — or take allergy medications in advance — if you’re going to be around potential sources of mold, such as when doing yardwork. Once you are finished, remove mold spores by rinsing your nose with a saline solution and taking a shower.

Another key step in controlling your mold allergies is to guard against mold in your home:

  • Quickly clean up any spills or leaks to prevent mold from growing.
  • Use dehumidifiers or exhaust fans — or crack open a window — to help reduce moisture and humidity in bathrooms or other rooms in your home.
  • Regularly clean garbage cans and refrigerator drip pans.
  • Regularly clear your gutters, and ensure that drainage flows away from your home’s foundation.
  • Consult a professional, or follow the guidelines from the Environmental Protection Agency, to clean up existing mold in your home.

This page was reviewed for accuracy 4/23/2018.