Concern about mold allergy and conditions thought to be associated with exposure to mold has increased over the past 10 years. Many persons suffer from mold allergy and may be exposed to high mold spore levels both outdoors and indoors. Test your knowledge of mold allergy with these questions.
True: Most people use the terms interchangeably. However, fungi have their own biological kingdom. While most fungi might be called mold by the general public, in fact, not all molds are fungi. Mushrooms, bracket fungi and other fleshy fungi are part of the fungal kingdom but are never called molds. Also, slime mold and water mold are two examples of molds that are not part of the fungal kingdom.
True: The human allergic response is to protein allergens found on fungi and fungal spores. The protein is there whether the fungus is dead or alive.
All of the above. Control of moisture inside your home is the key to reducing fungus.
Yes. If one or more of your parents was allergic to anything, you are more likely to be allergic. However, even if neither parent was allergic to mold you could still be mold allergic.
False: Mold or fungal spores are microscopic which means that you can't see them without the help of a microscope or a very good magnifying glass. You can, however, see colonies of fungi with thousands of spores on the top growing on wet walls or old bread.
True: The symptoms for mold allergy are the same as symptoms for other airborne allergies.
True. In most areas of the United States and Canada you can find some mold spores in the air at any time of the year. The outdoor mold spore level is lower in the winter when the air is cold and higher in the summer when the air is warm and moist. Some conditions, such as right after a snowfall, have especially low outdoor spore levels and other conditions, such as right after a rainfall in the summer, have high spore levels. On frozen ground covered in snow, fungi hide for the winter.
False. Most problems caused by mold are related to inside mold that is unsightly and smells bad. In a moldy building wood rot fungus damage the structure eventually making it unsafe. A few environmental fungi can also be infectious in humans. However, people with normal immune systems usually do not get fungal infections.
False. The National Allergy Bureau™ (NAB™) reports outdoor mold spore levels for many areas of the United States and Canada when outdoor mold spore levels are high enough to cause mold allergy symptoms. There is likely to be an NAB station somewhere near you.