The mold allergy

The mold allergy


Mold allergy sufferers are mostly confronted with invisible enemies. Rarely can the triggers of the allergy be seen with the naked eye, so determining the allergen is relatively complicated. Nevertheless, the allergic reaction can be traced back to the mold if one observes very closely when the reactions occur. This self-observation is an important tool for the doctor to be able to narrow down the search for the allergen.

What actually are molds and which components of the molds trigger an allergic reaction?

Molds are microscopic organisms that consist of numerous cells and are found in large quantities when they occur.

In the case of mould allergens (=allergy-triggering components of the fungi), it is not the fungi themselves that trigger an allergy, it is the spores that are released into the air by the fungi. These spores are released by the mushrooms in and of themselves to reproduce and are spread by the wind. Should an allergy sufferer inhale them, an allergic reaction will occur.

It is precisely these fungal spores that can trigger an allergic reaction in humans. If a person breathes in the allergens of the molds, then it can lead to the reaction. A non-allergic person does not notice anything about the spores they are breathing in. The allergic person reacts as if a pathogen enters the body and the immune system tries to fight this pathogen.

Less commonly, the allergic reaction is due to oral ingestion of the molds. That is, when you eat the pathogens. This can be in the form of moldy cheese but also moldy bread.


Mold allergy is usually a hereditary allergy. Many allergies are passed on through our genes. In case of an allergy of our parents or close relatives, one should definitely consult a doctor.

Since moulds are mainly spread through the air, it is also the respiratory tract that is affected first. So at the first sign of an allergy after coming into contact with mold, you should see a doctor to determine the cause.

There are numerous types of mold that we are confronted with every day in our environment. However, only 20 to 30 of these mould species can be a trigger for an allergy.

The microscopic organisms usually occur in large numbers and consist of numerous small cells. These are ingested by humans through the respiratory tract.

The spores of moulds differ from each other in size, shape and colour. They grow where it is damp and warm and prefer organic substrates.

Piles of leaves, organic waste, compost, leaves, firewood piles and numerous other organic substrates are a perfect breeding ground for mold accumulations.

In our direct living space, damp walls, damp wallpaper, wooden boarding, damp textiles, tiled walls, air-conditioning systems, damp mattresses and upholstered furniture, but also houseplants (especially so-called hydroponics) and humidifiers are the places where moulds prefer to settle.

High concentrations of spores can be found above all in unventilated rooms. Mould accumulations are also frequent in rooms with an intrinsically higher humidity: these include the bathroom, the toilet, cellar rooms and greenhouses.

So, as you can see, homes provide the perfect breeding ground for mold.

What can you do about mold infestation?

Create a space in your home where such mold accumulations cannot occur by paying attention to the following things:

  • Set climate conditions in which mold growth cannot occur.
  • Ventilate your home regularly. Lack of ventilation leads to mould accumulation.
  • Refrain from using upholstered furniture in a too humid environment
  • Do not store organic waste and material within your four walls.
  • If there are mould deposits in the walls, then you must clean them immediately
  • Wallpaper, plaster and joints should be cleaned deeply
  • Fruit and vegetables should be stored in the refrigerator
  • Food should be eaten as fresh as possible


Mostly it is the respiratory tract that is affected by a mold allergy. Unfortunately, the symptoms can rarely be immediately traced back to the cause, since the molds often remain invisible to the eye. The microscopically small spores only reveal themselves at a late stage.

However, mould spores can not only be ingested through the respiratory tract, but also through our food. Either consciously, by eating mouldy cheese, or unconsciously, by eating mouldy food without noticing it.

Symptoms can manifest themselves in the following ways:

  • Sneezing attacks are very likely with a mold allergy because the respiratory tract is involved. This can lead to swelling of the airways.
  • Itchy, red eyes that tend to water and increased sensitivity to light.
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Asthmatic attacks and shortness of breath
  • Cough and seizure-like cough attacks
  • Diarrhoea, flatulence, vomiting and colic
  • inability to concentrate, fatigue, listlessness


It is difficult to make a diagnosis because you cannot see mould. However, a history can be used to infer a mold allergy. Skin tests and blood tests can finally provide information about which allergens one is allergic to.


There are ways to treat a mold allergy. Hyposensitization can relieve the symptoms.

In this sensitization, tiny amounts of the allergen are administered so that the body can get used to it. However, with this type of treatment, you should expect it to take up to 5 years.

At the end of the treatment, the immune system should have gradually become accustomed to the mold and an overreaction of the immune system should no longer occur.

Medicinal treatment is also quite possible in the case of a mould allergy. Here you can resort to antihistamines in the form of sprays, tablets and drops, but also to mast cell stabilizers, cortisone and beta-sympathomimetics. However, you should clarify the method of treatment with a doctor.

Vaccination therapy is another type of treatment that can be resorted to. Here, there is a chance of cure through allergy vaccination with a molecularly standardized allergen preparation.

The treatment depends primarily on which allergens you react to.


You can act prophylactically by looking for and removing sources of mould. Look out for mould stains in the bathroom, as well as behind cupboards, tiles and wood panelling. If so, remove them immediately. Careful cleaning and tidying can counteract mould growth. There are cleaning agents specially developed for this purpose.

As an allergy sufferer, avoid direct contact with the pathogens by avoiding old houses where there may be mould. In case of contact, protect your respiratory tract with a mouth guard. Avoid food that is produced with mould cultures.

Editorial principles

All information used for the content comes from verified sources (recognised institutions, experts, studies by renowned universities). We attach great importance to the qualification of the authors and the scientific background of the information. Thus, we ensure that our research is based on scientific findings.
Danilo Glisic

Danilo Glisic

As a biology and mathematics student, he is passionate about writing magazine articles on current medical topics. Due to his affinity for facts, figures and data, his focus is on describing relevant clinical trial results.

The content of this page is an automated and high-quality translation from DeepL. You can find the original content in German here.



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