During much of the year, plants produce pollen and mold knows no season and may occur anytime. Plants release pollen in order to fertilize other plants. Not all of those particles reach their intended targets and some enter the airways of people. The same goes for mold, which can find its way into the nose or mouth through many routes.
Pollen and mold allergies need to be treated separately since what reduces one will effectively increase the other.
Symptoms of Pollen and Mold Allergies
The proteins in these plant substances are viewed by the body as foreign invaders. They stimulate the immune system to release antibodies that cause the body to produce histamine. Overproduction leads to well known allergy symptoms. Asthma and wheezing, allergic rhinitis (inflammation of the nose) and conjunctivitis (inflammation of the eyelid membranes), and other symptoms are a common result.
Since pollen grains can be carried by the wind for hundreds of miles, getting away from the area is not usually an option. Molds can build up in any humid area of the house. Both of these common allergens cannot be eliminated from the overall environment. However, they can be minimized in your environment and, more specifically, your body.
Managing Pollen Levels
Since pollen levels vary during the day, changing your habits can help control the level of exposure. Levels are likely to be higher in the early morning, from about 5 am – 10 am. They are also affected by humidity levels so rain or even high humidity will keep pollen closer to the ground since it does not fly as well in heavy, moist air.
Keeping the windows closed can help, since it prevents the pollen grains from wafting in through the screens. Air conditioners fitted with good filters are preferable to window or attic fans for cooling. Drying clothes outdoors leads to increased pollen indoors, since the grains get attached to the clothing which then may come into close contact with the nose and mouth.
Mold Allergy Management
Mold grows in a humid environment which means that while humidity helps keep pollen levels down outside, it increases mold inside. An air conditioner or dehumidifier is helpful. Regular cleaning is also helpful to ensure that moisture does not stay on surfaces that come into contact with your hands, then the nose and mouth. Anything that gets on to your hands and is not washed off will eventually end up in your airways.
Keeping the bathroom and kitchen clear of mold is relatively easy with modern sprays. Be sure to cleanse your hands well after cleaning up and dry them thoroughly after cleaning.
Pollen and Mold Allergies Treatment
When you have undertaken all reasonable preventative measures against pollen and mold, but still have an allergic reaction, allergy medications can come to your aid. The underlying condition is not cured, but symptom relief can be substantial.
Antihistamines such as Benadryl (diphenhydramine) are one effective treatment. They counteract the overproduction of histamine that leads to swollen nasal passages and other common symptoms.
Corticosteroids are another alternative which help reduce nasal inflammation and minimize excess mucous production. However, beware of overuse since it can lead to bad side effects.
For any allergic condition such as pollen or mold allergies, which persists for more than two weeks, a visit to a specialist is in order.
There are no cures for pollen and mold allergies, but proper diagnosis, management and treatment can substantially reduce the unpleasant effects.