Fungus Allergies

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I recently received the following email inquiry about mushrooms growing inside a persons home!

So I never had any allergies before, and recently began experiencing symptoms such as eruptions on the eyelids and a lot of sneezing and a runny nose. I discovered there was a leak between the bathroom wall and the living room. When I pulled the sofa from the wall, there was actually mushrooms growing from the baseboard.  I’m pretty sure that when I ever leave my house, I feel better. It sucks. Please help!

This is the only time I had ever heard of actual mushrooms (fungus) growing inside a home in my 30 years as a mold specialist and remediation contractor.

Fungus can be broken down into two categories when we are talking indoor air pollution:

  1. mold
  2. mushrooms

Each of these two fungus organisms need organic matter to grow (colonize) … of which many homes has a much of it. In addition, high levels of humidity further exacerbate the problem.  Fungus thrives at 60% or more relative humidity levels.

If you feel you have an allergy to mold then it is probably not actual mushrooms found in your indoor environment, but mold which can be found in various places in the typical home. When you develop a hypersensitivity to a mold, then you will experience allergy symptoms when exposed to it. This is especially true if the mold is growing somewhere in the house such as a damp wall, the air conditioning coil box or perhaps a refrigerator drip pan.

First look around the cupboard, the bathrooms and other areas for sources of moisture. Check for damp walls, leaking pipes, mineral stains in the ceiling sheet rock from a roof leak, holes in siding and around window frames. Since you live in an apartment complex, there is also a chance that moisture is being caused by a leak in an adjacent unit, so ask around and see if your neighbors have mold problems. If no leaks are obvious then it may be growing in a place out of sight such as those listed above. Have a heating and air conditioning professional check your unit for mold in the coil box, check under sinks for a mold smell, clean your refrigerator drip pan and check all other hidden areas where moisture may be hiding. You could even purchase an inexpensive hygrometer and check the humidity levels around the house. Relative humidity (RH) readings should be below 60%. If the RH level is above 60%, then you should rent or purchase a dehumidifier to control humidity in the house. As soon as you lower and maintain moisture levels relative between 40-50%, then molds may dry out and release spores into the air. Unfortunately a dead or alive mold spore can make you ill so you will still need to remove excess dust including possible mold spores from the indoor environment.

Consider purchasing a HEPA (high efficient particle air) vacuum cleaner and air purifier and use regularly until symptoms get better. If you continue having a moldy smell indoors, then you may also consider hiring a mold contractor to remediate the problem. Be sure and check at least three of their references before proceeding.

About the Author:
The Sick House Center provides resources and information about Sick House Syndrome and other indoor pollution issues. Read about Mold Solutions for the indoor environment at the Sick House Center.

Related Posts: Mold Allergy Symptoms.

Mushroom allergy

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