Allergens: Mold

What is mold?
Mold is a member of the fungus family. It is a branching-type of growth called hyphae. It rarely dies from heat or cold exposure, but remains dormant until a particular season, such as spring or fall, when it grows and thrives. 

Where does mold grow?
Mold lives in moist conditions where there is oxygen and other chemicals. Places mold may be found are:


  • on dead or dying vegetation

  • moist, shady areas

  • rotting leaves and logs

  • certain grasses and weeds


  • damp basements and closets

  • bathrooms

  • food storage areas

  • refrigerators

  • house plants

  • air conditioners and humidifiers

  • mattresses

  • upholstered furniture

  • garbage containers

What is mold allergy?
Mold spores or fragments may be inhaled through the nose and into the lungs where they cause allergic reactions or asthma.

Mold may also be eaten in foods, such as:

  • cheeses processed by fungi

  • mushrooms

  • dried fruits

  • foods containing yeast

  • soy sauce

  • vinegar

[There is no known relationship between allergy to the mold Penicillium and allergy to the antibiotic penicillin, which is made from the mold.]