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    Do I Have a Mold Allergy?

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    Mold is all over the place -- outdoors and indoors – though you might not notice. It spreads by releasing tiny, lightweight spores that travel through the air. It grows quickly in moist dark spaces, such as basements, garbage cans, and piles of rotting leaves.

    When it’s on food, you can usually see signs, such as the fuzzy green spots that appear on bread. As it grows, the mold's roots can sink deep inside the food, where you can’t see it.

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    All of us are exposed to some mold every day, and usually, there are no problems. We may breathe in spores from the air or eat foods in which mold has started to grow.

    But if you have allergies to it, you can have a reaction if you’re around too much of it.

    What Are the Symptoms?

    Like many other allergies, the warning signs can include:

    You might not be able to totally avoid mold when you're allergic to it. But you can lower your risk of a reaction by choosing your foods carefully.

    Check everything you eat for signs of mold before you chow down.

    Don’t smell foods to see if they're spoiled, because inhaling mold spores can set off an allergic reaction.

    Also, avoid foods that are more likely to contain mold or other fungi, such as mushrooms and yeast. Common culprits include:

    • Cheese
    • Mushrooms
    • Vinegar and foods containing vinegar, such as salad dressing, catsup, and pickles
    • Sour cream, sour milk, and buttermilk
    • Meat or fish more than 24 hours old
    • Breads and other food made with yeast
    • Sauerkraut
    • Pickled and smoked meats and fish
    • Dried fruits such as dates, prunes, figs, and raisins
    • Soy sauce
    • Hot dogs, sausages
    • Canned juices

    WebMD Medical Reference

    Reviewed by Luqman Seidu, MD on May 18, 2014
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