Allergies are more than just an “achoo!” here and an “achoo!” there. They are more than pollen in the spring and dust mites in the fall. In fact, seasonal allergies can last all year depending on where you live and the weather in that particular location. If you suffer from frustrating allergy symptoms that you can’t pin down, you may have a mold and yeast allergy. Here’s what you need to know – and how we can help you find relief!
Put simply, allergies occur when your immune system reacts to a foreign invader like pollen, pet dander, certain foods, etc. Your immune system produces something called antibodies which then identify certain allergens as harmful even when they aren’t. When this happens, your immune system goes on high alert by inflaming the skin, sinuses, and airways or causing digestive upset. Severity varies from person to person—while someone may get a runny nose in response to an allergen, another person could experience anaphylaxis which is a potentially life-threatening emergency.
Two lesser-known allergies that can be more difficult to pinpoint and diagnose are mold and yeast allergies, each of which has its own unique symptoms and set of treatment options.
Mold is a catch-all term for a variety of molds that can cause allergic reactions. There are a number of indoor and outdoor molds, but only certain kinds cause an allergic reaction. These are: Alternaria, Aspergillus, Cladosporium, Penicillium, and Coccidioides (commonly known as the mold that causes Valley Fever). If you discover you are allergic to one, that does not mean you are allergic to all of them. Reactions to these types of mold occur when you inhale tiny airborne mold spores that your body recognizes as harmful and develops allergy-causing antibodies to fight them off.
Unlike mold allergies, a yeast allergy flare occurs when you eat a food or beverage containing yeast such as bread, pastries, flour, milk, beer, and many more. Unfortunately, when yeast allergy sufferers learn they are allergic to yeast, they will find out very quickly how many foods and beverages contain this allergen!
Now let’s have a look at the signs and symptoms of mold and yeast allergies. If you suspect that you have an allergy to either of these, it is best to get a consultation scheduled!
Mold allergies may be difficult to diagnose at first. Many of the symptoms are similar to the common cold or flu, so if you suspect you are reacting to an allergen, it is best to pay attention to how long your symptoms last, when they pop up, and where you are when you feel symptoms coming on.
Common symptoms for mold allergies include:
A mold allergy may cause allergic reactions right away, but in some cases, it can be delayed and begin with a stuffy nose or asthma symptoms that get worse over time, especially in damp or humid conditions. If you are allergic to outdoor molds, allergies may feel more severe in the summer and fall but can be triggered year-round depending on the conditions.
Yeast allergy symptoms differ quite a bit from mold allergies. Rather than cold-like symptoms, those allergic to yeast find themselves experiencing more gastrointestinal troubles.
Common symptoms of yeast allergies include:
While symptoms of mold and yeast allergies can really wreak havoc on your day-to-day, don’t worry! There is relief in sight. Whether you prefer over-the-counter options or lifestyle remedies, there are several options available to help you keep your symptoms under control year-round.
The best way to manage allergies is to try and avoid them, however, that is easier said than done, especially when they are not in plain sight or you are exposed without knowing it. In this case, there are many treatment options for both mold and yeast allergies.
The first is nasal corticosteroids, which are sprays to help prevent and treat inflammation caused by upper respiratory mold allergies. In many cases, these are the most effective allergy medications and are the first prescribed. It is good to be aware that these can come with side effects such as nosebleeds, however, they are generally safe for long-term use.
Another treatment option is antihistamines. These can help with itching, sneezing, runny nose, and more. They work to block histamines, which are inflammatory chemicals released in response to an allergic reaction.
Decongestants are another popular treatment for mold allergies. Both oral and nasal spray decongestants are meant to be used sparingly and only for a few days at a time. Common side effects of decongestants are headaches and insomnia.
A more uncommon yet effective treatment for mold allergies is immunotherapy. This treatment includes a series of allergy shots that are very effective, however, they are typically only used for certain types of mold allergies.
If you prefer to go the more natural route to avoiding mold allergy flare-ups, here are some great tips to keep your symptoms at bay.
Sleeping with your windows closed is an easy way to keep outdoor mold, well…out! Airborne mold spores are at their highest concentration at night when the weather is damp, so keep those windows shut while you’re getting some shut-eye.
Try to keep the indoor humidity in your home below 50% to avoid any water damage inside the house. Moisture meters are available at many hardware stores and are great tools to ensure humidity is at a safe level.
Consider wearing a dust mask over your nose and mouth while you are doing any kind of yard work. Disturbing damp leaves or grass can send mold spores flying and cause symptoms to really ramp up.
Treating yeast allergies is much simpler than mold allergies because the best and most effective treatment for a diagnosed yeast allergy is avoiding food and beverages that contain yeast. The three main culprits to look out for are baked goods, alcoholic beverages, and food spreads. Cakes and bread often contain yeast which is used to leaven foods, alcohol contains yeast to help ferment the sugar, the popular spreads like Marmite and Vegemite are known to contain yeast. The best thing you can do is read labels and ask a member of the waitstaff about menu items that could possibly contain yeast.
Avoiding foods is the best bet, but antihistamines can also help manage symptoms of yeast allergies. In extreme cases where someone may experience an anaphylactic reaction, they will need emergency medical care if they accidentally ingest yeast. Epinephrine pens can prevent anaphylaxis from becoming fatal.
For both mold and yeast allergies, a specialist can help diagnose the allergy through thorough skin testing. As a leading allergist in Fresno with over a decade of clinical experience, Dr. Buddiga helps get to the bottom of his patients’ symptoms with skin testing—or patch testing. This involves scratching the surface of the skin with a few drops of the purified allergen and then monitoring the skin for any delayed reaction to the substances. After identifying the culprit allergen, Dr. Buddiga can then recommend the best course of action to treat the allergy.
Another option in the case of diagnosing a yeast allergy is to implement an elimination diet. If a food allergy is suspected, the individual will be required to stop eating the allergen for a period of time and then slowly reintroduce it back into the diet while recording any uncomfortable symptoms. This can help to quickly get to the bottom of any gastrointestinal issues.
Schedule A Consultation
Know that you are not alone if you are struggling with diagnosing or managing allergy symptoms. To help you get your symptoms under control, it’s time to schedule an appointment with Dr. Buddiga. His expertise in treating patients has helped many patients regain control of their symptoms and, in turn, get back to living their lives to the fullest. Don’t wait! Book a consultation today: https://www.buddiga.com/contact/
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