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Mold allergy treatment options

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Avoiding exposureEnvironmental controlImmunotherapyMedicationsSpeaking with a doctorSummary
If you have a mold allergy, you may experience coughing, a stuffy nose, or itchy skin when exposed to mold spores. Treatments like over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription allergy medications may help.
Medically reviewed by Mia Armstrong, MD
Written by Cathy Lovering
Updated on

Mold exists in both outdoor and indoor spaces. Mold spores can come inside through open doors and windows and might collect on clothing, shoes, or pets. Indoor mold can exist wherever there is moisture, including areas of high humidity and low ventilation. 

People with a mold allergy may experience symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, a stuffy nose, or burning eyes when exposed to mold spores. It is also possible for those who are immunocompromised or have a lung condition to develop a lung infection from mold exposure. 

Below are several strategies that can help reduce the symptoms and triggers of a mold allergy.

Avoiding mold exposure

Avoiding exposure to mold can be one of the most effective ways to manage mold allergy. But this can be challenging as mold exists both indoors and outdoors.

Some tips for avoiding mold include:

  • staying inside when mold counts are high outdoors
  • showering and washing your hair after being outdoors
  • keeping away from wild fields or fields with uncut grass
  • avoiding raking leaves

The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology has an online tool to track mold and pollen levels in your local area.

Some mold exposure is unavoidable, so it can be useful to note your symptoms for 2 weeks to help identify when you’re most vulnerable.

You can also take preventive steps like wearing a dust mask before and during mold exposure, like doing yard work.

Environmental control

Older adult opening a window to depict mold allergy prevention.
Pedro Merino/Stocksy United

While you can’t do much about mold outside, you can help improve your home environment so that mold is less likely to occur. Consider doing routine maintenance and upkeep around the house that reduces moisture and improves air quality.

This can include:

  • fixing leaky pipes and faucets
  • using vinegar solution to clean mold off walls
  • replacing basement carpets with linoleum or concrete
  • reducing humidity by using dehumidifiers and exhaust fans or by increasing ventilation
  • clearing your gutters
  • regularly cleaning refrigerator drip pans
  • quickly cleaning up spills or leaks
  • fixing leaky roofs and windows where moisture can seep in

It can also be helpful to make sure there’s enough ventilation when cooking, showering, or doing laundry, as these activities can cause moisture and steam to accumulate. You can open a window to let out steam.   

Humidity levels should ideally be 30–50% all day. Lower humidity levels can help prevent an environment that encourages mold growth.

You can use a tool called a hygrometer if you’d like to measure the humidity levels in your home.


Immunotherapy treatment for allergies builds up your tolerance for a certain allergen. You receive shots of the allergen on a specific schedule until you reach a point of immunity. That can help you have fewer symptoms or less severe symptoms when you have future exposure to the allergen.

Generally, you get allergy shots 1–2 times per week during the buildup phase, which lasts 3–6 months. Afterward, shots are every 2–4 weeks for about 3–5 years. This is known as the maintenance phase. It can take about 12 months on the maintenance dose before you see an improvement in allergy symptoms. 

Immunotherapy might be an option to treat your mold allergy if your symptoms include allergic rhinitis (inflammation in your nose caused by allergens) or if you have bronchial asthma.

The allergy shots are only for treating allergies to specific types of mold, such as Alternaria alternata. They might not work as well if you have allergies to other mold types.

Medication options

Several OTC medications can help manage your mold allergy symptoms. These include:

A doctor may also prescribe medications such as the antihistamine nasal sprays azelastine (Astepro) and olopatadine (Patanase).

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When to speak with a doctor

If you’re experiencing symptoms of a mold allergy that are affecting your day-to-day life, it can be helpful to speak with a doctor. They can:

  • diagnose a mold allergy using your medical history, a physical examination, and allergy testing
  • prescribe alternative medications if OTC mold allergy medications aren’t helping
  • put together a treatment plan if you or someone in your household has asthma or another respiratory condition

It is important for people with respiratory conditions to stay away from mold where possible, even if they don’t have a mold allergy, as it can trigger an asthma flare-up or other serious symptoms. 


You can help prevent mold allergy symptoms by avoiding exposure to mold where possible. This can involve reducing moisture indoors and stopping mold spores from entering the home. If you can’t avoid an environment with mold, protective measures like dust masks and showering afterward can help prevent a reaction. 

Medication for a mold allergy includes antihistamines, intranasal corticosteroids, and decongestants. Immunotherapy can also be an effective treatment for those with a severe allergy.

Download the free Optum Perks Discount Card to save up to 80% on some prescription medications.

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