Mold spore allergies peaking - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Mold spore allergies peaking

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A few years ago nurse Molly Rodgers noticed her allergies acting up whenever she stepped outside, especially in the spring time.

"I always get congestion. My nose stays stopped up all the time. So I'm having to use nasal spray," says Rodgers.

She figured it was the pollen and decided to get tested at the clinic where she works, the Chattanooga Allergy Clinic. She was surprised to found out that pollen wasn't the only thing causing her misery.

"I've always noticed the pollens, but I never knew I was allergic to mold," adds Rodgers.

Dr. Marc Cromie, who works at the same clinic, has seen increasing cases of mold allergies this month because of so much wet weather.

"When it rains like we've had, where we have a tremendous amount of rain, and there's flooding and we have indoor leaks, etc., our mold spore counts are incredibly high," explains Cromie.

In an average April, Chattanooga receives around four inches of rainfall. This April we've had more than twice that amount officially measured at Lovell Field.

Cromie says you might not know you're allergic to molds because the reactions to it are similar to those of pollens.

"Some people think it's pollen, but it really is mold," adds Cromie. "So, they don't appreciate that the mold seasons are also the pollen seasons."

The main difference is that mold reactions usually occur to a higher degree. For Rodgers, it's mostly the headaches that are the worst.

"Probably on a scale from one to 10, they're about an eight, and they last all day," says Rodgers.

She says her spray, along with allergy shots, keep her symptoms at bay so she can enjoy the outdoors. The good news is that typically no special treatments or prescriptions are needed for mold allergies.

"The medications that we use for pollen allergies--like anti-histamines--also work for mold allergies, too," explains Cromie.

If you think you have a problem, Cromie and Rodgers urge you to take a proactive approach.

"You really need to get tested, even if you have the slightest symptoms," suggests Rodgers.

It's a simple skin test that can detect pollen and mold allergies, as well as some others. To reduce reactions to mold inside your home, Cromie recommends using a dehumidifier. For daily pollen and mold counts (issued Monday through Friday around 9 a.m. EDT), visit this link and click directly on the heading "Air Quality Information".
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