Medically reviewed on August 1, 2022 by Jillian Foglesong, MD. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.
Table of contents
An allergic reaction is a normal bodily response that occurs when your immune system perceives a foreign invader as a threat. As a defense mechanism, your body triggers various immune responses to expel, contain, or destroy the offending agent.
When you have a mold allergy, it’s a sign that your body is having an adverse reaction to indoor mold spores that you’ve inhaled. Your immune response might present as itchiness, watery eyes, sneezing, or coughing. But if you have a pronounced allergy or an underlying medical condition like asthma, your allergy symptoms can become quite severe.
Unfortunately, there’s no cure for a mold allergy. Avoiding settings and situations where mold growth is present is the best to keep your allergy in check. That said, knowing which signs and symptoms are indicators of mold sensitivity and allergy is the best way to identify and manage an attack.
Mold allergy symptoms are most similar to allergic rhinitis, which refers to a runny nose. Identifying a mold allergy can be difficult since the symptoms can overlap with the symptoms of other conditions, such as allergies to pollen, dust, pet dander, or even a common cold. 
That being said, rhinitis symptoms most commonly associated with a mold allergy include:
During an allergic reaction to mold, you may also experience coughing or watery eyes. You may also develop dry, scaly patches of skin. For people with asthma, a mold allergy can be very dangerous. Airborne mold spores can trigger asthma symptoms in addition to the symptoms of an allergic reaction, which can complicate both conditions. This is what’s known as mold-induced asthma attack, which may cause coughing, wheezing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath. 
Rhinitis symptoms, coughing, and itchy eyes may occur very soon after mold exposure or after some time has passed. Fortunately, an allergic reaction to mold is rather mild for most people.
However, in some cases, mold allergy symptoms can become quite severe and lead to serious complications, such as:
It’s difficult to say why an individual develops a given allergy. In some cases, genetics can play a role. In others, restricted diets or other factors may contribute to a mold allergy. However, an allergy is often triggered when your immune system attempts to fight off a foreign substance—in this case, mold allergens.
As mentioned above, an allergic reaction is triggered when your body reacts to a foreign substance that it perceives as a threat. When this happens, your body has only one goal: to remove the threat by producing antibodies. This is true with any type of allergy, although the symptoms can vary.
When it comes to a mold allergy, the process is as follows:
As with most allergies, anyone can develop an allergy to mold. But certain factors can put you at greater risk of a mold allergy, such as:
Although there’s no cure for a mold allergy, it’s important to take steps to prevent an allergic reaction. This is especially true if you have other medical conditions like asthma that can worsen due to an allergic reaction.
Fortunately, there are ways to minimize your risk of encountering mold spores. Here are a few tips:
If mold exposure occurs in an environment where you don’t have the power to make decisions, such as work, wearing a face mask may help mitigate your risk of experiencing an allergic reaction or manage your mold allergy symptoms, specifically during the late spring and early fall when outdoor mold counts are high.
Prevention is the best treatment for mold allergy symptoms. However, no matter how diligent you are about keeping your environment free of mold, it isn’t always possible to completely limit your exposure.
When your mold allergy is diagnosed, your healthcare provider will discuss your options for treatments when a reaction does occur. Depending on your health history, your options may include:
Immunotherapy is another option for treating mold allergies. This is a type of ongoing treatment that helps manage many different types of allergies. Typically, it requires a series of shots. However, immunotherapy is only available for specific types of mold allergies—consult with your healthcare provider to learn more.
Because mold allergy symptoms can be indistinguishable from the symptoms of other allergic reactions, it isn’t always easy to know whether the congestion you’re experiencing is caused by mold or another allergen.
For that reason, the first step to dealing with a mold allergy is diagnosis. Fortunately, it’s easier than ever to test for mold and other allergies without scheduling an appointment with your healthcare provider.
The Everlywell At-Home Indoor & Outdoor Allergy Test measures your immune response to 40 of the most common allergens inside and outside the home, including four different kinds of mold. It’s the easy, convenient way to identify your personal allergen risks—and the best way to avoid those allergens going forward.
With Everlywell, there’s no need to stay in the dark when it comes to your overall health. All of our at-home tests include clear directions and all the supplies you need to conduct a safe and accurate at-home test, plus prepaid return postage so you can easily send it to a CLIA-certified lab for analysis by a licensed physician.
Now is the time to make choices that lead to a healthier tomorrow—let Everlywell show you how.
How to test if you are allergic to dogs
Dust allergy symptoms and causes