Fungus is much more common than most people are aware of. There are over 300,000 varieties of fungi in the world. This includes mushrooms, yeast, ringworm, penicillin and mold.
Mold is everywhere. It’s outside and inside our homes. But it doesn’t become a problem until the conditions are right: enough moisture and a food source, along with a dark, quiet location. When mold spores find these things, they rapidly reproduce until there is a colony.
Mold doesn’t usually cause harm when it is in the air because it is in such low concentration. But inside a home, where it can reproduce freely and there is little air exchange, mold allergies can quickly become a problem and should be addressed by a professional mold remediation service as soon as possible.
Allergic reactions caused by mold include stuffy nose, shortness of breath or wheezing, coughing, runny nose, and skin rashes.
What is a Mold Rash?
The symptoms above are fairly typical, and most people clearly identify allergic reactions when they are respiratory related.
However, mold rash is a common allergic reaction as well.
Skin rashes are your body’s way of telling you something in the environment is irritating. If you have sensitive skin, you could react adversely to soaps, detergents, perfumes, sunscreens, and fabrics. A mold rash results from similar circumstances. When you are in close contact with mold, the free-floating spores can irritate your skin.
Another (more common) way you can develop a mold rash is inhaling mold spores.
The rash is a result of your immune system overreacting to mold spores in your body. Along with a mold rash, you will probably see some inflammation and other general symptoms.
An allergic reaction is your body’s way of defending itself against irritating substances, but rather than just producing enough antibodies and inflammation to stave off the allergen, the body overreacts without limits.
A mold rash can look like any of the following:
- Itchy skin
- Dry skin
- Raw or sensitive skin
- Brown or pink rash
- Small area of raised bumps
Because mold rashes can look many different ways, it can be hard to diagnose, or really even know you have one, as in the case of itchy or dry skin.
The symptoms that accompany a mold rash can be very vague, making it even harder to diagnose. These symptoms include fatigue, brain fog, anxiety, headaches and insomnia.
If you experience any of the rash-like symptoms above, investigate the cause, because it could be affecting your health more than you know! Start by changing detergents and other household products. Then look at your diet. If none of these things seems to alleviate your symptoms, you may have a mold rash.
Signs You Might Have a Mold Rash
Seeing mold in your home is the best indication that your rash is mold related. Mold should be removed from your home as soon as possible, and we also recommend mold remediation to reduce mold in indoor air so there isn’t a recurrence of mold growth.
If you have a rash, itchy, or dry skin — any skin condition you can’t seem to clear up — there is a chance that it is a mold rash.
Another sign you might have a mold rash is that you have other mold allergy symptoms. Congestion, headaches, coughing and sneezing are frequent symptoms of mold exposure, especially for people prone to allergies. Rashes can develop along with these symptoms or at a separate time.
Mold Rash Diagnosis & Treatment
As we outlined earlier, you can do your own tests to determine if your rash is related to a household product or a food by eliminating possibly irritating items one at a time.
If none of these things seem to be the cause, start looking at external sources like mold.
Obviously, if there is mold in your home, having it removed is a logical next step. But in the meantime, visit your doctor for testing to determine if you have a mold rash. Your doctor will perform one or more tests to determine if your rash is due to mold:
- Basic questions – The doctor will ask questions about things you may be exposed to at home, at work, and outdoors. Being honest is the only way to get an accurate diagnosis.
- Blood tests – Immunoglobin E is an antibody that is present in the blood when a person is having an allergic reaction. A simple blood test will reveal immunoglobulin E in your blood, and, more specifically, if the antibodies in your blood are mold-specific.
- Skin prick test – A skin prick test is more involved, but it is a good solution if you have ongoing allergy symptoms. Up to 50 different allergens can be applied to your skin at a time, testing or allergies to everything from pollen to mold.
Treating a mold rash should begin with removing any known mold from your home and having the entire home tested for unseen mold. a mold specialist can test for mold, determine where the mold is and what type it is, and remove it from your home before it affects anyone else or worsens your symptoms.
Once the cause of your rash is eliminated, the rash should go away. In the meantime, there are some things you can do to treat the rash and help it clear up.
Home remedies for mold rashes include:
- Aloe vera gel or in concentrated form straight from the plant to moisturize dry skin
- Cold compresses to reduce inflammation and itching
- Oatmeal bath to soothe irritated skin
You may need to see a doctor if your rash is painful or accompanied by fever. In some cases, a mold rash can get infected or lead to painful blisters. See your doctor if the rash spreads or doesn’t get better after home treatment and removal of the mold.
For persistent rashes, a doctor can prescribe other treatments, including the following:
- Antihistamines to control your body’s overreaction to mold
- Creams with cortisone to reduce itching and inflammation
- Moisturizers for dry, itchy skin
- Antibiotics for infection from scratching
People with pre-existing respiratory conditions are more likely to develop mold allergy complications and rashes, but anyone can develop a mold rash if exposed.