Very heavy mold in air means misery for allergy sufferers

Prevention, medicines can bring relief

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SAN ANTONIO – More than 14 inches of September rain means allergy sufferers are triggered. The culprit is mold, with the count coming in at a whopping 20,550 spores per cubic meter Tuesday.

"I’ve got a daughter, and she suffers from allergies, and she gets stuffed up and sick," said Taylor Delarosa.

For sensitive systems, the two-week mold explosion has been a literal headache, among other symptoms.

"Congestion is high on the list," said Dr. John Dice with South Texas Allergy and Asthma Medical Professionals. "Then, you also get sneezing, runny nose, itchy, watery, puffy eyes, and it can even go down into asthma with shortness of breath, coughing and wheezing."

Avoiding exposure to molds as much as possible is the best defense. That means staying inside when mold counts soar and keeping piles of damp leaves and grasses cleaned up around the house.

Inside, use the air conditioner as a way to filter pollens. HEPA filters in the AC and vacuum cleaner can also help.

Use a dehumidifier in the house and exhaust fan when you shower – anything to deep humidity at bay.

Mold thrives in damp areas, like kitchens, bathrooms and garbage cans. So, cleaning with a bleach solution is important.

To relieve symptoms, a simple saline solution or Neti Pot can help, according to Dice.

"It’s more of a quick cleaning of the nose,” he said. “I tell people it’s doing a nasal flush, and you’re getting the pollens and mold spores out of the nose.”

Over-the-the-counter antihistamines like Zyrtec and Allegra can bring fairly quick relief for many sufferers, Dice said. And, then there are the more powerful OTC nasal steroid sprays like Flonase and Nasacort.

These are very powerful medicines but very slow medicines,” Dice said. "They can take a day or two or a week to get revved up. They’re not ideal for a quick fix if you’re suddenly have miserable symptoms."

If those measures, don’t bring sufficient relief, it’s time to visit the doctor.

About the Author:

As a consumer reporter, Marilyn is all about helping people stay safe and save a buck. Since coming to KSAT in 1985, she’s covered everything from crime to politics, winning awards for her coverage of the Mexican Mafia, Oklahoma tornadoes, children’s transplants, an investigation into voting irregularities and even a hit-and-run Santa Claus.