Mold is a fungus that comes in thousands of varieties and grows both outside and inside. In order to thrive. mold needs two things: water and warmth — and you certainly don’t have to endure a hurricane to find it multiplying in your home. “Mold spores are everywhere. They’re just waiting to be watered to start growing,” says Paul J. Pearce, PhD, assistant professor of pathology and microbiology at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. Mold can be present indoors during the entire year. And in most of the country, this is the time when outdoor molds start to grow as well. They flourish in damp, shady areas such as piles of leaves, hay, grass, and soil, and they last through late fall. In warmer climates, they can be a year-round problem.
Up to one-third of children are allergic to mold (only pollen allergy is more common). Inhaling spores — the invisible airborne seeds of mold — can cause sneezing, a runny nose, itchy eyes, wheezing, and coughing. If one parent has allergies, a child has a 30 to 40 percent chance of inheriting the tendency to develop them; if both parents are allergic, the odds are more than 50 percent. Unfortunately, doctors are finding that mold allergy is more than just hereditary.