When people think of allergens, mold may creep to mind more slowly than others. The reality is that mold is one of the most common and insidious allergens worldwide.
There are more than 100,000 different species of mold, which can live virtually anywhere dark, damp or humid, including wood, fabric, tile, paper and foods.
Common areas that harbor mold include:
Outside, mold is common in damp, shady areas, such as piles of wood, leaves and compost.
Most allergy sufferers are not allergic to the mold itself, but to its spores. Molds, which are considered fungi, release millions of microscopic spores into the air, similar to flowers releasing pollen. If a spore settles where conditions are right, it will grow into mold. Spores often "hang" in the air, increasing the chances that people will inhale them.