Mold-induced asthma, hypersensitivity pneumonitis, allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis and allergic fungal sinusitis are severe allergic reactions to mold in the lungs and sinuses, according to Mayo Clinic. Although not an allergic reaction, the volatile organic compounds in mold can cause systemic infections in the skin or mucus membranes of individuals with suppressed immune systems due to medications or an HIV infection. Mold can also cause toxic reactions, such as pneumonia.
An individual with asthma who is allergic to mold can experience a severe flare-up after inhaling mold spores, reports Mayo Clinic. Exposure to specific molds can cause chest tightness, coughing and wheezing in individuals with asthma, as well as allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis, a severe reaction to fungus in the lungs. Allergic fungal sinusitis is inflammation in the sinuses caused by mold. While rare, hypersensitivity pneumonitis is caused by exposure to airborne mold spores, often in a dusty work environment.
Mold allergy symptoms are an immune system overreaction to inhaled airborne mold spores, most commonly penicillium, aspergillus and cladosporium, explains Mayo Clinic. While symptoms vary and range from mild to severe, most individuals experience a hay-fever-like runny nose, itchy and watery eyes, sneezing and coughing when the body releases histamine in response to mold. Allergic reactions can be mold-specific and may occur year-round or seasonally.