Clinic Number

Fungi (Yeast and Molds)

Fungi are everywhere! They will grow on almost anything that has sufficient moisture. Molds grow in warm, moist environments. Fungi produce spores in various shapes and sizes that are very light and can be spread by air currents inside or outside the house. Spores are the major source of allergens for individuals who are sensitive to fungi.

Fungi are common around the house and can be recognized as growth that occurs on spoiled fruit or old cheese in the refrigerator. Fungi may also appear on shower curtains, in shower stalls, on stored books and leather goods, in damp basements, in storage areas and in laundry rooms. Humidifiers and air conditioners have also been found to harbor significant quantities of mold spores. Fungi also live outside in damp areas under leaves, in the grass and in cultivated gardens.

Not all fungi are airborne. Some fungi can be found in foods that are prepared with the help of fungal activity like aged cheese. Fungi have also been used in the preparation of wine, beer, bread and cake. In other instances, fungi may appear as a contaminant. Fungi may contaminate foods that are constantly exposed, such as potatoes, onions, fruits etc.

Environmental control of fungi can be aided by following:

  • Reduce humidity in areas such as the basement by using a dehumidifier and increasing ventilation.
  • Decrease humidity in other areas of the home in the summer months by using air conditioners and avoiding the use of humidifiers and vaporizers.
  • Identify sites in the home, such as the basement, which may be contaminated with mold. Remove moldy items such as carpet that has suffered water damaged, dampened paper boxes, old magazines or books.
  • Repair leaks and maximize drainage
  • Run a vent in the bathroom after showering.
  • Clean moldy areas with a fungicide.
  • Avoid mowing the lawn or racking leaves.
  • Keep refrigerators clean. Dispose of food that has spoiled.
  • Beware of the possibility of mold in a summer home that has been closed up.
  • Do not keep plants in the bedroom.


Beware that mold-fermented foods, such as aged cheeses, wine and beer may produce symptoms in some mold allergic individuals. People who are highly sensitive to mold should avoid these foods only if they are found to cause symptoms.