Alternaria molds are some of the most common outdoor molds during the summer and fall months. When they are present indoors, it’s because they have been brought in on produce or in the air. If testing indicates a higher mold concentration indoors than outdoors, a mold problem is a concern.
Once established, the mold will grow quickly over a period of about five days. It has a flat, downy or fuzzy appearance. Typically it is dark in color and may range from gray, brown or black.
Preferring the outdoor environment, Alternaria is commonly found in soil, decaying wood products, manure, and vegetation. Indoors it can often appear on window frames where condensation occurs. In addition, mold spores are often found in large concentration in normal household dust.
The most common symptoms of exposure to Alternaria are from allergic rhinitis and asthma symptoms. Some of these symptoms include:
- itchy and watery eyes
- runny, itchy nose
- nasal congestion
- coughing and wheezing
- skin irritations
While most conditions related to Alternaria exposure are not life-threatening, there are a few complications and risks that can affect more sensitive and immune-comprised individuals. Children appear to be very sensitive to exposure to Alternaria too. Some of the complications that can occur are:
- Work-related asthma/pneumonia (graineries, gins etc.)
- Fungal skin infections