Do you have a persistent cough that seems to never go away?
Does it appear to get worse when you’re exposed to more humid environments?
Or maybe when you venture into certain rooms in your home that have a “moldy” smell?
If you’ve had a chronic cough for several weeks or more and you can’t pinpoint the source, you may be wondering, ‘Can mold cause coughing?’
In this article, we’ll answer that concern and more.
First, we’ll give you the short answer so you know what’s ahead. Then, we’ll go more in-depth so you fully understand fully how—or if—mold can cause a cough.
Can Mold Cause Coughing? (Short Answer)
Yes, mold can cause coughing. It’s especially true if you’re sensitive or allergic to the spores. Coughing is a common reaction when your body is trying to get an irritant out of your lungs. If you have a persistent or chronic cough, it could be from mold in your home.
An easy way to remove airborne mold spores is to use an air purifier in your house. Air purifiers draw air in, trap the mold spores, and push fresh air back out for you to breathe.
Check out our guide on the top air purifier for mold spores here to find out more about how these machines can get rid of mold in your home.
A More Detailed Answer
Developing a cough is a common symptom if you’re exposed to mold.
Coughing is your body’s natural reaction to getting things out of your lungs that don’t belong there.
And unfortunately, mold is incredibly common and it can be found everywhere in nature. The spores are also incredibly tiny, on average 2 to 30 microns in size. To give you a better idea of how small that is, approximately 250,000 mold spores can fit onto the head of a pin.
When you’re exposed to mold spores, you can inhale up to 750,000 spores in just one minute by breathing at a normal rate.
That’s a lot of mold.
If you don’t have a sensitivity to the fungus, then you won’t even realize that you’re inhaling this irritant. However, if you do have an allergy or sensitivity, then you’ll develop persistent problems, one of which can include a cough.
Mold and Coughing
As already mentioned, the reason you develop a cough when inhaling mold spores is because your lungs view them as an irritant and are trying to remove them from your body.
In addition, the spores can irritate the lining of your throat and nasal passages, which leads to other health issues.
The lining of your nose and throat is incredibly sensitive, so when an allergy or irritant gets into this passage, your body will find a way to protect itself.
Normally, this means developing more mucus to get rid of the invader. Not only does this cause your nose to run, but it can also create more irritation, which then leads to a cough.
Being exposed to mold can also lead to other health problems, including the development of bronchitis and pneumonia. Both of these ailments are illnesses that come with a cough.
Thus, being exposed to mold can cause coughing on a variety of different levels, from a simple cough to a full-blown infection.
Determining the Cause of the Cough
While mold can cause a cough, there are also a variety of other things in this world that can also contribute to this ailment.
If you have a cold, seasonal allergies, a respiratory virus, the flu, bronchitis, or pneumonia caused by another factor, all of those things could be why you’re coughing.
The only way to know for sure that mold exposure is the cause of your cough is to get tested by a professional. This could include going to your family physician or heading to an allergy specialist.
A doctor can run a variety of tests to find out the exact cause of your cough.
If you notice that you cough only in certain areas, such as your home, the workplace, or when you go to a friend or family member’s house, this could be a sign that you’re being exposed to something your body doesn’t like. And it may—or may not—be mold.
To find out for sure if mold is having an impact on your health, you’ll need to have those areas tested. A simple home testing kit bought online can indicate if there’s a high level of mold spores activity or not.
Preventing Mold-Related Coughing
If you discover mold growing indoors or smell a damp, musty odor, then this could be an indication that mold is the cause of your cough.
To know for sure, you’ll have to lower the mold spore count and/or take medication to see if your cough goes away.
Getting Rid of Mold Spores from Your Home
The best way to get rid of mold spores in your home is to keep it clean.
This means dusting and vacuuming on a regular basis as well as ensuring that you change the filter in your HVAC system every one to three months.
Remember, mold spores are incredibly small and they can easily get trapped in carpet fibers and upholstery as well as be free-floating in the air. By keeping your house clean, you’ll remove mold spores from various surfaces.
Another thing you can do is add an air purifier to your house. This can be a direct line of defense to keep mold irritants out of your home’s environment.
Air purifiers with special filters and cleaning technologies can trap and destroy mold that’s in the air. This, in turn, will lower the mold spore count that you’re exposed to.
We’ve reviewed many air purifiers that do an amazing job of getting rid of these spores and you can view our list of the best choices in our guide on the top air purifier for mold spores here.
Consider Taking Medication
Since coughing can be your body’s response to an element that it is allergic to, you might consider taking some antihistamines. This can reduce the amount of mucus your body produces in response to mold spores.
You might also consider sucking on some cough drops to soothe your cough and help your sore throat feel better.
A decongestant might also help if you’re feeling congested from the mold exposure.
Common Questions About Mold, Coughing & Health
How Do You Know if Mold is Making You Sick?
You know if mold is making you sick if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- runny or stuffy nose
- watery, red or itchy eyes
- dry cough
- skin rash
- sore throat
- chest pain
- shortness of breath
Will Black Mold Make You Cough?
Yes, black mold can make you cough. Black mold is commonly associated with respiratory responses, such as chronic coughing, sneezing, irritation to the mucous membranes of the nose and throat, and shortness of breath. In addition to a cough, you can also experience chronic fatigue and persistent headaches.
How Do You Stop a Mold Cough?
The best treatments to stop a mold cough include:
- Nasal Corticosteroids. Prevents and treats inflammation caused by an upper respiratory mold allergy.
- Antihistamines. Help with itching, sneezing and runny nose.
- Decongestants. Help relieve stuffiness.
- Montelukast (Singulair). Blocks the action of leukotrienes — immune system chemicals that cause excess mucus.
- Nasal Rinse. Helps keep your nose free of irritants.
Can You Get Sick from Mold in Your House?
Yes, you can get sick from mold in your house. The more you’re exposed to mold spores, the more you’ll feel sick. However, not everyone experiences sickness from mold exposure. Only people who have mold allergies or high levels of exposure get the most sick from it.
What Kind of Doctor Do You See for Mold Exposure?
There are several kinds of doctors you can see for mold exposure: a family physician to help diagnose the issue, an allergy specialist who treats patients with mold allergies, an infectious disease physician who treats mold infections, and a pulmonary physician if the mold infection is inside the lungs.
Summary – Can Mold Really Cause Coughing?
Yes, mold can cause coughing. It can also contribute to the production of mucus and other health issues.
Here are some other things we learned in this article:
- Coughing is an incredibly common reaction when your body is trying to get an irritant out of your lungs (e.g. mold).
- Only a physician can diagnose whether the mold is the cause of your persistent cough or not.
- There are things you can try to reduce mold-related coughing, including reducing the number of mold spores in your home through cleaning and using an air purifier and taking medications.
Now you know the answer to the question, “Can mold cause coughing?”