Choosing Wisely:

Don’t order mold sensitivity testing on patients without clear allergy or asthma symptoms (particularly those with chronic fatigue, arthralgia, cognitive impairments, and affective disorders). For those with allergy or asthma symptoms who have not responded to environmental interventions to reduce allergen exposures, mold sensitivity testing may be performed by an allergist or pulmonologist, but should not routinely be performed in the primary care setting.

Rationale and Comments: Mold can cause sensitization and clinical disease. Skin prick and in vitro tests can effectively identify patients who are sensitized to molds, although this does not always translate to clinical disease. Results of these tests must be interpreted in the context of the patient’s clinical presentation. Exposure to dampness and mold can increase the risk of developing asthma in children regardless of their atopic status and increased symptoms of asthma and rhinitis in individuals who already have these conditions. Interventional studies have found that a multifaceted series of interventions aimed at reducing indoor moisture, removing contaminated building materials, and reducing reservoirs (including carpeting and dust) can reduce exposure sufficiently to reduce symptoms in affected individuals. This implies a causal relationship between exposure to fungi and morbidity and provides a rationale for environmental interventions to reduce it.
Sponsoring Organizations:
  • American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Environmental Health
  • Sources:
  • Expert consensus
  • Disciplines:
  • Allergy and immunologic
  • References: • Portnoy JM, Jara D. Mold allergy revisited. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2015;114(2):83-89.

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