Can Mold Cause a Sore Throat?

October 10, 2019

5 minutes

Reviewed by Michael Kaplan, MD

Mold is often characterized as the omnipresent allergen. It hides in damp places and causes many people who suffer from allergies to ask questions like, “Can mold cause a sore throat?”  “Can mold cause your throat to swell?” and even “Can mold cause swallowing problems?”

Unfortunately, the answer to the question like these is yes.

Mold grows anywhere there is moisture or high humidity levels. It comes in a range of colors and causes a range of side effects in individuals who have mold allergies. The good news is there are several ways to eradicate mold and to treat your mold-allergy symptoms. 

If you have been asking yourself, “Can mold cause a sore throat? then rest assured that we are here to help. Let’s review why mold may be the culprit behind your sore throat, where mold could be hiding, and ways to treat mold allergies.

Reactions to mold can vary

Before we delve deeper into mold allergy causes and treatments, it’s important to note that not all individuals will experience a sore throat in reaction to a mold allergy. Similar to other upper respiratory allergies, a reaction to mold can make itself known via a variety of symptoms, including:

  • Sneezing
  • Itchy nose and throat
  • Sore throat
  • Skin irritation
  • Fever
  • Shortness of breath
  • Inflammation and swelling of the lungs and/or throat

Mold allergies may also be linked to a family history of allergies or asthma.

How do you know if mold is making you sick?

Mold allergies can be tricky to understand. For one, only certain strains of mold — alternaria, aspergillus, cladosporium, and penicillium — cause allergies, and if you’re allergic to one type of mold, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll react to others. 

The second sticking point is identifying what exactly about mold causes allergies. Many people think that the culprit behind their mold allergies is mold spores. In a way, that’s true, but to get to the true culprit, you have to peel back one more layer of the onion.

Mold spores release chemicals called mycotoxins. Mycotoxins trigger an immune system response in those with mold allergies, which can lead to inflamed sinuses and a sore throat. That’s why when the mold spore count is high in your area, you should be on the alert for potential allergy symptoms: you’re more likely to come into contact with mycotoxins at that time.  

Now that you can answer the questions, “Can mold cause a sore throat” and “What causes mold allergies?” you probably want to make sure that it’s actually mold that’s making you sick. The best way to check your allergens is to take an allergy test, but the next best thing is eradicating mold in your environment and seeing if your symptoms decrease. 

Identifying potential mold hideouts


There are several ways mold can enter your home but some of the most common are through:

  • Doorways and windows that are not sealed properly
  • Vents, and heating and air conditioning systems. 
  • Paper products lying around your home (old rolls of wrapping paper, cardboard boxes that are sitting in the garage)
  • Wood furniture left in humid areas 
  • Damp bathing areas, attics, basements, and cellars
  • Under-the-sink cabinets
  • On your clothes, shoes, or pets when entering the home from outside 
  • In your workplace, especially in jobs such as farming, baking, millwork, carpentry, greenhouse work, and furniture repair


As noted in our article on autumn allergies in America, it’s hard to avoid exposure to mold outside your home. However, there are places where mold is more likely to thrive:

  • Piles of leaves
  • On building walls that receive a great deal of shade
  • Piles of wood and building materials 
  • Outdoor cushions
  • Beneath porches 
  • Compost piles 

Outdoor and indoor spore counts will spike after rain, as well as after major wet-weather events such as hurricanes. 

Mold exposure and sore throat treatment

The best “treatment” for any allergy is to avoid triggers. If you have only recently begun to ask questions like, “Can mold cause a sore throat?” you might have luck reducing your symptoms by taking the following actions.

If you are unable to avoid exposure to mold, there are numerous other treatments available. These include OTC medicines, prescription medication, and immunotherapy.

Can mold cause a sore throat? Yes, but you can stop it. 

Dr. Michael Kaplan and the specialists at Kaplan Sinus Relief are frequently asked questions like “Can mold cause a sore throat?” and “Does sinus surgery help allergies?“ We are here to provide our patients with personalized care for your allergies. 

Ready to experience relief? Let our team help find a treatment that works for you. Visit Kaplan Sinus Relief online to request an appointment or give us a call at 713-766-1818 today.

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