Children May be More Susceptible to Mold
It’s no secret that – along with the elderly, pregnant women and those with an already compromised immune system – children are particularly susceptible to certain health complications. It may not surprise you to learn, therefore, that when it comes to mold, extra vigilance is required when they are in the picture.
It has been proven time and time again that the effects of mold exposure may have serious, sometimes fatal consequences for young infants in the early years of their life. Mycotoxins – produced from toxic black mold – are particularly harmful to children, causing some of the following health complications:
- Respiratory problems. Several studies from around the world have found a close relationship between mold exposure and respiratory problems in children, such as shortness of breath. If a child already has asthma, inhaling mold spores may exacerbate it and trigger more frequent attacks. In the US, asthma is the most common chronic disease in children, with the researchers estimating that of the 7 million diagnosed with it, 21% is attributable to mold exposure, according to Dr. Tim Jackson. Mycotoxins can also cause a burning sensation in the nasal cavity, mouth and throat, causing potentially dangerous complications if they get lodged in the form of breathing problems or even bleeding in the lungs – an infection known as aspergillus.
- Neurological symptoms. Mycotoxins can kill neurons in the brain and impair its functions, causing nervous disorders, mood swings, irritability, disorientation, shortened attention span, slowed reflexes, dizziness, headaches, memory loss, tremors, anxiety and depression. Studies have found that those children living in mold-contaminated environments for long periods of time may have 10 fewer IQ points than those who don’t.
- Skin irritation. Youngsters are more likely to suffer from mold-related rashes due to the delicate nature of their skin.
- Sore eyes. Inflammation-related issues, such as red, itchy and watery eyes, as well as vision problems, can all be caused by mycotoxins.
- Internal organs can be affected, resulting in a number of circulatory and vascular issues such as heart damage and blood clotting problems.
- Other symptoms include: Chronic fatigue, weakness, aches and pains, recurring episodes of flu and colds, ear infections and/or impaired hearing, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and hair loss. In children, immune system disorders – and/or their treatments – may also affect growth, development and performance, as mycotoxins rob them of vital vitamins and nutrients.
Pretty worrying, right? Yet the picture gets even worse when you consider the fact that children spend the majority of their time indoors – whether at home or school – and that the majority of homes in the United States have some kind of water damage or mold.
Indeed, there have been so many cases of serious mold-related illnesses in children – perhaps most famously in Cleveland in the late 90s – that the American Academy of Pediatrics felt it necessary to issue warnings and recommendations to its 66,000 members.
Furthermore, mold-related complications are increasing at an alarming rate due to the overuse of antibiotics, steroids and immunosuppressive drugs, which can actually make fungal infections much worse. A doctor, health coach or allergist specializing in mold-related illnesses is a much better avenue if you have a child who you suspect may have been affected.