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. In fact, mold can be the trigger in some childhood asthma cases! Mold can be a serious threat to your child’s health and well-being, so let’s take a look at how we can be attentive to the possibility of mold causing concerns your child.
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. It can be alarming that a home could be the source of such debilitating health issues, which is why this is such an important topic. Many would never suspect that their house could be the source of their or their child’s symptoms, but it is all too common to ignore the possibility that mold could be a contributing factor to your child’s overall health and well-being. Mycotoxins – produced from toxic black mold – are particularly harmful to children, causing some of the following health complications:
Symptoms of Mold Exposure in Children
- 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. Thus, if a child has asthma or other respiratory problems, they are possibly at an increased risk of complications if there is mold in their environment, or if they come in contact with unhealthy amounts of toxic mold.
- Neurological symptoms. A child’s brain is developing most rapidly from birth until the age of five. Any disruptions during that development period can cause major issues for the child. 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. If your child is experiencing any new skin rashes or issues you may want to investigate if mold is the culprit. If the reaction is from mold, often symptoms get better when removed from the moldy environment. This is called toxic building syndrome.
- Sore eyes. Inflammation-related issues, such as red, itchy and watery eyes, as well as vision problems, can all be caused by mycotoxins. This can result from a histamine response in which the body’s immune system causes a defensive allergic reaction. This can range from mild to severe and needs medical attention.
- Internal organs can be affected, resulting in a number of circulatory and vascular issues such as heart damage and blood clotting problems. Mold can cause damage throughout the body, so it can be hard to pinpoint – and why it is so important to check your home regularly for mold and water damage.
- Other symptoms include: Chronic fatigue, weakness, aches and pains, recurring episodes of flu and colds, ear infections and/or impaired hearing, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea 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.
If your child is experiencing any of these symptoms, please check with a doctor and ask about the possibility of mold contributing to their condition. If you think your child may be experiencing symptoms of toxic mold exposure, be sure to get the medical care they need and also have your house examined and remediated for mold.
Indoor Air Quality and Mold
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. It is so important that children get fresh, clean air, and mold is a major threat to the condition of their health if they are exposed.
So what can you do if you think your child is being exposed to mold? Well, first off they should be removed from the unhealthful environment until the mold is remediated. Mold thrives in damp or humid conditions, and typically grows well in the average home temperatures. If the issue is humidity, running a dehumidifier in the home can help prevent mold growth. Have any leaks or water damage fixed, and any current mold infestations should be dealt with safely. Prevention is the biggest key, because once mold takes root in the home it becomes much more complicated to get it out.
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 community 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.