Mold is commonly looked down upon as more of an inconvenience or aesthetically displeasing problem. It’s also acknowledged as a somewhat minor hazard to people. Although the danger to an average adult may be considered as a minor hazard, the danger to younger kids seems to be greatly underestimated. This post looks at the danger mold poses for the younger demographic and points to some sources of information that help in reducing the danger.
According to one study in 1999, nearly all chronic sinus infections in infants were the result of mold. So if you have mold in your home, your respiratory health and that of any small children or infants might be at risk. Although molds by themselves are not toxic, some types of molds produce toxins.
Black mold is one such type. It grows on materials like paper, fibreboard, and dust. As with all types of mold, black mold also requires water or moisture to grow. Infants less than 6 months old may be prone to suffer from bleeding lungs when exposed to black mold. Although the studies do not conclusively form a causal relationship between black mold and bleeding lungs, few studies do indicate a link between the two. Until more studies are carried out to confirm this, it is best to be cautious and avoid infants getting exposed to black mold.
If spores form black mold are inhaled, children can experience respiratory problems, irritated eyes, runny nose, sneezing, throat irritation, coughing, and possibly asthma attacks. Black mold contacting the skin can also produce skin irritation, rashes, and itching in kids. Black mold also acts as an allergen so some kids may experience headaches, memory loss, nose bleeds, and vomiting.
One study from 2004 has found a link between general indoor mold exposure and upper respiratory tract symptoms, cough, and wheeze among both adults and children. Another study has found sufficient evidence to suggest that children who are genetically susceptible to asthma development have a higher chance of developing asthma when exposed to indoor environments with mold. Kids already suffering from asthma, allergies or immune suppression diseases suffer from more severe symptoms of their problems when exposed to mold in indoor areas.
What should one do if there is mold in the house? The first thing to remember is that mold is everywhere. Even if you do have more mold in your house, you or your kids may have not necessarily been exposed to it. There is no need for immediate panic but leaving the mold is also not advisable. If it’s left as is, it will continue to grow and increase the chances of exposure and danger. A well thought out, gradual, and thorough cleaning of the mold followed by a fix to the root cause is needed. Nonporous materials, like walls, can be cleaned with cleaning solutions and soapy water. However, porous materials like carpets, fabrics, and paper exposed to mold will likely have to be disposed of. Some more details about how mold can be removed are mentioned in this post.
Once the mold has been cleaned and the underlying cause of moisture has been taken care of, the Centers for Disease Control’s Healthy Housing Assessment Manual states that the most important way to prevent mold growth is to control moisture. Keep the area ventilated, heated, and dehumidified to avoid mold from growing again, and enjoy a good time with your kids. Our post on maintaining the right level of humidity is another useful resource of information for maintaining a healthy indoor environment.
In this article, we looked at how mold can contribute to health problems for kids and infants. We hope the information provided helps you to take better care of your young ones. After all, a healthy family is a happy family.