children_playing_mold

Children and Toxic Mold: The Dangers of Exposure

August 10, 2020

Although awareness of the harmful health effects of toxic mold has risen exponentially in recent years, those that suffer from symptoms may not even be aware that the cause of their problems is mold. With some of the most common symptoms of toxic mold resembling symptoms of allergies and fever, many people suffering from the effects of toxic mold may believe that they have nothing more than allergies or the common cold.

This problem is made worse by the fact that it is challenging to determine whether or not symptoms are caused by mold or not. If a child in your home is suffering from symptoms or is feeling sick for no apparent reason, there is a chance that these symptoms stem from a mold-related issues. 

Different people react to the presence of mold in different ways but it remains a fact that children, along with senior citizens and those prone to sickness, are among the most vulnerable to harmful health effects. The type of mold found in your home is a deciding factor when it comes to the form and severity of mold-related symptoms but children are especially at risk of a variety of forms of mold because their immune systems are yet to be fully developed. This can cause severe, even life-threatening, conditions in children. 

How Mold Causes Health Issues

As mold grows, it develops tiny spores. These mold spores are not only responsible for the grow and infestation of more mold but are also the cause of compromised air quality in the home. These spores cause a significant threat to the immune system when inhaled. Considering the fact that children don’t have fully developed immune systems at their young age, this can be especially harmful. 

When spores are inhaled, the immune system responds in defense of foreign particles. This is what causes the harmful health symptoms and conditions that we observe in those effected. While some are relatively harmless yet uncomfortable, others can even be life-threatening. So what health issues and symptoms caused by mold has been observed in children and how are they threatened by mold exposure? 

Health Issues and Symptoms Caused by Mold in Children

There are a number of harmful effects caused by mold exposure that have been observed in children. While these effects can range in type and severity, their impact tends to be much heavier on children due to their underdeveloped immune systems. What might not prove much of a problem to an adult can be severely impactful to a child. This is the reason that it is so important to complete regular investigations for mold in your home, especially if you have children. Let’s explore some of the known health effects caused by mold exposure in children. 

Respiratory

One of the most common symptoms of mold exposure in children is found in respiratory effects. One particular study into the health effects of mold exposure in children was conducted in Canada. Researchers observed indoor environments in 30 Canadian communities where a focus was placed on identifying the health effects of children living in homes with dampness and molds. 

Mold was reported in the homes of 32.4% of the 13,495 children in the study group. Flooding and moisture were reported in 24.1% and 14.1% of the homes, respectively. The researchers found that the prevalence of respiratory symptoms were consistently higher in homes where mold and dampness were reported. 

Considering the fact that the prevalence of mold and dampness in homes was estimated to be at 37.8%, this classifies the respiratory effects of mold exposure on children as an important public health issue. This Canadian study goes to show that the respiratory effects of mold exposure in children is anything but a minor issue. Here are some of the most common respiratory symptoms observed in children who have been exposed to mold in their homes:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Itchy or runny nose
  • Sore throat 
  • Nasal congestion
  • Sneezing 
  • Coughing
  • Flu-like symptoms

Skin Irritation

It is a lesser known fact that the mycotoxins released by toxic mold can be absorbed into the immune system through the skin. Considering the fact that children have considerably more delicate skin than your average adult, they are especially vulnerable to this form of harmful health effect through mold exposure. When toxic mold spores come into contact with a child’s skin, itching, rashes, and skin irritation are known to occur. 

Eye Irritation

Similarly to the way that mycotoxins can be introduced to the human body through the skin, it can also be introduced via the eyes. This can cause both inflammation and even vision problems in children. Here are some of the most common symptoms of eye irritations caused by exposure to mold in children:

  • Itchy, watery eyes
  • Red or bloodshot eyes
  • Eye soreness
  • Eye inflammation
  • Blurry vision

Neurological Symptoms

The trichothecene mycotoxins produced by toxic mold have been shown to cause even more serious health conditions, including neurological symptoms. These trichothecene mycotoxins, when introduced to a child’s body, can kill neurons in the brain. As neurons are killed off by these harmful toxins, they impair the function of the brain. These impairments range from irritability to mood swings and nervous system disorders. Here are the most common neurological effects of mold exposure in children:

  • Anxiety and depression
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Slower reflexes
  • Shortened attention span
  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Memory loss

Protecting Your Children From Mold Exposure

As you can see, there are many harmful health effects associated with children who have been exposed to a mold infestation in their homes. So what can you do to protect your family from a mold infestation? Here are a few of our most helpful tips in reducing the chance of mold growth in your home:

  • Identify problem areas in your home that introduce moist, humid conditions such as leaking pipes or windows with frequent condensation. Repair these issues to work to prevent the formation of areas where mold can grow.
  • Dry any wet areas in your home immediately. Mold grows when left to form in wet environments so the drier your home is the safer you are.
  • Ensure that your home is properly ventilated. 
  • Use mold-resistant products such as mold-resistant drywall and mold inhibitors for paints. 
  • Maintain a reasonable level of humidity in your home. If your home is too humid, this introduces a higher chance of mold growth.
  • Improve air flow in your home.



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