The Health Effects of Mold on Children
Although mold awareness has increased considerably in recent years, it still often happens that people who are suffering from mold symptoms don’t realize it, assuming that they have hay fever or a cold. It is quite difficult indeed to define whether a symptom is mold-related or not, as the relation between the harmful microorganisms and many health issues is not yet proven and needs further studies to be confirmed. Nevertheless, if you have mold in your home and a member of your family is feeling sick for no logical or apparent reasons, the noxious fungus is almost certainly the culprit.
Mold produces tiny, lightweight spores which not only initiate new mold growth but also compromise the indoor air quality. When inhaled, these spores cause the immune system to respond by creating allergic reactions as a natural defense against the foreign particles entering the body. This response, however, can result in various health problems and severe allergic symptoms. Different people react to mold exposure in different ways, but children, seniors, and sickness-prone people are usually most vulnerable to the negative effects of mold. The type and severity of the symptoms depend on the types of mold present in the home and the extent of mold exposure, but youngsters whose immune systems have not yet fully developed can be at risk for really serious complications.
A number of investigations from around the world have clearly demonstrated a close relationship between living in a mold-affected environment and the extent of adverse respiratory symptoms in children. When a young child inhales mold spores, he/she may experience different respiratory problems, similar to the symptoms of seasonal allergies: shortness of breath, wheezing, runny nose, itchy nose, nasal congestion, sore throat, coughing, sneezing, and various other flu-like symptoms. If your child has asthma, inhaling mold spores may trigger more frequent attacks and exacerbate the chronic lung disease.
Although all types of household molds may result in such troublesome allergy symptoms, the greatest health risks for children come from toxic black molds (Stachybotrys chartarum). They produce mycotoxins that can be particularly harmful to kids and may even result in death. The black moldmycotoxins create irritation and burning sensation in the nasal cavity, mouth, and throat. If they get lodged in the mucus membranes, sinuses, and the lungs, the mycotoxins can cause severe breathing problems and bleeding in the lungs. It is a proven fact that the effects of mold exposure may have serious consequences for children in the early years of life. Prolonged black mold exposure, in particular, is extremely dangerous as it increases the risk for hemorrhagic pneumonia and consequent death among infants.
Toxic black mold mycotoxins can easily enter the human body through the skin, especially if it comes to the delicate skin of a youngster. So, when a child’s skin comes into contact with black mold spores, irritation, itching, rashes, and other skin problems may appear as a result.
When the toxic black mold spores come in contact with the delicate skin of a young child, they can cause inflammations, rashes, and other irritations.
Apart from airways symptoms, children who are exposed to toxic black mold may also experience different neurological problems. The trichothecene mycotoxins produced by black mold can kill neurons in the brain and impair its functions, as well as cause nervous disorders, mood swings, and irritability. The most common neurological symptoms of black mold include: confusion and disorientation, shortened attention span, slowed reflexes, dizziness, headaches, memory loss and memory problems, anxiety and depression, trembling or shaking and numbness.
When the black mold mycotoxins come into contact with eye cells, they can cause inflammations of the eyes and create vision problems: itchy eyes, watery eyes, red or bloodshot eyes, eye inflammation and soreness, and blurry vision.
Written by Luke Armstrong