On top of mold causing a lot of financial stress and structural damage to your home, your family may also experience health issues related to mold exposure. Children are particularly vulnerable to mold allergies, and exposure can lead to long-term health damage, so it’s important to keep an eye out for symptoms.
How your child becomes exposed to mold
There are three different reactions to mold exposure: Allergenic, pathogenic and toxigenic. Your child can come into contact with mold, and experience an allergic reaction, in three different ways:
- Physical contact
Mold exposure is harmful because of its lasting effects: It has been linked to a weakened immune system, liver damage, hormone disorders and cancer. Whether ingested or inhaled, long-term exposure to these toxins can seriously harm children and may manifest by way of fevers, nausea and fatigue.
Beginning signs of a child’s pathogenic reactions to mold may include superficial rashes and skin reactions, athlete’s foot and nail bed infections.
Some skin reactions are common in children, such as athlete’s foot and plantar warts; however, parents should keep an eye out for prolonged bouts of such infections, combined with similar skin reactions above the foot area.
If you have recently moved or noticed water damage in your home, make note of the damage and track any symptoms that your family experiences. Beware of any that point to mold exposure. Most early symptoms are similar to seasonal allergies:
- Itchy and watery eyes
- Rashes or congestion
If your child begins to experience difficulty breathing or swallowing; abdominal pain and cramps; diarrhea; or vomiting, he or she could be experiencing a more severe allergic reaction.
Dizziness and mental confusion are also warning signs. Seek medical attention if your child is experiencing any of the above symptoms for more than a few days.
For children, among other susceptible groups, long-term exposure to mold can go deeper than the skin, and may result in damage to the liver, kidneys and lungs.
Children with asthma are in particular danger and should be monitored closely for skin reactions and fatigue after an asthma attack.
Take these allergic reactions seriously, as they can be life threatening, and the nature of the toxins released by mold make it difficult to prevent long-term damage in children.