Toxic mold exposure in infants can be a serious condition and negatively affect their fragile undeveloped lungs in a severe way. We are going to start with the basics and then get into some medical studies on the issue:
Mold is a type of fungus that develops in the visual appearance of multicellular filaments called hyphae. Actually, molds have been in existence on earth for millions of years and they thrive in the air and on many surfaces such as walls, floors, and even food where there is the presence of moisture. They produce tiny, lightweight spores which cause the beginning of new mold growth, besides compromising the indoor air quality.
The common types of molds include Aspergillus, Cladosporium and Stachybotrys Atra, commonly known as “black mold“. It takes 24 to 48 hours for molds to germinate and grow, and the spores start to colonize in 3 to 12 days and become visible in about 18-21 days. You can easily distinguish them by their texture and profiles, as some are flat looking while others present themselves in a hairy or bumpy appearance. Moreover, quite a lot of molds produce poisonous substances called mycotoxins such as the Stachybotrys Chartarum (Atra), although not to all molds. Vulnerability to such damp and moldy surroundings may bring about a diversity of health consequences to both humans and animals, sometimes even leading to neurological issues such as allergic reactions as well as respiratory problems and in some cases, death.
Different individuals respond to mold exposure in different ways, but toxic mold exposure in infants is especially susceptible to the harmful effects of mold. An infant’s respiratory system is still undeveloped, and his body is unable to the toxins produced by mold. Black mold is a major issue in many homes. As maintained by the University of Minnesota, infants and babies can be harmed by the effects of black mold. Thereby, leading to the most common severe symptoms.
These airway symptoms present themselves as seasonal allergies. Wheezing can occur periodically and repeatedly and this can be quite a frightening experience for the infant and family. If a child has asthma, mold spores may trigger an attack or exacerbate an existing attack. Coughing, shortness of breath, runny nose, itchy nose, and nasal congestion may also occur, and this can even lead to pneumonia in severe cases, thus a doctor must assess that young child immediately.
According to Susan Lillard-Roberts (2006) in an article on Mold survivor, a very young child or baby exposed to mold may suffer from gastrointestinal issues. These problems manifest themselves through nausea and vomiting. A young child may decline to eat and may start losing weight gradually, as a result. In addition, diarrhea and abdominal pains may occur. These symptoms progress over longer periods of time, leading to dehydration, thus immediate attention from a doctor.
According to the University of Minnesota, skin rashes or skin irritations can be found present on the skin of an infant who is already exposed to molds. A red, bumpy rash can grow on the child’s body. In addition, the rash can be painful or irritating, making the baby uncomfortable with recurrent crying. However, the rash may sometimes be misguided as a diaper rash if it is visible in the diaper area. Immediate attention of a doctor is n when a rash occurs in other places.
S. Lillard-Roberts. Symptoms of fungal exposure (Mycotoxicosis). Published in 2006. Retrieved from www.mold-survivor.com/symptoms.html.
Kristie Jernigan. Black mold symptoms in infants. Published in 2015. Retrieved from https://www.livestrong.com/article/206953-black-mold-symptoms-in-infants/