Posts Tagged ‘mold’

Mold exposure and asthma

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

asthmaFor those of us impacted by flooding from wicked weather, it is important to know that a newly published study revealed that exposure to household mold in infancy greatly increases a child’s risk of developing asthma.

Researchers with the Cincinnati Childhood Allergy and Air Pollution Study analyzed seven years of data collected from 176 children who were followed from infancy. These children were considered at high risk of developing asthma because of a family medical history of asthma.

By age seven, 18% of the children in the study developed asthma. Those who lived in homes with mold during infancy were three times more likely to develop asthma by age 7 than those who were not exposed to mold when they were infants.

“Early life exposure to mold seems to play a critical role in childhood asthma development,” lead author Tiina Reponen, a professor of environmental health at the University of Cincinnati, said in a university news release. “Genetic factors are also important to consider in asthma risk, since infants whose parents have an allergy or asthma are at the greatest risk of developing asthma.”

“This study should motivate expectant parents—especially if they have a family history of allergy or asthma—to correct water damage and reduce the mold burden in their homes to protect the respiratory health of their children,” added Reponen.

If you have suffered water damage, take care to make sure you have no mold growing in your home. This link will take you to articles from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) and the Environmental Protectioin Agency (EPA) on cleaning up mold.

It’s war and the dust bunnies are winning

Monday, January 11th, 2010

7404663_thbIf you’re like me and have indoor allergies, it’s important to know that triggers can lurk all over — often in unexpected places, too. I’m sneezing my head off lately and I’m convinced there’s something in the house that I’m overlooking. I’m bound and determined to find to the source. I do the best I can to keep this place clean, especially now that my newly crawling daughter actively hunts for dust bunnies. She can spot a tiny spec of it from across the room then darts for it. She thinks its finger food! If you’re in the same dusty boat, the following tips may help to get your home in tip top shape. Warning – if you’re easily skeeved out by things, proceed with caution.

Houseplants – mold spores can grow in the pots and spread to the floor. To minimize this, remove dead leaves, use saucers, and avoid over-watering. (This is a likely culprit in my house. All of our plants need to be dusted and repotted with fresh loose soil.)

Pet dander – it’s not the fur, but dead skin flakes. It floats, settles on carpets, furniture, and bedding. Clean and vacuum often.

Carpeting – lots of dust accumulates here and it becomes a feeding ground for microscopic dust mites. Body parts and feces from dust mites are common indoor allergy triggers. (I wanted to cry when I read this one…body part and feces! I’m moving.) Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter or get rid of the carpet all together.

Books – dust can harbor mites, mold spores, and tiny critters called booklice. (Booklice! I’ll do all of my reading online from now, thanks.) Vacuum their surfaces regularly or store the books in a closed container.

Stuffed animals – If your child has a dust mite allergy, look for plush toys that are machine washable and wash them in hot water once a week. Dry them thoroughly. If your child has a favorite one that can’t be washed, place it in the dryer once a week instead.

Happy Monday!

Poison prevention

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009

The world is a beautiful place! But sadly, some things in our environment can harm us and our children. With a little knowledge and some effort, parents can protect their babies from many of these hazards (like asbestos, carbon monoxide, poor drinking water, mold, chemicals in plastics…).  If you’re thinking of starting a family, brushing up on various safety topics for a baby’s environment is an excellent idea.

Each year, approximately 2.4 million people – more than half under age 6 – swallow or have contact with a poisonous substance. The American Academy of Pediatrics has some important tips to prevent and to treat exposures to poison. Tips are available in English and Spanish.

Rain, rain, go away!

Monday, June 23rd, 2008

The last few weeks, I feel like I have been living in a sponge.  Now after all the rain we have had, my husband and I are on the lookout for mold.  Mold is something that exists everywhere there is moisture.  We can’t get away from it, but we can try to clean it out of our homes for a safer living environment.  Read more about protecting your baby from mold.

Mold growth often looks like spots. It can be many different colors, including green and grey, and it can smell musty. If you can see or smell mold somewhere in your home, there may be a health risk to you and your children.

Some people are bothered more by mold than others. A baby who is sensitive to mold may have:
• A runny nose
• A scratchy throat
• Sneezing
• Coughing
• Red or itchy eyes
• A skin rash
Sometimes reactions can be more serious. Mold can cause asthma attacks. Babies who have serious lung problems are at greater risk than other babies.

With all the horrendous storms that have been pounding down across the United States, rain has become an enemy to many communities.  Once the floodwaters subside, mold is something we really need to guard against.  The EPA says if you suspect that the heating/ventilation/air conditioning (HVAC) system may be contaminated with mold (it is part of an identified moisture problem, for instance, or there is mold near the intake to the system), consult EPA’s guide Should You Have the Air Ducts in Your Home Cleaned? before taking further action. Do not run the HVAC system to help dry the place out if you know or suspect that it is contaminated with mold – it could spread mold throughout the building.  Here is where you can read more about flood cleanup.