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CLEANING MOLD: DIY VS. PROFESSIONAL REMEDIATION

Mold allergies in children can cause numerous symptoms that disrupt daily life. Coughing, sneezing, and itchy watery eyes are just some of the symptoms. Molds in the home can also cause children to develop allergies! Nicole and her daughter Kayla found out the hard way how mold can contribute to allergy development. Come read and learn about how mold remediation improved this family’s health!

DISCLAIMERS:

Blog information is NOT intended to provide or replace medical advice. NO information on this site should be used to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease or condition.

Suggestions for products to use are just that, suggestions. You know yourself and your home best. Please do your own research on any product you use in your home or on your skin, and learn all the facts for yourself. Thank you.

MOLD ALLERGY IN CHILDREN – NICOLE AND KAYLA’S STORY

Nicole and her daughter Kayla have always been really close. They live together in a small 2 bedroom home. Kayla is a quiet child, and loves to play in her room. Kayla loves to tell stories to her mom about the fantastic characters her stuffed animals become when she’s not home.

image of mother and sick child - mold allergy in children

Over the last few months, Kayla has been sick a lot. She complained about her eyes itching, throat hurting, coughing and sneezing a lot. Kayla’s pediatrician has treated her for multiple sinus infections. They just don’t seem to ever go away! Nicole makes sure Kayla takes all the medicine, but she is still not feeling well. Finally, her pediatrician suggests allergy testing. Perhaps something in Kayla’s environment is triggering the sinus infections and allergy symptoms.

Going to See the Allergist

allergy testing - mold allergy in children

Allergy testing involves adding a small drop of the potential allergen to the skin and pricking the skin to watch for an allergic reaction.

It takes weeks to see an allergist. The tests are uncomfortable, but the results are relatively quick. Kayla is allergic to several things including dog and cat dander, tree pollen and mold. They do not have any pets, and at the time of year the testing is done, grass and tree pollen shouldn’t be a problem. (Grass and tree pollen aren’t present in the winter.)

The doctor asks about mold in their home, and if they have had any recent water leaks. Nicole doesn’t think they have mold, but imagines it’s possible. The allergist suggests a thorough mold inspection of the home. “The only way to be sure there is no mold in your home is to have it inspected by someone who is trained to find mold. Allergies are treatable, but are not curable. The best way to prevent future allergy issues is to remove the allergens from Kayla’s environment.”

The doctor suggests medicine to help Kayla avoid future allergy flare ups, but highly recommends that Nicole have a mold inspection performed. She asked the doctor for a recommendation of a mold inspection company, but the doctor does not recommend anyone specific. However, the doctor gave her a checklist with questions to ask the mold inspection company before she hires them. (Similar to our question checklist – check it out here.)

Choosing a Mold Inspection Company

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Nicole does her homework. She calls several mold companies for an inspection. She asks them the questions, but the first two companies she calls don’t know all the answers. A little frustrated, she gives us a call. We answer all her questions correctly, and reassure her that she has chosen the right company for the job. Nicole then hires us to do a comprehensive mold inspection of the home.

Comprehensive Mold Inspection Report

Our inspector checks the entire house top to bottom. Here at Branch Environmental, we check everything from the crawl space to attic to everything in between. A comprehensive mold inspection report with photographs is created for and explained to Nicole.

mold and indoor air quality inspection report

“The bad news is, you do have mold. The good news is that it is located in only one small area. Behind your washing machine, there is a slow water leak. That leak looks to have been there for a while, and mold is growing as a result. Our recommendation includes fixing the leak, removing the drywall and part of the flooring in the immediate area on both sides of the wall, and replacing that part of the wall and floor.”

It all makes so much sense now! Kayla’s bedroom is right behind the laundry room, and they share a wall. Her bed is pushed up to that wall as well, so she was breathing in mold spores in her room every night! Nicole immediately moves Kayla out of her room and into her own temporarily. No more breathing in mold for you!

Mold Remediation and Reconstruction

Mold remediation using negative air flow - mold allergy in children

Mold remediation using negative air flow keeps mold spores and construction dust out of the home.

Because it is a small job, they don’t have to leave their home during the mold clean up and renovations. They just do laundry at a friend’s house for a few days. Because she scheduled both the mold removal and repairs with Branch, she saved money and time. Her laundry room looks brand new, and now her home is safe for her daughter.

The medicine the doctor prescribed for Kayla helped her feel better, but even more importantly Kayla stopped having so many sinus infections. Removing the mold from her home significantly improved her health!

MOLD ALLERGY IN CHILDREN – ALLERGY DEVELOPMENT

sneezing mom and child - mold allergy in children

As Nicole and Kayla found out the hard way, mold can play a significant role in the development of childhood allergies.6,9 People cannot be allergic to something they have never encountered. Your body only recognizes substances (such as mold spores, dust, pollen, etc.) as a threat after encountering them many times. The process of becoming sensitive to and then allergic to a substance is called allergy sensitization.6,9 Kayla became allergic to mold due to her long term (months and months) exposure to mold in her home. The small water leak in their laundry room caused not only damage to the home, but illness as well.

In a 2002 research study, the risk of allergy sensitization in children was measured by determining the amount of indoor mold exposure in the children’s homes.9 Fungal spore counts were used to learn the amount of mold in the home over time. The researchers concluded that higher concentrations of mold in the home increased the children’s the risk of becoming allergic to mold. They also found that mold in the home can contribute to the development of allergies to other allergy causing substances (such as dust mites).

MOLD ALLERGY IN CHILDREN – ASTHMA DEVELOPMENT

child with asthma inhaler

Mold can cause much more serious problems than just allergies. Not only does mold contribute to allergy development, it also contributes to asthma developmentRight here in Athens Georgia, a recent study was published describing how improving housing quality can reduce asthma rates. The results of the study show “mold in the home, more so than other factors, is strongly associated with asthma prevalence in Athens-Clarke County.”7 In conclusion, if you and your children live in a home with mold, you are more likely to have or develop asthma.

The good news is that mold remediation improves health and can reduce asthma flare ups. In 2006, a group of doctors and scientists studied the effects of mold remediation in homes of asthmatic children.8 For the study, homes of patients with asthma were evaluated for water damage and mold. The homes of some patients were repaired by removing mold and moisture damage. Control homes were not repaired.

In the homes that had moisture damage repaired and mold removed, the researchers measured a significant difference in people’s lives. Parents of children in remediated homes reported significantly less daily asthma symptoms, and had fewer trips to urgent care facilities due to asthma. There was a significant change in these patient’s lives because the mold was removed from their homes!8

WHEN MOLD IS WORSE THAN ALLERGIES – EFFECTS OF MOLD ON BRAIN DEVELOPMENT IN CHILDREN

children running inside home - mold allergy in children

Allergies to mold can be miserable, but mold can cause much more dangerous health problems than just allergy symptoms. In adults, mold exposure has been associated with disordered brain function, changes in balance, slower blink reflexes, slower reaction times, color discrimination problems, and depression.11

A research group from Poland studied the effects of mold on children’s IQ development from birth to six years old.10 IQ scores were used to determine intelligence level at 6 years old. Study participants were compared to children who lived in homes without mold.10

The results of the study show that children who lived in homes with mold had triple the risk of low IQ scoring. Even accounting for differences in maternal education level, students who had lived in homes with mold for longer periods of time had a much higher risk of lower IQ scores.10

As you can see, living in a home with mold growth is harmful to health of both adults and children. Above all, studies have shown that once moldy buildings are remediated the health of the people begins to be restored.7,8,10 Without remediation, it is difficult to improve your health if you live or work in a building with mold.

Here at Branch Environmental, we believe that nobody should live or work in a building that makes them sick! We want you and your children to live your best life in your best health!

To learn more about how mold affects both children and adults check out our posts: Effects of Mold on Children’s Health and Mold and Mycotoxins: Effects on the Brain and Nervous System in Adults.

To learn more about our sources of information, please check out the ‘Resources’ section at the end of this article. Numbers in the text above correspond to specific articles below.

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MOLD ALLERGY IN CHILDREN – MOLD INVESTIGATIONS

Mold Inspection clipboard - mold allergy in children

If you or your child are suffering from allergies, call Branch EnvironmentalWe believe in mold investigations not just inspections. If you think you’ve got a real problem, you’re far better off with a thorough inspection like ours. We see each mold inspection as an in-depth investigation, not an opportunity to hand over a guess-based estimate of work.

Especially if you live outside our service area, check out our post: How to Choose the Best Mold Removal Company. Our article tells you all the questions (and the correct answers!) to ask mold inspection and remediation companies, so that you can hire the right company for the job.

WE’RE HERE WHEN YOU NEED US

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Call Branch Environmental. We go above and beyond to determine and remediate the underlying causes of air quality problems in your home. From hidden mold sources to major contaminants, we can identify exactly what is going on in your home and rid it of environmental toxins, often for good. We work hard to get harmful substances and molds out of your home, so you can go back to living your best life!

Branch Environmental – Because nobody should live or work in a building that makes them sick.