The hidden danger of mould illness in children

Mould illness

The hidden danger of mould illness in children

Mould illness

Changing weather patterns and ageing housing means that mould illness is an increasingly common occurrence. I would hazard a guess that almost all of us have experienced mould growing in our homes at some point in time.

In fact, it is estimated by the World Health Organisation, that as many as 50% of Australian homes currently have some mould growth present. The prevalence is higher in coastal and valley areas.

Mould growth is spurred on by many environmental factors including a lack of ventilation and air flow in the home, high levels of humidity (hello Australian summer), leaky pipes and condensation moving up or down. Tiny spores usually naked to the eye are carried by air – it can proliferate very quickly and be widespread.

But did you know that this common household occurrence can pose a hidden danger to your child’s health?

Why is mould so problematic?

So if it’s so common, why is mould such a big concern?

Mould contains toxic biotoxins, mycotoxins, within its spores. These can wreak havoc in your child’s body. Exposure to these particles can occur from inhalation, ingestion or through skin contact as the spores are carried through air.

Over time these toxins build up and cause an inflammatory response in the body leading to the eventual presentation of symptoms. One of the biggest concerns with mould exposure is that symptoms can be develop slowly but their effects are long-lasting.

Prolonged mould exposure is the leading cause of Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome, or CIRS commonly referred to as mould illness. It is estimated that between 7.6 to 12.7% of children suffer from CIRS, with many of them going undiagnosed.

Mould illness and the developing brain

Research suggests that early-life exposure to mould, both prenatally and up until the age of 6 can have a detrimental impact on your child’s developing brain. This then has a follow-on effect to other developmental aspects including delayed toilet training, concentration in early childhood learning and regular tummy upsets. In the same study, children that experienced prolonged exposure also encountered trouble with balance, delayed reaction time and difficulty differentiating between colours.

Could my child have mould poisoning?

Mould illness appears differently in children than it does in adults with symptoms sometimes considered emotional in nature.

Best practice screening is through the use of symptom clusters. It is advised that children (under the age of 11) who present with 6 or more of the below clusters be further investigated for CIRS or mould illness.

These clusters are:

  • Fatigue
  • Weakness, Headaches, Light sensitivity
  • Memory impairment
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Joint pain, cramps, stiffness
  • Skin sensitivity, Tingling
  • Shortness of breath, Sinus congestion
  • Cough, Excessive Thirst, Confusion
  • Appetite swings, Difficulty regulating temperature, Increased urination
  • Red eyes, Blurred vision, Night sweats, Mood swings
  • Abdominal pain, Diarrhoea
  • Disorientation, Metallic taste
  • Static shocks, Vertigo

Other key things indicative of mould illness amongst children, include chronic headaches or stomach upsets, persistent growing pains, difficulty with toilet training or bed wetting after the age of 6 and inattention at school.

What should you do if you suspect mould illness?

Find the source of the mould

It can be incredibly frustrating if you suspect your child has mould poisoning but you can’t find any sign of mould in or around your home. Mould can be hidden in ceiling voids, on pipes running down the side of a window or on window ledges.

Bathroom mould is a common culprit. You can easily remove mould buildup in your shower grout by using a toothbrush to scrub a 50/50 mix of bicarb soda and dishwashing liquid. Unfortunately any mould in silicone will need to be remove and replaced.

For tips on how to detox your home have a read of this article.

Dietary changes

To assist with detoxification from mould, increase your child’s consumption of foods high in antioxidants and plant phytochemicals. These include leafy greens, broccoli and other brassica vegetables, berries and citrus fruit.

Anti-inflammatory spices like turmeric and ginger are also great for reducing inflammation.

Book in for a consultation

If mould poisoning is suspected, your family will need to go through a detoxification process in order to remove the built up biotoxins. The best way forward is through a personalised treatment plan. Book in for a consultation with me and I can help minimise the effects of the mould on your child quickly and efficiently.

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