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By Stephanie Cook (see bio below)
You’ve pre-washed his clothes with gentle detergent, disinfected his bottles thoroughly, and baby-proofed every corner, but did you test for indoor air pollution? It can start with a cough; a seemingly insignificant wheeze expelled from the center of his tiny chest. What may be significant, however, could be a commonly overlooked factor.
Did you know that 80% of children with eczema also suffer from allergies and asthma often caused by mold and allergens? This trio is commonly referred to as the atopic triad because they often occur simultaneously (Gardner 2016 WebMD).
The National Public Health Institute conducted a year-long study to examine the adverse health effects in children who were exposed to mold and moisture. The study found, that “…children exposed to mold had significantly increased risks of nocturnal cough and eczema flare ups, and they also had significantly more episodes of common colds than the non-exposed children. If schoolchildren had been exposed to mold, this significantly increased their risk of nausea and led to difficulties in concentration. They also had a significantly higher number of doctor visits than the non-exposed children (Koskinen, Husman, Meklin, Nevalainen 1999).”
While mold is a natural and important part of our environment, when concentration levels of mold spores in our homes are higher than that which is naturally occurring outside, it can be detrimental to our health. Some mold spores release mycotoxins into the air and negatively impact our indoor air quality. Breathing in these toxins can cause allergic reactions in many individuals and can exacerbate eczema flare ups.
While many people worry about outdoor air pollution, far fewer worry about indoor air quality where we spend a majority of our time.
How do I test for mold?
Think mold problems are rare? According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the air inside the average home is up to 5x more polluted than the air outside (EPA, 2016). With nearly 90% of our time spent indoors (EPA, 2016), we are at risk from adverse health effects every single day. Unfortunately, many times mold isn’t visible or obvious. It can lurk and grow out of view while causing you to question why you feel your allergy and eczema symptoms worsening. Testing for this dangerous culprit can cost thousands of dollars, a big expense for most families. If you’re looking to test out your home, MyMoldDetective® is a fast, affordable, professional grade solution.
I’ve got mold…now what?
If testing has confirmed mold in your home, take immediate action to remedy the issue. Mold problems must be dealt with to avoid worsening symptoms and damage to your home. Generally, it is not recommended for individuals with eczema and allergies to do the cleaning themselves, as cleaning will release and intensify mold spores into the air. For larger mold issues, it’s recommended that you seek a certified and insured professional Mold Remediation team to contain the issue safely and thoroughly.
So, what’s in your air?
With an average breath intake of 17,280 and 23,040 breaths a day (EPA, 2014), how often do you check your indoor air quality? If your children’s safety is top priority and their allergy and eczema symptoms are getting worse, it’s time to take control of your indoor air quality and find a good skincare treatment for eczema.
Bio: VP of Operations for MyMoldDetective®, Stephanie Cook is a Council-Certified Indoor Environmental Professional through the American Council for Accredited Certification (ACAC). She’s been an Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) industry professional since 2008 where she first started with Remediation Group, Inc., a mold remediation firm in Atlanta, GA. She also was an integral part in the development of the patented and ground-breaking air sampling mold test kit, MyMoldDetective®.
Brown, Ann. “How Many Breaths Do You Take Each Day?” The EPA Blog. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Aug. 2016.
Gardner, Stephanie S. “Eczema and Allergies: What’s Behind the Connection?” WebMD. Ed. WebMD, n.d. Web. 16 Aug. 2016.
Koskinen, Outi M., Tuula M. Husman, Teija M. Meklin, and Aino I. Nevalainen. “Adverse Health Effects in Children Associated with Moisture and Mold Observations in Houses.” International Journal of Environmental Health Research 9.2 (1999): 143-56. Web.
“An Introduction to Indoor Air Quality.” EPA. Environmental Protection Agency, n.d. Web. 16 Aug. 2016.
Laura is a contributor and content developer for It’s An Itchy Little World. She is in no way a medical professional. Her comments, suggestions, and reflections are not intended to replace any medical advice. Always seek the help of a medical professional before undertaking any diet or lifestyle changes. Please see It’s An Itchy Little World’s disclaimer for information about affiliate links and more.