While the presence of mold can affect all people and pets, it can impede a child’s health significantly if left to proliferate. If you suspect children in your home are suffering from illnesses caused by mold, it’s important to know what to look for and how to get rid of the offending fungus.

How Does Mold Affect Children?

It has been said that at least one in every three kids is allergic to mold. Like with adults, symptoms of a mold allergy often manifest in respiratory problems which include a runny nose, sneezing, watery eyes, coughing, and throat irritation. If left untreated, more severe illnesses such as asthma and lung infections can occur. These pose a real—and sometimes fatal—threat in extreme cases. Another less common, but debilitating, illness, Idiopathic Pulmonary Hemorrhage (IPH) is a lung condition with symptoms that include acute lung bleeding and respiratory distress. The telltale signs of IPH may take longer to manifest; due to this, if you believe there mold in your home it’s vital to take your child for regular check-ups.

It’s important to note that mold-borne illnesses will only last for as long as the mold has gone unchecked—however, these sicknesses some kids may continue well after the mold has been removed. If they do, consult a physician for treatment.

Where Can Mold Be Found?

Mold can grow anywhere, indoors and out, in any season—all that is needed is high humidity and warm conditions to encourage development. Indoors, mold grows in moist spaces where there is improper ventilation, such as bathrooms or basements. In outdoor spaces, it can be seen in damp areas, and/or places where decomposition of vegetation is a factor. Other common spots were spores can multiply include air conditioners, humidifiers, carpets, mattresses, and trash cans.

What Can You Do To Keep Your Child Safe From Mold?

If you have rented or purchased a home, it is important to have it tested for mold before moving in, and fix any problems where growth could be a factor. Clean up your yard for any possible deteriorating materials and check the interior areas of the home for water damage by way of potential leaks or standing water. Be aware of rooms with poor ventilation and clean or throw out any offending materials that could harbor mold. An air conditioner with HEPA filter will help kill mold spores, but don’t forget to change the filter regularly. If you don’t have AC, close windows when it’s humid.