If you know the signs of mold exposure in babies, you can take care of your baby faster before the symptoms escalate.
Disclaimer: This post is intended for informational purposes only. If you, baby, pet or any family member has been exposed to black mold, see a doctor as soon as possible.
Several times in this blog, we have mentioned how high humidity causes mold infestation.
Sometimes, you might not even know you have mold, until it starts to affect the health of your family members.
Until you see the signs of mold exposure among your family members!
If you have a baby and you live in a humid place such as Florida, you need to know the symptoms of mold exposure in babies.
Causes of mold exposure in babies
There is only one cause of mold exposure symptoms in babies – mold colonies in your home.
Mold spores spread to different parts of the house by floating on air. Wherever they land, they will form new colonies if there is warmth, dampness and nutrients.
If you have, or have had mold at home, let your doctor know that if you find yourself taking your baby to the hospital too often.
In the baby’s room, it is vital to keep an eye on the hygrometer so that the humidity never exceeds 55 percent.
Also, check the dewpoint temperature. If it is constantly above 60 degrees Fahrenheit, the day is going to be really humid. The high humidity outside is going to affect the inside humidity.
Your baby can also get mold exposure from the humidifier itself. When you neglect cleaning the unit for too long, it will develop mold symptoms.
If you see pink, brown or black slime in the humidifier tank, it is a sign of mold. The humidifier will pump this mold out with the mist and so your baby will inhale a lot of it.
Such kind of mold exposure is going to trigger serious mold exposure signs in your baby.
Can mold affect babies?
Mold can affect babies from their infancy. And that is not all because it can also affect unborn babies.
Expectant moms need to be very careful what they expose themselves to. If they inhale mold, it can harm their babies.
Exposure to mold for unborn babies can lead to the development of asthma later in life. Even when they are born, mold can still affect babies.
In fact, the effect of mold on newborns will be too serious because their immune system is not yet fully developed. Remember, a baby’s immune system takes 90 days to develop fully.
When a baby is affected by mold, you will know by the symptoms that we are going to discuss in the upcoming section.
Signs of black mold exposure in babies you shouldn’t miss
If you see the signs we’ll discuss below, just know that mold exposure is the first culprit. Remember, mold grows in dark spaces most of the time, so it is possible to have it and not know you have it.
Does your baby show these symptoms?
1. Itchy nose, eyes and throat
If you notice that your baby has itchy eyes, they could have been exposed to mold. While a baby is very small, they will not reach the eyes, nose or throat with their hands.
You can tell by the baby’s unceasing discomfort. Besides the itching in the nose and eyes, the baby’s nose and eyes will start running.
2. Stuffy nose
If your baby’s nose is not running, it will be stuffy. It is very important to take the baby to a doctor because when too young, they cannot breathe through their mouth. Babies develop the reflex to inhale through the mouth when they are four months old.
Your baby will also show signs of congestion. If they are wheezing, struggling for breath, they are reacting to mold exposure.
3. Persistent coughing and postnasal drip
Mold triggers the body to produce too much mucus. This mucus drips back down the throat in what is called postnasal drip.
With the mucus dripping down the throat, your baby will develop persistent coughing fits, which will leave them breathless.
If your baby gags, it could be as a result of the mucus dripping back down their throat. Visit the pediatrician.
4. Skin rashes
Mold does not only affect the baby’s respiratory system, but it also affects their skin. If the mold spores land on their delicate skin, they can cause rashes.
If you see red patches on the skin of your baby, you should suspect mold. Small pimples on the exposed parts of the skin are a telltale sign of mold exposure in babies. Some times, there will be bloody lesions on the skin.
5. General discomfort
With issues like stuffy nose, postnasal drip and skin irritation, we expect your bundle of joy to be very irritable.
If your baby has fed well, they don’t have colic and they are still being very irritable, they might have been exposed to mold.
If you live in a humid place such as Seattle, you should check your house frequently, especially the crawl spaces for signs of mold.
7. Mold exposure in older babies …
In older babies, you should look for all the symptoms we have discussed above. Additionally, they will experience:
- Unexplained fatigue and low energy levels
- Cognitive dysfunction issues such as confusion, attention deficit, slurred speech and others
- Problems with their hearing
- Stress and anxiety
- It can trigger attacks in children who have asthma
Can you test a baby for mold exposure?
If the doctor recommends testing a baby for mold exposure, go for it. However, you can check your house thoroughly to see whether you have mold infestations.
Some mold tests are carried out using urine. The lab will test for mold infestation in the body of your baby using his/her urine.
If you notice any of the symptoms of mold exposure we have shown you here, just know there is mold in your house. The most likely places for mold colonies are the basement, the kitchen, bathroom and ceiling.
If you are not sure that your baby is suffering from mold exposure symptoms, you can test material from your home for mold.
Another form of mold testing is taking a sample of material from your home and having it tested for mold in a professional lab.
You can also buy your own test kit and test dust from your home for the presence of mold. The most popular home mold test is called Environmental Mold Mycotoxin Assessment (EMMA).
If the tests turn out positive showing your baby has mold in his or her body, don’t panic. Your doctor will show you the solution. It is vital to follow the treatment plan so that your baby gets well again.
If the home tests show your home is infested with mold, you might want to hire a professional firm for mold removal. Also, check your appliances that deal with water for mold. Humidifier sickness symptoms are caused by mold in the tank, so you need to check it too.
Can black mold kill a baby?
Black mold is distinguished from other types of mold by its greenish or blackish color. If your baby is exposed to black mold, you should take him to a doctor immediately.
Black mold infestation in the body of a baby can cause neurological issues. Black mold contains trichothecene mycotoxins. They affect the functionality of your brain by killing neurons.
The symptoms of neurological issues include trembling, memory loss and anxiety; it is hard to know whether a small baby has mold poisoning. That’s why you will need to run tests.
If your baby develops hemorrhagic pneumonia from exposure to black mold, your baby could die. This condition is caused by the inflammation of the lung. It is best to take your baby for diagnosis because many other things could cause this condition.
Today, pneumonia is one of the biggest infant and pre-school children killers. This is why you cannot take chances.
If you live in a humid place, invest in the best dehumidifier for mould. It will lower the humidity in your house to the recommended level of 30 to 50-55%. Mold requires relative humidity level of at least 60 percent to thrive.
What happens if baby is exposed to mold?
When you have mold infestation at home, your family will be exposed to the mold, including your baby.
Many things happen a baby is exposed to mold. Now, if your baby inhales black mold, they will be exposed to mycotoxins.
When mycotoxins are absorbed through the skin, ingested through the mouth or inhaled, they can cause serious symptoms.
You will find mycotoxins in damp and warm conditions. This is why you need to check the humidity in your baby’s room all the time. You also need to check your crawl spaces for mold colonies.
Even if you do not find any signs of black mold in your home, consider doing a mold test on your dust if your baby has been displaying symptoms of mold poisoning.
Please note that mycotoxins are not found in black mold alone. They can also occur in grain if stored poorly, in coffee, in seeds, nuts and other foods.
Studies show that mycotoxins are more prevalent in developing countries. In the West, they are most likely to occur from black mold.
If your baby is exposed to mycotoxins from mold from ingesting moldy food, inhaling mold spores or skin contact, he/she will display the symptoms already discussed here.
Can mold cause fever?
Exposure to mold can cause fever in grownups as well as children. But first, what is fever? When fungi, bacteria and viruses invade your body, they will thrive when the body maintains its regular temperature.
But the body’s defense mechanism (immune system) raises the body’s core temperature to try and kill these invaders.
When the temperature increases, the body feels hot to the touch. That is how we say you have developed a fever.
So, to the question of: can mold cause fever? The answer is YES. It will. By introducing mycotoxins in the body, the body goes into defensive mode to try to repel these invaders.
Please note that fever is, and should only be temporary. As soon as the bacteria have been killed, the body restores to its regular temperature. If there is prolonged fever, see a doctor.
Mold and speech delay
People with babies ask: Can mold cause speech problems?
And yes, it can. Exposure to black mold can have serious and less serious implications. It can cause neurological issues, where it affects the nerve system.
Black mold exposure in kids can also cause brain impairment, where the baby does not achieve certain milestones in the right time.
Their IQ remains low and their cognitive function does not develop as expected. Babies exposed to black mold can show slurred speech.
So yes, mold exposure can cause delayed speech.
How to test a child for mold exposure
If you are suspecting that your child has been exposed to mold, it is best to take them to the doctor so that they can be tested for the same.
Of course, the results coming back positive will be quite a shocker. But the good thing is that you will know what you are dealing with.
After testing positive, your doctor will prescribe a treatment plan to get rid of humidifier lung and other symptoms. It is paramount you stick with this plan to help your child.
Children who show symptoms of mold exposure will be treated for these signs. The overall goal is to remove all the mold from your home and prevent a recurrence.
Common tests for mold
Not all tests for mold are viable for clinical use, so perhaps you might want to get a second opinion before you get one. For instance, many practitioners might not recommend the urine mycotoxin test.
The test’s reliability is affected by many things, including the medical history of the patient. Also, high humidity makes a good environment for dust mites, and they can cause the same allergy symptoms as mold.
Common tests for mold include pricking the skin, drawing a little blood and sending it to the lab for analysis. If your doctor recommends this, it is okay to do it.
The main problem with urinary mycotoxin tests is that no one knows the level of mycotoxins in the urine is associated with the allergy symptoms discussed here.
He most recommended test for mold is IgE – Immunoglobin E. It is an immunoglobulin test that can show your level of mold sensitivity. It is a popular test for allergy screening in children.
Conclusion: Signs of mold exposure in babies
Black mold exposure in babies can turn fatal quickly if you do not take action. Babies have an undeveloped immune system, so any pathogen can overwhelm them easily.
The takeaway here is … if your home is in a place that experiences high humidity almost throughout the year, check for mold regularly.
If there are symptoms of mold growth in the house, you can take care of it before the mold spores spread to other parts.
Early detection is the key to prevention of mold exposure symptoms in babies, or anyone in the family, including pets.