How Healthy is Your Home?
by Alison Rhodes
As moms, it can feel as if we deal with endless cycles of coughs and runny noses.
But what if the cause of all these colds is not our child's friend at school or
the germ-laden grocery cart they touched? Perhaps what's making them sick is their
very own home. Two major culprits are mold and lead.
Where Does Mold Grow?
Mold can be found in any area of your home where moisture levels are elevated:
- Ceilings and wall interiors where water from leaky pipes or roof leakage can accumulate
What Are The Symptoms?
Infants and children are most susceptible to allergens from mold exposure and their
symptoms can be confused for a cold:
- Nasal and sinus congestion
- Wheeze/breathing difficulties
- Sore throat
You can help lower mold levels by reducing the humidity in your home, using mold-reducing
products and keeping items in your home as dry as possible. Be on the lookout for
the more obvious signs of possible growth, such as musty smells or watermarks on
walls and ceilings. Once mold is detected it needs to be removed immediately and
the source of the moisture be identified and eliminated.
Get The Lead Out!
Lead is highly toxic and especially dangerous for children under 7, whose major
organs have not fully developed. If your home was constructed prior to 1978, there
is a high likelihood that lead-based paint was used. And, until Congress passed
the Safe Drinking Water Act in 1988, lead solder was used extensively in residential
Lead paint in your home is a hazard even if it isn't peeling, chipping or cracking
when it's on high-use, high-friction surfaces including:
- Windows and window sills
- Doors and door frames
- Stairs, railings and banisters
- Porches and fences
What are The Symptoms?
Even low levels of lead exposure can cause permanent neurological damage in children
- Nervous system and kidney damage
- Learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder and decreased intelligence
- Speech, language abnd behavior problems
- Poor muscle coordination
- Hearing damage
Immediate symptoms can also, like mold exposure, appear like cold and flu symptoms
- tiredness, irritability, loss of appetite, difficulty sleeping and constipation.
If you suspect your child has been exposed to lead you should contact your pediatrician