Children and pets are perhaps the most vulnerable to black mold exposure. It is inevitable that in homes where children are present, pets may also be living there. Black mold exposure can have some very detrimental effects on young children’s cognitive abilities, while the effects on pets are more acute and serious, with dangers ranging from respiratory damage to death.
Black mold is a type of fungus that can be found in buildings. It is primarily found on the underside of some types of wood. Black mold growths are mainly found in areas with high relative humidity and other areas, such as refrigerators and dryer vents. The black mold spores are commonly made up of a protein called chitin. This protein is what makes the mold stand out on a white surface. Effects of black mold on children and pets include:
Effects of black mold on children
Children are more likely to be affected by black mold. This is because children make up a lot of the people in the household. Children are also more likely to touch objects that might contain black mold. This can lead to them coming into contact with it, even if there aren’t any obvious signs of black mold growth on their hands or clothes. This can then lead to the child inhaling black mold particles while playing or going about doing everyday activities.
Children tend to be the ones that eat the most in a family, so if black mold spores are present in their food and drink, they will likely become exposed to it. If their parents or other adults in the household have been exposed to black mold, this will increase their child’s chance of coming into contact with it. The effects are:
1. Cognitive Impairment
Black mold exposure can lead to cognitive impairment due to damage to the brain’s immune system, which helps regulate how the body responds and reacts to other foreign substances. This leads to various symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, and other problems. Some of the effects can be long term too.
2. Respiratory Damage
Some physical symptoms associated with black mold exposure for children include asthma-like responses where coughing fits are triggered, which cause difficulty breathing or chest pains from an inability to breathe enough air. Children who have suffered from respiratory issues due to black mold will find these symptoms persist after being removed from the environment to which they were exposed.
3. Pulmonary Edema
This is a potentially lethal condition where the lungs fill with fluid and may lead to respiratory arrest, heart failure, and death from suffocation. It has been reported that pulmonary edema is especially fatal in children under two. Family members must follow any environmental advice regarding black mold removal services because it can affect their pets too.
Effects of black mold on pets
Routine exposure to pets increases children’s chance of being exposed as well. It was reported that the most exposed pets were dogs and cats. Several symptoms can occur from exposure. These include:
1. Allergic Reactions
Pets can suffer from allergic reactions such as swelling of the face and eyes or even anaphylactic shock, which can be fatal. Pets have a sensitivity to mold that is much more acute than that of humans, so in certain situations, their allergic reactions may be much more severe than those in humans.
2. Dermatological Issues
Pets may suffer from skin irritations such as lesions or rashes due to scab formation, which occurs in the body’s response to mold exposure. These are highly visible; therefore, it can be a sign that there is a bigger issue with mold growth somewhere in the house, which should be addressed.
3. Gastrointestinal Issues
Pets can also suffer from gastrointestinal issues, which may include vomiting, nausea, and anorexia because of their decreased appetite. Suppression of appetite is not solely due to mold but can be caused by other factors associated with it, such as dust, perfume, and other airborne substances in the home.
Pets can also suffer from infections because of their exposure to mold growths. The spores can cause allergic reactions, which cause inflammation in the body’s tissues.
The highest risk associated with black mold exposure comes with prolonged exposure in situations where the pet has frequent contact with it over a long time and in areas with a high level of growth.
If black mold is found, the building in which it was found should be inspected by a professional mold removal service to assess the level of exposure. Black mold is difficult to detect with the naked eye, so a trained professional must inspect using the right equipment to locate it before any remedial action can be taken.