Most parents will do whatever they can to keep their children safe. One thing that is often overlooked is the danger that damp can cause.
Damp and mould are usually just seen as a cosmetic problem. It doesn’t look nice and it can result in an unpleasant smell. People will also worry about the long-term damage that damp can cause to Their property.
All these concerns are understandable. But it is still surprising that health concerns are not more prominent in people’s minds when it comes to damp. Especially those that have babies and young children.
So, does damp effect babies more than adults? Yes, due to their young age babies are at high risk from damp and mould in the home. This can lead to a wide range of unpleasant symptoms. It can also cause serious long-term health conditions, such as asthma. In this article, we will explain the risks and dangers. We will also give advice about how to protect your baby from these harmful effects.
Damp and mould in the home can have serious implications for anyone’s health. The biggest high-risk groups are the elderly, children, and babies. Anybody with an existing skin or respiratory condition is also at risk. Those with a weakened immune system are too. But it’s those high-risk groups – including babies – that need to be the most careful.
Any parent would want to know what the dangers are for babies living in damp conditions. All parents will also want to know what steps to take if you have a baby in the house, and you discover damp. Read on to find out more.
How is damp hazardous to the health of babies?
The biggest worry about damp in the home for babies is the long-term effect it can have. Recent studies show that babies are at far greater risk of developing asthma if exposed to damp in the home. Other studies have shown that damp can lead to a 50% greater chance of developing asthma later in life. Studies also show that there is a greater risk of asthma for those living in poorer homes. Few people need reminding of how serious asthma can be. It’s worth noting that around 200 people a day need hospital treatment because of asthma attacks. Three people a day die because of the condition.
Babies are more likely to develop asthma in adolescence, if exposed to damp. A study of 15,000 people across Europe found that continued exposure is even more dangerous. The risk of developing asthma increases by 24%.
Other health problems caused by damp
Asthma is the most serious condition that babies are at risk of developing because of damp. It’s also important to understand that it’s by no means the only health problem that it can cause. Babies and small children often develop allergies, as a reaction to damp and mould. The hazardous toxins cause a variety of symptoms. These include coughing and sneezing, as well as itchy and runny eyes. Another concern is a severe condition such as hypersensitivity pneumonitis. Tiredness, fever and muscle aches are typical symptoms.
Prolonged exposure to damp at a very young age can have even more serious consequences. Damp reduces lung function. It can also trigger mental health conditions.
Why are damp and mould so dangerous to babies?
So, why is it that damp and mould are particularly dangerous for babies? Mould produces spores. These are invisible particles that float around in the air. Inhaling spores is dangerous and when a baby breathes, the spores enter the lungs. It can cause allergies or aggravate existing conditions. Problems such as headaches, shortness of breathing, and wheezing can occur.
If you notice mould in the home or a musty smell, you should act. The health risk to your baby is a serious one. Be aware that the type of mould you have is not the issue. The length of exposure to it is what causes the damage. No matter what type of mould, it needs removing and the cause of the moisture problem needs addressing.
The dangers of damp in bedrooms for babies
Few people appreciate how dangerous humidity in the home can be for a baby or small child. Conscientious parents will do all they can to protect a child. For example, parents sterilise feeding bottles and buy anti-allergy clothing. But damp and mould are a silent danger that is often overlooked.
Bear in mind, that a baby’s sleeping environment is very important. A bedroom with fogged up windows or tiny black spots on the walls might not appear to be dangerous. But it can cause the onset of various health problems.
Bedrooms are prone to mould, as condensation build-up is more likely. Furthermore, bedrooms are often kept warm at night. A baby breathing creates extra moisture too. Mould in the bedroom can present a real risk because it exposes a baby to mould spores while they sleep.
Common causes of damp & mould
Damp occurs when there is an excess of moisture in a property. This can come from a variety of different sources. Firstly, moisture can make its way into your home from the outside. This type of damp is known as penetrating damp, or in some cases rising damp. If this is the issue, you will need to find and repair the defect that is allowing damp into the property. Once this is fixed a decent damp proofing paint can be applied internally for added protection. You can read more about internal damp proofing paints here.
Moisture can also form within a building. This is usually simple to treat. It is caused by poor ventilation and excess moisture in the building. If condensation is the main issue, you may be able to solve it by adding better ventilation or using a good dehumidifier. You can see an affordable dehumidifier with good reviews here on Amazon.
Humid or damp conditions are the perfect conditions for mould to develop. Mould is a type of fungus. It is not pleasant on the eye, but it is when black mould begins to produce spores that the real problems begin. Spores enable mould to grow. They are allergens that can cause various reactions. Both inhaling and touching the spores can be dangerous. So, removing them and preventing them from returning is essential.
Key points to remember
It’s vital that anybody with a baby in the home understands how damp can affect babies and small children. It’s also essential that parents realise that a wide range of health issues occur because of damp. Some very unpleasant symptoms often develop, even if the most serious conditions do not.
Exposure to spores is harmful to people of any age, but babies are a high-risk group. Remember, if you have a baby in the home and you notice damp or mould, it needs dealing with as soon as possible. The longer it lies untreated the more dangerous it can become.