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Asthma rates higher in children exposed to mold during infancy

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
Asthma and mold exposure during infancy linked.

Exposure to mold in the home during infancy raises the risk of asthma by age 7. Researchers from University of Cincinnati say keeping infants in "mold free" environment at home is crucial to respiratory health during childhood. In an analysis, the researchers found mold exposure during infancy plays a significant role in whether a child will develop asthma.

The finding published in the "Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology", is the result of an analysis from the Cincinnati Childhood Allergy and Air Pollution Study (CCAAPS).

In their investigation, the researchers looked at mold exposure during infancy in 700 children from the Cincinnati area, using a DNA-based analysis tool.

The data was used to measure the risk of asthma from mold exposure during infancy over a period of 7 years.

The tool used includes 36 different types of molds and was designed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

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The finding showed 18 percent of children enrolled in the study developed asthma by age 7.

Tina Reponen, PhD, lead study author and University of Cincinnati (UC) professor of environmental health said, "Genetic factors are also important to consider in asthma risk, since infants whose parents have an allergy or asthma are at the greatest risk of developing asthma."

Symptoms of asthma include wheezing that may be audible with exhalation, cough, especially at night, frequent colds and labored, rapid breathing.

The researchers say understanding the impact of mold exposure during infancy on childhood respiratory health is important for expectant parents. Getting rid of water leaks and other potential sources of mold and mildew should be a focus, especially for parents with a history of allergy and asthma.

Annals of Asthma, Allergy & Immunology: doi:10.1016/j.anai.2011.04.018
"High environmental relative moldiness index during infancy as a predictor of asthma at 7 years of age"
Tiina Reponen, Ph.D et al.; August, 2011

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons