Mold May be Especially Dangerous for Children, Pregnant Women and Elderly

November 7, 2005

Children, pregnant women and the elderly have immune systems that are more vulnerable. That makes them at a higher risk for serious health problems from mold exposure.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) urges residents who return to damaged homes after hurricanes to be careful about keeping children, pregnant women and the elderly away from mold caused by flooding. Some important things you can do to protect vulnerable populations from mold:

* Don’t stay in homes and apartments with heavy water damage. They are extremely difficult to clean and will require extensive repair or complete remodeling.
* Wipe or wash hands frequently. Children put their hands in their mouths frequently, so keeping their hands clean will help protect them from many of the contaminants left behind by the flood waters.
* Make a “clean zone” to play, eat and sleep. Stay in that zone as much as possible.

Typical symptoms reported from mold exposure include respiratory problems (like wheezing and asthma attacks), burning or watery eyes, nose or throat irritations, skin irritations like rashes or hives, and nervous system disorders like headaches, memory loss and mood changes. Seek medical attention if you experience any of these symptoms.

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