Infants exposed to mold have higher asthma risk

Consumer Reports News: August 03, 2011 03:53 PM

Infants exposed to mold in the home have twice the risk of developing childhood asthma, according to a new study in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

Part of the "Cincinnati Childhood Allergy and Air Pollution Study," the results suggest a link between mold exposure during infancy and the development of chronic inflammation of the lungs, leading to wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and coughing.

The research pool included 176 children who were followed from birth. By age 7, 18 percent of children were asthmatc. And children who lived in a home rated as having a high level of mold during the first year of life, were 2.6 times more likely to have asthma as those who lived in homes with a low level of mold.

A family history of asthma and an allergic reaction to dust mites were also associated with a higher risk of asthma. It seemed that having an in-home air conditioner also helped to reduce the development of childhood asthma.

Symptoms of childhood asthma can range from a nagging cough to episodes of shortness of breath and wheezing that require emergency treatment.

See our advice on preventing and treating asthma, and controlling mold, as well as our updated Ratings of dehumidifiers.

High environmental relative moldiness index during infancy as a predictor of asthma at 7 years of age [Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology]

Maggie Shader

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