As a part of our ongoing commitment to keeping your home, office, and family safe from environmental hazards, we want to share with you this true experience of a mother struggling to find the cause of chronic illness in her family.
“As a parent of two young beautiful children, there is little I wouldn’t do to keep my family happy and healthy so I was horrified to discover that the house we had rented was causing my family to be ill. My husband and I both seem to be fighting a constant nasal drip or mild cold almost continually except when our symptoms compounded into sinus infections or even asthma. Even worse though was what my children experienced while we are in this home.
My children were sick constantly over the year we lived in this rental and have even had pneumonia and bronchitis. My son who is 5 years old has had the worst experience. He would have a cold, and then he would seem to get better and then his symptoms returned. The worst episode was when he suffers from flu like symptom for two weeks. His congestion and breathing became so labored I took him twice to the emergency room. He ran a fever on and off during the whole two weeks. They tested my son for the flu and tests came back negative. His symptoms had escalated to a diagnosis of bronchitis which was coupled with pneumonia. I feared that he might stop breathing in his sleep. I slept by his bed to watch is chest rise and fall to make sure he was breathing for nights on end. After two rounds of antibiotic the symptoms decreased. My 3 year old daughter has had several colds and asthma episode during this time as well. There is nothing as scary as having two very ill children at one time.
Finally we had a short break in illness after a week vacation. Many of the symptoms started to return upon or arrival home. Upon a follow up visit to the pediatrician, he noticed a pattern of illnesses for the children and suspected something was causing all these ailments that may be environmental. He suggested that we investigate any potential sources which could be causing the families’ respiratory issues and illnesses. So we tested almost everything and examined allergy sources like our dog to sources of mold, mildew or dust.
I called a local company that came to inspect our home and clean our HVAC duct work. When the service man inspected the air ducts he found mold growing in them. He then began looking for a source of the moisture that allows the mold to grow. After investigation of the attic, roof, windows, doors, and plumbing, leaks in the roof and around a window frame were allowing the water to run into the attic, down the wall and into an air vent. The rotten wood, insulation and drywall had mold in them. We were informed that the amount of mold was hazardous to our health….Do you think? I figured that out pretty easy.
Since one of the areas contaminated was some of the duct work the mold spores were been released into the air and circulated through the home. We were required to move out of the house so that the landlord could oversee containment, removal and replacement of the affected areas.
I researched mold after some of the health concerns were brought to my attention. I learned that because of the humidity of our region, it a small wonder how every home in the Lowcountry doesn’t have mold or mildew. I found that black mold can be the cause of many illnesses especially allergies and respiratory issues. Black mold lives and grows in damp, humid, and often dark places. Leaks and drips of water in not very visible places can be the cause but once it starts it can release even odorless and colorless, airborne spores that cause respiratory problems and can even lead to death in some cases. Some doctors believe that mold and fungus can cause up to 65% of all illnesses.
This was such a long and scary experience. Our lives were in danger and we didn’t even know it for so long. I wish had known to ask more questions or even different questions along the way and maybe we could have shortened the time it took to discover the cause of all of our family allergy and illness issues. I have learned that just because a home look sound and safe it is not always what it seems. In future, I plan to have anywhere I live tested for environmental hazards regularly. I can not risk my family’s health and safety.”
The above story was written by Sherry Neil based on an interview with a family in the area that wish to remain anonymous.