Could fungus and mold in my home be harming my 4-month-old's health?
You are not overreacting. You need to get the house, including the walls, completely free of the mildew and mold in order for it to be safe for the kids and the adults. The growth of these organisms can trigger allergies and asthma in susceptible people and prompt recurrent respiratory ailments.
Some molds can also produce toxins that can cause a variety of health concerns. This may have been the cause of death of 10 infant
s in Cleveland in 1993 and 1994 (see http://www.cdc.gov/epo/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm4909a3.htm
for a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's publication MMWR
). Although nothing has been proved beyond a doubt, mold toxins have been implicated as a possible cause of these cases of lung hemorrhage. Even this suggested association has prompted us all to be more aware of the concerns surrounding molds.
Many non-fatal reactions may take a toll on kids living in contaminated places. Don't be too hard on your pediatrician; we are all just beginning to become aware of these environmental issues, as they weren't studied as a usual part of medical education in the past except in the most general way. And this is a specialized issue.
For an unbiased evaluation of your home situation, call your local health department and ask for the environmental health division. Your insurance company may also have a specialized evaluation team. For more information on cleaning your home, consult the CDC Web site
or contact the Red Cross or the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for a booklet called "Repairing Your Flooded Home."
I can't be sure that the health issues in your kids are directly related to the flood damage, but they could be. I do think you need a more comprehensive look at the damage repair plan and a more aggressive cleanup strategy.