A new study published in Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology revealed that water damage in homes may have more severe effects than damaged property and expensive home repairs. Moisture caused by water-damaged walls and other home structures may actually lead to more severe eczema in children.
Eczema is a skin condition that causes itchy and irritated skin, predominantly in children. Mold growth that results from excess moisture in homes has been known to cause respiratory issues and worsen asthma in children, but so far there has not been a link between water damage and skin conditions.
The study, conducted by a team of Korean doctors, examined 52 Korean homes, all housing children with eczema. The team noted any visible signs of water damage, including mold, in the living room and children’s bedrooms of each home, as well as readings from an infrared camera. They also took air samples from the rooms in each house.
Dr. Kagmo Ahn of the Samsung Medical Center in Seoul explained that infrared cameras can detect water damage that is not visible to the eye. Infrared cameras not only detect unseen water damage, but also differences in surface temperature, which is why they decided to take samples with these devices as well.
Researchers declared a house water damaged if it contained more than two square feet of damage. Of the 52 houses examined, 31 were declared water damaged.
The results of the study showed that water damaged homes had greater levels of airborne mold, but that visible signs of mold or water damage did not affect the concentrations of airborne mold. Researchers found no link between houses with visible signs of water damage and more severe eczema, but they did find a correlation in homes where only the infrared cameras were able to detect water damage. Judging by the results of the study, the team believes that children living in homes where infrared cameras detected water damage are more likely to have moderate to severe eczema.
Authors of the study cautioned that this was only a small sample size, and that more studies need to be conducted to be sure if there is a link between water damage in homes and the severity of eczema or not.
While the connection between mold and eczema requires further analysis, mold can still cause a number of other health problems. It is important for homeowners to keep an eye out for signs of water damage and fix leaks at the first sign of trouble.
“It should not be a surprise to anyone that moisture that can cause mold and mildew could have other adverse affects on your health. As more health issues arise, homeowners will take the proper maintenance of their foundation more seriously. This is much like asbestos problem that came to light in the 80’s and 90’s that we still deal with to this day,” says Andrew Feskiv, Owner, Aqua Tech Waterproofing.