In early February, a local NBC affiliate reported that Izaiah, the baby paralyzed by a drunken teen driver, contracted life-threatening pneumonia for the second time in one month. San Diego residents have been following the story of baby Izaiah since the 18-month old child was struck by a drunk 17-year-old driver in October 2010. The accident occurred while the child’s grandfather was pushing Izaiah in a stroller on a sidewalk in Oceanside, California. Unfortunately, deadly mold growth in the family’s home has impaired the toddler’s progress and caused critical complications.

Since the accident that left the toddler paralyzed, Izaiah required a tracheotomy to open his windpipe and help his breathing. Izaiah must use a ventilator, feeding tube and colostomy bag. In addition to being paralyzed from the neck down, Izaiah was partially blinded and suffered brain damage. The toddler’s doctors and parents believe that his chronic respiratory problems are linked to the air inside the family’s home. In September 2011, the family evacuated the house in order to have a mold remediation company complete water damage restoration. San Diego non-profit groups that sponsor much of Izaiah’s medical care said the latest bout of pneumonia brought on by mold exposure forced the family to admit him into the hospital once again.

The family has linked the mold growth to a small leak near the bathtub. Doctors explained that mold spores and the mycotoxins they release are extremely dangerous for people like Izaiah who have immune difficulty. Mold growth is exceptionally hazardous to infants, the elderly and anyone who has a compromised immune system. Once sensitized to mold toxins, the effects are severe. Microscopic mold spores and mycotoxins can trigger or exacerbate asthma attacks, allergies and breathing difficulties related to COPD and respiratory conditions.

Bathrooms and gypsum boards are prone to mold growth that may require water damage restoration. San Diego mold experts explained that small leaks aren’t the only thing that cause mold. Lack of dehumidification equipment also creates conditions that encourage fungal growth. Something as simple as window condensation can result in the proliferation of mold colonies. Household mold is caused by toxic fungi that trigger chronic and potentially fatal health problems.

Experts advise that molds are one of the most hazardous substances for people who have immune difficulties or breathing problems. Izaiah’s uncle, Richard Wallis, said he wanted to get everyone out of the house quickly because the mold was so bad. If left untreated for more than 48 hours, water and flood damage can cause mold. Toxic mold often results in hospitalization or death, so it’s crucial to treat these problems as soon as they are discovered.

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