Mold was found in 30 classrooms in September, and parents have been worried the problem has contributed to sicknesses at the Takoma Park school of nearly 900 children.
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Isiah Leggett County Executive
Uma S. Ahluwalia Director September 26, 2013
Dear Parent: As you know, Montgomery County Public Schools is engaged in a remediation effort to address the mold issues that have been identified at Rolling Terrace Elementary School (RTES). As the Public Health Officer, I wanted to provide you with information about the possible health effects and symptoms associated with mold exposure. Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services (MCDHHS) recommends that you contact your health care provider to determine the proper action to take if you feel that your child is ill or may become ill from exposure to mold. Health problems to look for include: o o o
Allergic reactions Flare ups of asthma Other respiratory complaints
Allergy symptoms like those from exposure to pollen or animal dander are the most common health problem related to mold. These symptoms may include sneezing, irritation of the nose, mouth, or throat; nasal stuffiness and runny nose; dry, scaly skin; or red, itchy, or watery eyes. These same symptoms may also be caused by pollen typically released in the fall. Asthma is a disease where the airways tighten and swell, making breathing difficult. Children with asthma may experience shortness of breath, wheezing, or coughing. An asthma attack can be triggered by many things, including exposure to pets, pollen, or dust; exposure to cigarette or other smoke; or running and playing. Exposure to mold may trigger an asthma attack in children with known allergies or asthma. Respiratory symptoms may occur if the child's lungs have been irritated by mold exposure. Symptoms may include progressive shortness of breath, cough or fever. Contact your primary health care provider if your child is exhibiting any of the health problems described above. However, if your child is experiencing symptoms during the school day, they should report to the health room and follow up should occur with their primary health care provider. RTES School Based Health Center and health room staff can answer any questions you may have or assist you in accessing health care if you do not have a primary health care provider. Please contact your school nurse at 301-431-7603. Sincerely,
Ulder J. Tillman, MD, MPH Health Officer and Chief UJT:ss