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Flooding Can Cause Mold Growth in Homes

The East Shore District Health Department has a few guidelines for the most effective way to deal with mold.

           If you are one of the many people who suffered water damage in the storm last week, you may have set up the perfect environment to have mold problems in your home. The East Shore District Health Department has a few guidelines for the most effective way to deal with mold.

          Molds are microscopic organisms that are found virtually everywhere, both indoors and outdoors.  Mold needs water to grow. The most common adverse health effects caused by exposure to mold are…

  • Allergic responses from breathing airborne mold, making hay fever or asthma symptoms worsen
  • Irritation of the eyes, nose, throat or lungs.

Serious infections from molds are relatively rare and unlikely to occur in people who are generally in good health; however, mold infections are a concern for people with severely suppressed immune systems.

          In clean-up from flooding, first and foremost it is very important to dry out wet buildings as soon as possible. This includes removing standing water and porous materials that have remained wet for 48 hours or more.

The Health Department recommends the following steps to reduce the potential risk:

  • Remove standing water and all porous wet materials such as carpeting, saturated wallboard (sheetrock) and upholstered furniture from the home.
  • Ventilate the home to dissipate moisture by opening windows and using fans, if available. Dehumidifiers are useful in enclosed areas or when windows need to be closed because of rain or high humidity.
  • Clean mold from small areas on hard surfaces, such as wood or concrete, by scrubbing the area with a cleaning rag wetted with diluted detergent. After cleaning with detergent, the area may be sanitized with a weak bleach solution (one part bleach + 9 parts water).  Rubber gloves and a N-95 mask can be used to minimize direct exposure to mold, contaminants and cleaning products. N-95 masks can be purchased in most hardware stores. (A regular dust mask will not stop mold spores.)
  • Check routinely for new mold growth or signs of moisture that may indicate the need for cleanup, home repair, or removal of affected materials. A mold problem can usually be seen or smelled.
  • Keep children and individuals with known mold allergies or asthma away from both cleaning products and areas where mold is present.
  • Hire an experienced professional for a large mold problem, or if you are highly sensitive to mold. Insist that they perform all mold remediation in accordance with Connecticut Guidelines for Mold Abatement Contractors.

This and other resources may be found on the DPH website at http://www.ct.gov/dph/mold.

For more information about mold and cleaning up after a flood, visit the DPH website http://www.ct.gov/dph and click on Hurricane Sandy: Important Health Information

or call DPH at 860-509-7742.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

samely November 07, 2012 at 07:03 PM
if it seems like it only causes irritations, especially/more importantly to those with weakened immuned systems, and simple allergic responses - why the big deal? why bother with abatement or professionals? mold is everywhere. just like lead dust. no big deal, right?
SolarPete November 10, 2012 at 12:04 PM
Wrong! Mold is dangerous even to healty folks old folks and your children. If u have sheet rock on your walls you need to remove the water borne areas safe to cut up 4"from the floor all the way around the home toss in th trash if it was underwater. If your house was in water up to the second floor u will have to remove all the sheetrock. Anything with paper, wood will mold if left in the walls it will slowly kill you. Black mold is the worst, so do the right thing U can remove it early on yourself, or if you wait fr it to grow you will have to get it done by abatement which is very costly Dry ice blown out through a machine removes the mold cheaper and faster than rying to clean a big area which brings the cost down They then paint the affected areas with a special paint to enclose it.
Bill Keane November 10, 2012 at 03:19 PM
As said, Black mold is very serious, and it can also grow behind drywall, not just in plain view.

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