Even though hurricane season is coming to a close, the people affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma are still actively cleaning up and rebuilding.
If you are in the affected areas and have asthma and allergies, be extra careful during this time. There are many things to consider as you remove debris, clean up flood damage and make repairs.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers tips on managing your asthma before, during and after a hurricane or tropical storm. This site has several resources on how to:
- Avoid asthma triggers
- Clean up mold
- Cope with strong emotions to avoid triggering asthma
- Asthma medicine use
- Getting medicines through emergency prescription assistance
Here are some additional precautions from to consider during the recovery process:
- Mold grows quickly after flooding. As you remove flood damage, wear a mask with a particulate respirator. Look for NIOSH and N95 or P100 printed on the mask. It should have two straps and should cover your nose and chin. Take other precautions to protect yourself from mold. It can seriously affect your health if it makes its way into your lungs and nose.
- Wear a mask as you clean up debris. Many neighborhoods are still lined with debris from downed trees and damaged homes. These piles can start to grow mold as you wait for your county or city to pick them up. If you decide to remove the debris yourself, take precautions.
- Protect the indoor air quality of your home as your recover. CERTIFIED asthma & allergy friendly® products can help you reduce triggers and allergens as you rebuild.
- A dehumidifier can help dry out areas affected by water damage and lower humidity levels in your home to reduce dust mite
- Air cleaners and filters can improve your indoor air quality by cleaning allergens in the air.
- Once your cleanup and rebuilding is complete, consider professional cleaning services to clean your floors of allergens that may have collected.
- As you rebuild, remember that new furniture and building materials can release chemicals in the air, called offgassing. These are called volatile organic compounds (VOCs). VOCs can trigger asthma symptoms. Reduce the effects of VOCs by airing out new furniture in your garage, if possible, before you bring it in your home. Choose building materials that are CERTIFIED asthma & allergy friendly® and with low VOCs.
Many allergens and asthma triggers can stick around long after a hurricane has passed. Keep these tips in mind in the coming months as you rebuild.