After a natural disaster with flooding, people with asthma and allergies need to take extra precautions as they begin cleanup efforts. Long after waters have receded, flood waters can leave behind chemicals, bacteria, viruses and mold. These can create long-term health issues if you have asthma and allergies.
Mold is one of the biggest concerns after a flood. Mold, a fungus, can grow in any damp environment. It is different from plants or animals in how it reproduces and grows. The “seeds,” called spores, travel through the air. Mold spores get into your nose and cause allergy symptoms. They also can reach your lungs and trigger asthma.
If your home has been flooded or has water damage, mold may start growing in places you don’t expect. It does not go away as the water dries. Mold may grow inside furniture or under carpet that got wet, making it hard to find. If not replaced, it can make you and your family very sick. Items that have gotten wet from a flood have to be thoroughly cleaned and dried or discarded.
Use these tips to prevent long-term symptoms from mold:
- Wear a mask to protect yourself when you return to your home.
- Consider hiring a professional to do the cleanup.
- Throw out furniture and other items that cannot be cleaned immediately.
- Create ventilation in your home by opening windows and using a Certified asthma & allergy friendly air cleaner.
- If possible, find another place to stay until the mold has been cleaned up.
There are many health concerns to think about when cleaning up mold after a flood. Read the Homeowner’s and Renter’s Guide to Mold Cleanup After Disasters from the Environmental Protection Agency for more tips and precautions.