How To Treat Mold Brought On By Flooding

Jasper (Local Sources) – As the clean-up from the floods continue, the Dubois County Health Department has received requests for additional information on mold and the proper way to remove it.

DID YOU HAVE WATER DAMAGE TO YOUR HOME?

Was your home flooded? If so, and you were not able to dry your home (including furniture and other items) within 24-48 hours, you should assume you have mold growth. You need to completely dry everything and if that is not possible, it must be discarded.

You may see or smell mold on clothing, drywall, furniture, cardboard boxes, or books, but it may also be hidden under or behind items like carpet, cushions, or walls.

MOLD BASICS: HOW MOLDS CAN AFFECT YOUR HEALTH

Exposure to mold can lead to asthma attacks, eye and skin irritation, and allergic reactions. It can lead to severe infections in people with weakened immune systems.

Flood water may have carried sewage or chemicals into your home. This could expose you or your family to viruses, bacteria, disease carriers (such as mosquitos), and parasites, as well as mold. To learn more about cleaning and disinfection go to: http://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/emergency/ flood/standing.html

You can protect yourself and your family from mold exposure by following these steps.

KEY MESSAGES

  • Wear personal protective equipment. Wear an N-95 respirator at a minimum, goggles, and protective gloves.
  • Use portable generators carefully, outside and away from the home, to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning and fires.
  • Ensure the mold cleanup is complete to prevent future problems.

BEFORE YOU ENTER ANY MOLDY SITE:

Protect yourself and loved ones against hazards. People with breathing problems like asthma or who have weakened immune systems should stay away from moldy sites. Children should not take part in disaster cleanup work. Look for sagging ceilings or floors, staining and other structural problems.

Protect your mouth and nose against breathing in mold: wear at least an N-95 respirator, if you plan to spend a lot of time removing moldy belongings or doing work like ripping out moldy drywall.

Protect your skin. Wear protective gloves (non-latex, vinyl, nitrile, or rubber). Do not touch mold or moldy items with bare hands.

Protect your eyes. Wear goggles that provide complete eye protection. Choose goggles designed to keep out dust and small particles.

 

AFTER YOU LEAVE A MOLD SITE:

Protect yourself and loved ones. Shower and change your clothes. This will help you avoid carrying mold and other hazards back to your current living quarters.

 

SHOULD I DO THIS MYSELF?

This job may be too difficult or dangerous for you. It may be best to get help from experienced and qualified professionals if you can.

Sampling for mold is not usually recommended. Understanding the results can be difficult, and no matter what kind of mold is in your home, you need to clean it up and fix the moisture problem.

 

IF I MUST DO THIS MYSELF, HOW CAN I DO IT SAFELY?

Follow these steps:

  1. Put on the personal protective equipment described above to protect your eyes, nose, mouth, and skin.
  2. Remove standing water and wet materials. Use a wet vacuum to remove water from floors, carpets, and hard surfaces. Dry your home and everything in it as quickly as you can – within 24 to 48 hours if you can.
  3. Open all doors and windows when you are working and leave as many open as is safe when you leave.
  4. When electricity is safe to use, use fans and dehumidifiers to remove moisture. Do not use fans if mold has already started to grow, because the fans may spread the mold.Open inside doors, especially closets and interior rooms, to let air flow to all areas. Take doors off their hinges if you need to.
  5. Spray with a liquid dish soap solution. Scrub with a stiff brush and rinse with clean water. Remove all the mold you can see. Dry right away.
  6. If you use cleaning products, do not mix cleaning products together. DO NOT mix bleach and ammonia because it can create toxic vapors.  USE 1 CUP OF BLEACH TO 2 GALLON OF WATER.
  7. Painting or caulking over mold will not prevent mold from growing. Fix the water problem completely and clean up all the mold before you paint or caulk.
  8. Throw away items that can’t be cleaned and dried. Throw away anything that was wet with flood water and can’t be cleaned and dried completely within 24 to 48 hours.

AM I DONE?

  • If you still see or smell mold, you have more work to do. After a remediation, there should be no signs of water damage or mold growth.
  • You may need to ask a mold remediation professional to know whether your mold problem is completely fixed. As noted in the “Should I do this myself?” section, sampling for mold is not usually recommended; instead, a careful inspection of the work area for completion of the cleanup and absence of mold-related odors is usually appropriate.
  • If you have health problems that get worse when you return home, like asthma or allergy attacks or skin or eye irritation, you may still have some mold.

The American Red Cross has provided the Health Department with a limited number of flood clean-up kits for distribution. The kits include a mop, broom, bleach, soap, bucket, N-95 masks, gloves and other items. They are available at the Health Department from 8-4, Monday through Friday, while supplies last. For more information, contact Jason Bradshaw with the Red Cross at 812-306-7285.

Contact the Dubois County Health Department if you need specific guidance or further information at 812-481-7055.

Speak Your Mind

*