Hurricane‘s bring wind, rain, storm surges and flooding to millions of people’s homes. But they also leave an unhealthy souvenir you won’t even see for days, even weeks — a whole mess of health risks, including mold hazards from toxic black mold.
This was one of the big problems that occurred after hurricane Katrina —it can be very dangerous for people with mold allergies, especially children or anyone with a compromised immune system. Some people are more sensitive to mold. They may have allergies, asthma or chronic lung diseases. Anyone with a compromised immune system is at risk of lung infections from mold spores. People undergoing chemotherapy, people with HIV or anyone taking drugs that can suppress immune systems need to stay clear.
We recommended either hiring a mold removal professional or cleaning up any spots of mold with an anti-fungus solution yourself. But beware that mold isn’t always visible, it is known to grow between walls. In recent years, there has been some conflicting advice over whether or not homeowners should use chlorine to clean up mold outbreaks. The Environmental Protection Agency recommends using just water and detergent to attack mold but doesn’t rule out the use of bleach or other biocides for larger problems.
To keep mold from moving as fast as Irene, dry out your basement or damp area as soon as possible. Use fans, dehumidifiers and open windows. If you think a serious mold problem is developing, consult our guidelines for mold remediation. You should also consult an expert if people who live in your home have health issues or are immune suppressed. Remove porous materials that cannot be cleaned if they have been wet for over two days. I
If the floodwaters have affected your heating and air conditioning you’ll need help from a qualified mold abatement professional. All surfaces of an HVAC system and all its components that were submerged during a flood are potential reservoirs for dirt, debris, and microorganisms, including bacteria and mold. In addition, moisture can collect in areas of HVAC system components that were not submerged (e.g., air supply ducts above the water line), and this also can lead to the growth of microorganisms. That’s why all components of the HVAC system should be thoroughly inspected, cleaned of dirt and debris, and disinfected by a professional.