Flood Damage >> Basement Flooding Caused Mold

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT FLOODING, MOLDS, AND HEALTH

After a flood, there is the possibility for the growth of mold in houses, apartments, and other buildings. Molds may grow on walls and ceilings, mattresses, furniture, clothing, toys and many other items. In some cases, Basement Flooding Caused Mold molds may affect a person's health.

No two families face the same problem. Your local health department and disaster relief officials can help you to understand the problem and how to take appropriate steps to clean your home, apartment, Basement Flooding Caused Mold or property.

Q. What is mold, and where does it come from?

A. Molds are types of fungi that are found everywhere. There are many different types of molds, Basement Flooding Caused Mold and they can be found even in the cleanest houses. When environmental conditions are dry and cool, molds produce spores which do not actively grow. When there is a lot of moisture or high humidity and temperatures above 65°, the mold spores become active and will start to grow rapidly.

Q. Why is mold a problem after a flood?

A. Floods provide ideal conditions for rapid mold growth. Floodwaters are absorbed by porous surfaces which act like sponges. The soaked objects are an ideal environment for mold growth. Molds and other microorganisms penetrate deeply into these wet materials. Basement Flooding Caused Mold

As they slowly dry out, the moisture that evaporates from them keeps the humidity in a home or apartment very high, providing an ideal environment for molds to grow on walls and other surfaces. To make things worse, Basement Flooding Caused Mold buildings may be closed-up for days or weeks after a flood before anyone can get in to clean them. Closed-up buildings trap moisture inside and provide ideal mold growing conditions.

Q. How do I know I have mold in my home?

A. Molds usually look like small speckled spots scattered over a surface, and they may be black, brown, green, white, pink, orange, Basement Flooding Caused Mold or almost any other color. In time, the number and size of spots increase, and a surface may become completely covered with mold. Molds have a musty or mildew, earth-like smell. Molded surfaces often have a slick or slimy feel to them.

Q. How can I tell whether I have mold or dirt on my walls?

A. Sometimes it can be difficult to tell the difference. Spraying the discoloration with a bleach solution can help. If the discoloration is mold, it will usually disappear or become much fainter. If it is dirt, Basement Flooding Caused Mold the discoloration will usually not be changed by the bleach.

Q. Is mold a health hazard?

A. Some people can live in places with large amounts of molds, and not be bothered by them. If you cough, wheeze, are short of breath, or have difficulty breathing, you may be sensitive to or affected by molds. Other signs that you may be sensitive to molds include watery, itchy, burning, or red eyes; runny or stuffy nose or sinuses; nose or throat irritation; sneezing; and in some cases, hives or welts, Basement Flooding Caused Mold or skin rash. If you have any of these symptoms, you should not stay in a previously flooded building which smells musty, even if there is no visible mold.

Q. How do molds make people sick?

A. Mold spores are invisible and can be inhaled. The smaller inhaled mold spores can irritate the lungs, Basement Flooding Caused Mold and make it harder to breathe. Some people are allergic to molds, and may have an allergic reaction when they inhale mold spores. This may cause infections in the lungs. Some molds make toxins that affect people differently.

Q. Are there people who should particularly avoid mold?

A. Yes – some people are particularly likely to become sick around molds. These include young children, the elderly, pregnant women, Basement Flooding Caused Mold and people with asthma or any sort of chronic lung disease.

People whose immune systems have been suppressed (AIDS, people receiving chemotherapy for cancer) and those who are very allergic should avoid heavy mold infestations. If possible, these people should not live in a moldy building until it has been thoroughly cleaned. They should avoid moldy conditions and should see their family doctor, Basement Flooding Caused Mold if they develop symptoms.

Q. If the mold doesn't seem to be bothering me, is there any risk to my health?

A. Some people over time may become allergic to molds and develop symptoms such as watery, itchy eyes; runny, stuffy nose; sneezing, coughing, or wheezing; Basement Flooding Caused Mold or a rash. There is no way to predict who might develop allergy to molds. In general, it is best to reduce your exposure to molds as much as possible.

Q. I've heard there's one kind of mold that's really dangerous, what is it?

A. A slimy black mold with white edges called Stachybotrys (Stacky-bo-tress). It can produce toxins under very specific circumstances, Basement Flooding Caused Mold and may make people sick. Not much is known about the health effects of Stachybotrys which grows in buildings where people live.

In cases where Stachybotrys may have made people sick, other molds and additional factors were also present that may actually have been responsible for the symptoms. Black is a very common color for molds, Basement Flooding Caused Mold but Stachybotrys is not a very common mold.

It has been suggested that materials need to be very wet for at least a week for Stachybotrys to grow. There have been a few outbreaks of pulmonary hemosiderosis (bleeding from the lungs) in children, Basement Flooding Caused Mold and Stachybotrys was present in extremely high levels in the buildings where these children lived.

Q. What can I do to control molds once I get back into my house or apartment that has been flooded?

A. Get rid of all household items which have been water soaked, such as soft furniture, mattresses, carpeting, and anything else that can absorb water and Basement Flooding Caused Mold cannot be adequately cleaned. This includes furniture made of pressboard (also known as particleboard or chipboard).

Wooden items made of plywood should be discarded. Items that can be thoroughly washed or dry cleaned, can be kept after cleaning. In general, porous items such as paper, cardboard boxes, cloth, wallboard, foam rubber, and Basement Flooding Caused Mold stuffing in furniture and toys can trap mold spores.

Just letting items dry out will not remove the mold, and mold will grow again anytime there is enough moisture in the air, such as on humid days. Hard surface materials such as glass, metal, and plastic, including kitchen utensils can be kept after they are thoroughly washed. Any wooden items used to prepare, serve, Basement Flooding Caused Mold or contain food should be discarded.

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