The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, Bureau
for Public Heath is encouraging residents in areas impacted by flooding to be
aware of the effects of exposure to mold during the clean up process.
“After flooding, water can cause the growth of mold in homes and
buildings,” said Dr. Rahul Gupta, State Health Officer and Commissioner of the
Bureau for Public Health. “When entering
a home that has been flooded, be aware that mold may be present and can pose a
health risk for you and your family. If you have a chronic lung condition like
asthma or a weakened immune system, you could develop mold infections in your
lungs, and you should try to avoid buildings contaminated with mold.”
Signs of indoor mold growth include staining on surfaces, a musty
odor, dark spots on or around vents, water stains and peeling or curling of
vinyl floors or wallpaper.
Common reactions to mold are cough, congestion, runny nose,
burning eyes, headaches, sneezing and sore throat. Children, pregnant women,
older people and people with weakened immune systems may be more sensitive to
mold than others.
“If you plan to be inside the building for a while or you plan to
clean up mold, you should take appropriate preventive measures to protect your
health while in the building,” said Gupta. “If you or your family members
have health problems after exposure to mold, contact your doctor or other
health care provider.”
Residents should be aware that due to the contaminated flood
waters, professional help may be needed to rid the home of mold. Professional help is also needed if the
home's heating/venting/air conditioning system has been flooded, to remove any
debris or mold growing inside of it.
More information on cleaning up safely after a disaster is
available at https://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/cleanup/facts.asp.