Are you a homeowner recovering from recent flooding? A new threat may be looming.
Wet walls, damp carpet and other porous materials can serve as breeding grounds for mold, putting many at increased risk for asthma attacks, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI).
Exposure to mold spores can trigger asthma in sensitive people, resulting in wheezing, coughing and shortness of breath. Exposure to high levels of outdoor mold is frequently linked to increased asthma symptoms and severity, leading to increased emergency care visits. But indoor molds also pose a hazard.
"Indoor molds are less commonly associated with coughing and wheezing in susceptible individuals, but present a potential health concern, especially in water damaged homes where molds are prominent," said AAAAI Executive Vice President Thomas B. Casale, MD, FAAAAI.
Though mold problems may not show up immediately, it is essential that people with asthma take steps now to make sure their homes are safe and mold-free.
Areas that were exposed to floodwaters need to be thoroughly dried and sanitized to prevent mold growth. People with asthma are encouraged to hire a cleaning crew to do the work and, if possible, stay in a hotel until the work is complete.
Furnishings and building materials that cannot be adequately dried and sanitized including drywall, flooring and upholstered furniture should be discarded.
In addition to the respiratory distress of asthma, mold triggers allergy symptoms in many people. The symptoms include sneezing, nasal congestion, runny nose and itchy, watery eyes.
The AAAAI recommends the following steps to help prevent adverse reactions to mold: