AFTER THE STORM – Mold Contamination 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. Avoid contaminated buildings and contaminated water as much as you can.
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: www.cdc.gov/healthywater/emergency/flood/standing.html.
You can protect yourself and your family from mold exposure by following these steps.
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. Check for loose power lines or gas leaks. Make sure the electricity and gas are turned off. Look for sagging ceilings or floors or other structural problems. Watch out for wet, muddy, or slippery floors.
- 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, wear a half-face or full-face respirator. Basic information on using it is in OSHA’s general respiratory protection guidance.
- 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. Safety glasses or goggles that have open vent holes will not protect you against 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.