Preventing and eliminating mold growth always requires a proactive approach – and after the historic rainfall and flooding in the St. Louis and St. Charles areas, many homeowners are contending with severe water damage after the floodwaters have receded. There’s always the risk of exposure to the dangers of mold after a flood because of the porous home materials that easily promote growth, but there are accurate ways to test for mold so you can quickly eliminate it.
Health Concerns Caused by Mold
Mold and exposure to mold spores can cause a variety of issues, ranging from mild to severe. Some people only experience a runny nose and dry eyes or skin, while others endure chronic respiratory illness, lethargy, and a range of conditions related to an overtaxed immune system. Prolonged mold exposure has even been suspected of contributing to memory problems and, in infants, pulmonary hemorrhage. Even when symptoms are mild, untreated mold will likely lead to much more debilitating conditions over time – and almost five million people in America have now developed mold-related asthma, so it’s no question that mold exposure can cause an extreme health risk.
Black mold is particularly toxic, and it can grow and spread quite quickly. Signs of black mold include:
- A musty, earthy smell
- Slightly furry appearance
- Large black stains
- Water stains (especially long-term)
How Quickly Does Mold Grow?
Under the right conditions, mold can begin growing in as little as a day. Mold proliferates under darker, warmer, and more humid conditions, and the different types of mold all have unique life cycles. After a flood, mold colonies become visible in about 18 to 21 days – but only if the area is allowed to remain damp, necessitating quick action to reduce the conditions mold thrives in.
Preventing Mold Growth After Flood Damage
Though it can be difficult, it’s possible to proactively prevent or at least minimize mold growth after flood damage. Cooling the property is extremely important to reduce humidity, and using a dehumidifier is also advisable. If visible mold colonies are not particularly large, apply direct airflow to dry the area as much as possible.
Cleaning Up Mold
If there is already an existing mold problem, it’s important to mitigate it as soon as possible. Remove all porous, movable items, such as fabrics, furniture items, and even ceiling tiles, and have them thoroughly cleaned and dried. You can apply bleach to the mold itself, but it is unlikely to penetrate deeply into the surface on its own – for that, you may need specialized solvents, such as Concrobium Mold Control. When using bleach, it’s important to wear protective equipment, especially gloves and eye protection, and ensure the area has proper ventilation.
Don’t Risk Your Health After a Flood – Get Professional Mold Testing
If you find or suspect mold, be sure to test the area before risking its spread. Though it may not cause particularly damaging health effects at first, it can easily lead to more severe health issues – not to mention property damage – if left untreated.
While flood damage can be extremely stressful, it’s important to take stock and evaluate the things you can proactively control in order to mitigate the damage. Part of that is to reduce the humidity and darkness as much as possible, dry the area thoroughly, and have your property tested immediately if you notice any signs of mold growth.
St. John Environmental Consulting has been providing exceptional mold-testing services for homes and businesses in the greater St. Louis area for over 20 years. If you have any questions or would like to schedule an air sampling or mold inspection, don’t hesitate to contact us.