WICHITA, Kan. -- Mold and the negative health consequences from the bacteria have become commonplace across much of Kansas as a result of the severe storms, flooding and tornadoes that began in early May.
Care should be taken to clean and dry the areas of the home where moisture tends to accumulate, such as basements and areas that have been subjected to standing water. This advice applies to travel trailers and mobile homes as well as permanent dwellings. Site-constructed houses are particularly vulnerable if they sustained floodwaters.
Dampness in walls, carpets, insulation and wood provides an environment for mold to flourish. These materials generally should be discarded if they become saturated. Mold also can ruin paper and fabric.
"Occupants should take special precautions to thoroughly inspect their homes as soon as water recedes and during the weeks that follow as their homes dry out," said Michael L. Karl, federal coordinating officer in charge of Kansas disaster recovery operations. "Taking steps to eradicate mold when it is first spotted will go a long way toward maintaining a healthy environment following these disasters."
When a large amount of mold is left to grow, it can trigger allergic reactions, asthma episodes, infections and other respiratory problems. In addition, exposure can cause development of an allergy to mold, resulting in long-term health problems.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends everyone avoid unnecessary exposure. It also warns some people to avoid mold completely such as children under 12, transplant recipients, cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy and people with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
Tackle the job of cleaning severe instances of mold by wearing gloves, a face mask and protective goggles.
Information about eradicating mold and other health issues spawned from flooding is available online at www.fema.gov.
FEMA coordinates the federal government's role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.