CLINTON, Miss. -- If you were impacted by the May flooding that struck parts of Alcorn, Benton, Lafayette, Tippah and Tishomingo counties, more than water may have invaded your home.
Chances are high that hazardous mold also found its way inside.
Mold flourishes in moist environments, often appearing as a fuzzy growth or discoloration of surfaces. It may be accompanied by a musty, earthy odor or a foul stench.
The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency and Federal Emergency Management Agency urge residents not to spend time in houses with mold. Nasal stuffiness, throat irritation, coughing or wheezing may occur, along with possible eye and skin irritation. In addition, immune-compromised people and those with chronic respiratory illnesses can get serious lung infections when exposed to mold.
To be safe, people should discard all moldy drywall, ceiling tiles, insulation and carpeting. Porous items like books, clothing, bedding and upholstered furniture also should be permanently removed if they smell of mold or are visibly growing mold.
When in doubt, throw it out, officials advise.
Here are some other tips to protect your health and that of your family:
- Once there is a mold problem, all areas of the house should be checked, cleaned and dried, including air ducts and crawl spaces.
- To prevent further mold growth, keep excess moisture out of the house by sealing leaks in roofs, walls or pipes.
- To clean mold from hard surfaces, use commercial products, soap and water or a bleach solution of no more than one cup of bleach per one gallon of water. Use a stiff brush on rough surfaces such as concrete.
- Always open windows and doors to ventilate the house while working with bleach, and wear non-porous gloves and protective eyewear during the cleaning process.
- Never mix bleach with ammonia or other household cleaners.
For more information, visit the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s web page on mold: www.epa.gov/mold/moldguide.html. You may also go to a Centers for Disease Control site at www.cdc.gov/mold/cleanup.htm.
For more information, contact the State Emergency Joint Information Center at 866-920-MEMA (6362), or visit us online at www.msema.org. You can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook using the keyword MSEMA.