After the Storm: Mold FAQs

When hurricanes hit, home and business owners are often left to deal with standing water or waterlogged building materials. If not cleaned up quickly or properly, the remaining moisture can cause mold to grow. To help those impacted better understand mold growth and prevent its spread, CTEH is answering some of the most frequently asked questions:

How does mold get into homes or businesses?
Mold occurs both indoors and outdoors. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “there is always some mold everywhere—in the air and on many surfaces.” However, it often takes hold in warm, damp or humid conditions. It can enter buildings through openings (e.g., doors, windows, HVAC units), leaks, products or individuals’ persons or clothing.

Can mold affect our health?
Common symptoms of mold exposure include nasal stuffiness; eye or skin irritation; wheezing; coughing; and other upper respiratory tract symptoms. Individuals with allergies, asthma or weakened immune systems may be more sensitive to mold than others and may exhibit severe symptoms such as fever, shortness of breath or infections. If individuals believe they’ve been exposed to mold, they should contact their health care providers.

How can we control mold growth?
The best way to prevent mold growth is to reduce moisture. Individuals should first control humidity levels by using air conditioning units or dehumidifiers. (NOTE: Humidity levels should be no higher than 50%.) They should also use proper ventilation (e.g., exhaust fans); regularly clean moisture-prone areas such as bathrooms and kitchens with mold-killing products; and remove or replace potentially contaminated carpets or upholstery. If mold is already present in the home or business, individuals should immediately clean the impacted area and fix the leak or water issue to prevent future growth.

Impacted by a hurricane? Check out Inside CTEH for Hurricane Cleanup Tips. For additional information about mold removal or remediation, contact CTEH at 501-801-8500 or webquestions@cteh.com.

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