County warns against mold growth following storm
After the hail storm and flooding on Saturday, the Graham County Health Department encourages the public to be aware of and take precautions against mold growth.
Mold is always a potential problem after flooding. After a couple of days of moisture, spores can grow on walls, ceilings, carpeting, and belongings, causing health problems for susceptible individuals. Those at greatest risk from mold exposure include infants and children, the elderly, people with asthma, and those with allergies or breathing conditions.
Symptoms of mold exposure include stuffy nose, irritated eyes, wheezing, difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, and skin reactions. If you or your family members have health problems after exposure to mold, contact your health care provider.
If your home or business has been exposed to excess moisture or standing water for an extended period of time, there is a strong possibility that mold spores are present. The first clue to mold growth may be discolored walls or ceilings, or a musty odor.
If mold is present, it should be cleaned up quickly and safely. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Arizona Department of Health Services recommends hard surfaces be cleaned with a non-ammonia soap or detergent, then disinfected with a bleach and water solution (no more than 1 cup of bleach per 1 gallon of water). Take the proper safety precautions when cleaning: wear a respirator, rubber gloves and boots, and goggles to minimize contact with mold spores and disinfectant fumes.
Porous materials, such as drywall, carpeting, and unsealed wood, may need to be removed and replaced. Cloth items, unless they can be washed in hot water, should also be removed from the home.
The Health Department will make additional mold information available on the Graham County website at graham.az.gov.