The aftermath of Hurricane Sandy is a troubling one. The superstorm blew a path of destruction through Jamaica and at the time of this writing has affected a grand total of 8 countries, including the United States and Canada. It has caused billions of dollars worth of damage to properties, and homes, and will cost just as much to fix.
In the US, a total of 24 states affected by Hurricane Sandy, and despite of preparations, damage projections currently stand at $50 billion dollars, making it one of the costliest natural disasters in US history. The East Coast suffered the worst, with New York and New Jersey suffering severe damage both economically and physically. Floods brought about by rising rivers were the most common problem throughout the east coast.
Flooding like the kind brought by Sandy is not at all common in this side of the world, so many people may be caught off guard by the problems that come with it. One of the biggest problems that come with a flood comes after the water has receded: mold. The abnormally high levels of moisture and bacteria brought in with the floodwaters combined with the loss of power to environmental control systems helps create the perfect breeding ground for all kinds of mold, both benign and life threatening.
Making this problem worse is the fact that the flood water gets into places that normally don’t see any moisture or sunlight, like basements, between the walls, in cabinets, and in some places, the attic as well. This makes clean up a lot trickier, since these places are not always easy to reach, and may require renovation in order to fix. Mold can be cleaned off of most hard surfaces with warm water and detergent, but since some materials like wood and carpet, are porous they can’t be cleaned no matter how much water or detergent you use, and are better off discarded.
Mold is linked to a number of respiratory ailments, can exacerbate asthma, and those with allergies to mold are at risk of severe reactions, up to and including death. The best way to control mold growth is to control the amount of moisture present in the environment, which may be difficult if you have no electricity. Increase ventilation within your home by opening windows and using exhaust fans, and make use of dehumidifiers to control indoor humidity. Additionally, ensure surfaces are as dry as possible at all times, and take steps to prevent condensation on cold surfaces.
By following these steps you can reduce the chances of mold growth within your home, ensuring a safe, comfortable environment for you and your family.