The Lake County General Health District warns that victims of flooding and water backup should clean and thoroughly dry any areas of homes that have gotten wet from floodwaters. Dehumidifiers and fans should be used to help remove excess moisture.
Mold is found indoors and outdoors everywhere. Steps should be taken quickly to prevent mold growth. Mold may cause allergic reactions, be an asthma trigger, or cause other respiratory problems in at-risk individuals. Mold may grow quickly on wet surfaces such as wood, ceiling tiles, cardboard, wallpaper, carpet, drywall, fabric, and insulation.
FEMA guidelines recommend throwing away porous materials that can support mold growth. Wet items such as paper, furniture, mattresses, rugs, insulation, ceiling tiles, and carpeting must be discarded. Wallboard should be cut one foot above the water line and thrown away. Porous paneling should be removed and discarded, while some may be able to be removed and thoroughly dried before being reinstalled. Allow areas to dry for several days before replacing damaged materials.
Bedding and clothing may be thoroughly washed with hot water and dried. Non-porous items such as, metal, glass, plastic may be washed then disinfected with a solution of 1 cup of bleach and 1 gallon of lukewarm water. Never mix an ammonia product with bleach because it releases toxic fumes.
If mold is already present, evaluate the material to determine if it needs to be removed, or if it can be cleaned and disinfected.