Photo courtesy Captain Ronnie Gann, Chief of Special Operations, Clay County Sheriff's Office.
In the wake of Tropical Storm Debby, many homes across Northeast Florida experienced flooding.
Here are some tips from the American Red Cross of Northeast Florida to protect against health risks associated with mold.
• Remove standing water from your home or office.
• Remove wet materials. If the moldy material is not easily cleanable, such as drywall, carpet padding and insulation, then removal and replacement may be necessary.
• Consider using personal protective equipment when cleaning or removing mold - cleaning gloves, safety goggles and an N-95 half-face particle-filtering respirator (found at most local hardware stores).
• Check with a healthcare provider before wearing a respirator. Do not use a respirator if you have heart disease or chronic lung disease such as asthma or emphysema.
• Individuals with known mold allergies or asthma should not clean or remove moldy materials. If you have concerns regarding your health before starting the cleanup, consult your healthcare provider.
If mold growth has already occurred, carefully remove or clean the moldy material in a well-ventilated area. If the moldy area is less than about 10 square feet (less than roughly a 3 ft. by 3 ft. patch), in most cases, individuals may clean up the mold using a detergent/soapy water or a commercial mildew or mold cleaner. The cleaned area should then be thoroughly dried.
• Throw away any sponges or rags used to clean mold. If the mold returns quickly or spreads, it may mean the building materials are still wet enough to support mold growth. Additional drying of these materials may be needed. After working in a mold affected area, shower and launder work clothes separate from the other laundry. Keep shoes and work clothes away from the unaffected living area.
• NEVER mix cleaners (such as a cleaner with ammonia) and disinfectants (such as bleach), as chemical reactions between these ingredients are likely to result in the release of hazardous gases (such as chlorine). Read and follow label instructions of cleaners and disinfectants carefully. Open windows and doors to provide plenty of fresh air.
For more information about indoor air quality and mold growth, contact your local county health department, the Florida Department of Health's Indoor Air Program at 800-543-8279 or visit the Department of Health Web site at http://www.doh.state.fl.us and select
First Coast News