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If you’ve never survived a catastrophic flood, you likely don’t know that after the flood waters recede, the long-term danger continues. Our NP Joyce Gibb (MS, CRNP) has put together some excellent notes about dealing with what gets left behind.

Health Dangers Following the Storms/Flooding/Water Damaged Buildings

  1. There is bacteria in the flood waters. E. Coli (fecal matter) is commonly found in the water. It can cause diarrhea, cysts/boils, urinary tract infections, dehydration and death.
  2. Potential for mold growth in water damaged buildings. Mold can cause chronic conditions for years. Mold secretes mycotoxins and can make us very ill.
  3. Symptoms of mold from WDB (water damaged buildings) include fatigue and weakness, poor concentration and memory recall, chronic headaches, light sensitivity, vertigo, red eyes, blurred vision, mood swings abdominal pain, anxiety, sinus congestion and many more.
  4. 25% of Americans carry the HLA-DR gene which makes them extremely sensitive to mold exposures. This gene does not allow the person to detoxify well.
  5. CLEANING PRODUCTS are only useful if you’re cleaning off EXISTING mold. They won’t prevent the mold from coming back and are temporary. Always do this as a first step. ENCAPSULANTS ARE MORE PERMANENT SOLUTIONS FOR KEEPING MOLD OUT OF YOUR HOME. They can be toxic (pesticides, mildewcides, biocides) or less toxic (concrobium). Many fungicides are more harmful than the mold itself. You should only use these if trained with personal protective equipment. There are natural agents such as Citrisafe products that can be used without harm to your body to clean up a mold problem.
  6. Basic Mold Cleaning: Clean everything thoroughly off with a cleaner first and followed by a thorough cleaning with an encapsulant.
    1. Drywall must be removed AT LEAST 2′ above the high-water line. Not only is it unsalvagable, but you must remove any insulation as well as clean the studs in the wall.
    2. The best cleaners include: Borax, It’s effective, less toxic and CHEAP, one cup of BORAX per gallon water. Benefect, EPA registered sanitizer, effective against most bacteria, including sewage.
    3. Bleach IS NOT effective against mold on porous surfaces such as wood and drywall.
    4. The best ENCAPSULANTS: Caliwel- This is an EPA registered biocide and biostat meaning it kills mold and protects surfaces from mold; Concrobium- kills mold and prevents it from returning, contains acids and should be used carefully.
  7. Check for mold periodically over the next few years. Use products like mold plates as well as checking air quality. Mold hides well and can show up long after you think the danger has passed.

In the years to come, when moving into a new building, get verification that the building was never flooded or that it was professionally cleaned. Don’t let someone else’s bad choices now become a threat to your family’s health down the road.

Floods are a nightmare to live through. Unfortunately, the nightmare doesn’t end when the water’s recede. Please take care of yourselves. Don’t take shortcuts in the restoration process. Your family’s health isn’t worth the risk. If you’re not 100% certain on proper procedures, get professional help. This isn’t something to take chances with!

If you’ve been exposed to the floods/flood waters and would like to talk with someone about supplementation for detoxification, set a time to talk with Joyce! Just call 888-865-9595.