Floods are a common concern, especially for countries prone to it, such as Australia. It can be damaging to property and can even result in loss of life.
Even after the water recedes, the aftereffects remain mostly in the form of damages caused to buildings, home furnishings and personal items. Besides, moulds affect health, especially for those suffering from allergies, asthma or a weak immune system.
However, exposure to high levels of moulds is also harmful to healthy people. Some common symptoms of mould exposure are:
- Shortness of breath
- Flu-like pains and aches
- Sore throat
The health conditions could be severe if your house was flooded with sewage water! It can cause bacterial infections, skin problems or diseases, and gastrointestinal infections.
The good news is you can prevent the growth of these moulds after the floods. Here are some tips for you.
There are many objects in your house that are highly prone to accumulating and spreading moulds in your home. Look around your house for those items and clean them right away.
Clear your home of all junks and remove the objects that might contain trapped moulds. Try to discard, disinfect or thoroughly clean items/areas that were totally submerged underwater.
The cleaning process must begin within 24-48 hours after the water recedes. Make sure to wear protective gear or equipment to protect your eyes, mouth, nose, skin, etc. The best idea would be to hire professionals to clean surfaces and prevent causing harm to yourself.
Disinfection of surfaces
Thoroughly disinfect the areas or items that cannot be discarded. Clean and remove all the moulds right away with soap and water.
If normal soap-water mixtures failed to remove the mould, you can use a solution of 1 cup of bleach with 1 gallon of water. Never mix ammonia or cleaning solutions containing ammonia with this solution. It will create toxic vapours.
Get rid of foul odours
Floods leave musty and bad odours, which might affect your health. Use disinfecting sprays, wipes, and other such items to get rid of all unpleasant smells in your house.
Let the moisture escape
Open all your doors and windows immediately after the floodwater declines. Turn on dehumidifiers and fans when the electricity is safe to use. This will boost air circulation in the enclosed areas and help all trapped moisture escape – the major factor that causes mould growths.
Things to save vs things to discard
After being affected by floodwaters, consider discarding certain things to prevent mould growth if they smell or look mouldy. These include:
- Carpets/Rugs/Carpet padding
- Books and papers
- Upholstered furniture
- Food items, especially canned foods, if they came in contact with floodwater.
Items you can save after proper cleaning and disinfection, include:
- Hard and non-porous items, such as dishes, glass, and other utensils, jewellery, metal, etc.
- Valuable documents, books and photographs containing small amounts of mould
- Electronic appliances and devices, depending on the mould level
- Wooden furniture, if it’s in good condition
- Clothing, textiles, and artwork that has no such physical damage.
We know it’s a challenging situation for you. But an action taken at the right time will save you from dangerous situations later. Contact experts if you find it difficult to remove foul odours and mould yourself.