LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Much of the flood water may have receded but some doctors say one health concern is just now presenting itself.

“People that have an area that's flooded,” said allergist Dr. Stephen Pollard with Family Allergy and Asthma, “be it a basement or it could be a car or it could even get into their living space, that can drive up the inside mold count to a great degree.”

The United States Environmental Protection Agency says mold from flooding can lead to major health issues.

“Even when the flooding is due to a fairly clean source, such as rain water,” says Shirish Phulgaonkar with Allergen Control Inc., “the growth of these microorganisms can cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals.”

Doctors recommend the best practice is to immediately throw away any water damaged items, including furniture. They also recommended tearing up carpet that has been water damaged as well.

“Sinus problems triggering asthma, bronchitis,” said Dr. Pollard, “Those type of things if there is a lot of mold exposure.”

A study by the EPA recommends the following steps to prevent wide spread mold growing in your home.

  1. Stop the water intrusions first.
  2. Identify and protect vulnerable populations, which include children, the elderly and anyone with chronic diseases or a suppressed immune system.
  3. Identify the extent of the contamination. Be sure to trace the pathways of the water to find where damage has spread.
  4. Plan and carry out the clean-up.

Some say, that's the easy part. It's when the moisture gets into the walls of a home that it can become a difficult fix.

“If it's in a living space,” said Dr. Pollard, “Where you have a wall then essentially the mold can wick the inside of a wall and you'll have to have professionals come in and remediate that.”

Allergists say that toxic mold is not usually a problem. It's the people who are already allergic mold who would it have the greatest impact on.

“Usually it's not a toxic response,” said Dr. Pollard, “The mold doesn't give out toxins that is going to get everybody sick, the problem is those people who are allergic to mold.”


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