Between Hurricane Sandy and a powerful “nor’easter” storm, the Northeast United States has had a rough couple of weeks. Some much needed sun is in the forecast for this weekend, but unfortunately, water damage doesn’t leave with the clouds.
In fact, water damage can do more than just ruin your favorite items; it can actually make the air in your home unhealthy. Failing to remove contaminated materials and reduce moisture in your home can present serious long-term health risks. It’s a breeding ground for viruses, bacteria, and mold.
When household items are wet for more than a day or two, they usually get moldy, collect germs, and become a hot-bed for bugs. So what you can you do? Here are a few tips to make sure your home is dry and safe to enter after flooding:
- Throw away any items that can’t be cleaned.
- Go inside as soon as it’s safe and move dry items outside (if possible), so they don’t get contaminated.
- Remove any standing water—this is breeding ground for microorganisms which can become airborne and be inhaled.
- Clean up! Thoroughly wash and disinfect any items affected. This includes hard surfaces, walls, floors, closets, and home contents. As always, read the labels on any household cleaners.
When you’re ready to start cleaning, the EPA suggests you wear the following:
- A N-95 respirator
- These masks cover your mouth and nose, and are available in hardware stores.
- A handkerchief or cloth won’t work since mold can travel through them.
- Goggles (without air holes)
- Long pants, long-sleeved shirt, and boots
You may want to consider using an item like the Dri-Eaz Flood King Flood Pumper to remove heavy amounts of standing water inside your home. If the damage is too great to handle on your own, then hire a professional that can guarantee your space is clear of any issues.
No one said cleaning up after a flood or storm is fun (or pretty), but it can help save you from serious health issues down the road. Have you ever had to deal with a flood? Any other suggestions we don’t mention here? Let us know if the comments below!
For more information on how water damage influences your health, check out our Water Damage and Your Health article.