Flood waters and the dirt they carry may pose special problems for the thousands of people with existing lung disease. ?Standing water remaining from any flood is a breeding ground for micro-organisms, which can become airborne and be inhaled, putting people at risk for lung disease. ?Even when the flooding is due to a fairly clean source, such as rain water, the growth of these micro-organisms can cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals.
- The greatest health risk for the general public may come from water-borne bacteria; however, the dirt and mold left behind after the water recedes is of special concern to those with pre-existing lung disease.
- Damp houses and furnishings promote mold growth, which can aggravate asthma and allergies. ?After a flood, dust residue and sediment can be inhaled during clean-up efforts, which also add to lung disease complications.
- The physical stress of dealing with the flood may also put a strain on people who are already ill or elderly, providing an opportunity for respiratory infections and other sicknesses to arise.
- Drying everything in a home after a flood is imperative. ?Excess moisture in the h ome poses an indoor air quality concern for the following reasons:
- Areas with this high level humidity and moist materials provide an ideal environment for the growth of micro-organisms, which could result in additional health hazards such as allergic reactions.
- Coming into contact with air or water that contains these micro-organisms can make a person sick.
- Long-term high levels of humidity can foster growth of dust mites, which are a major trigger of allergic reactrions and asthma.
- Although the drying process can take a long time, homeowners should be patient because it is necessary to keep a home's air quality healthy. ?Some household items may take longer than others to dry, such as upholstered furniture and carpets. ?To avoid growth of micro-organisms, however, household items should be dried completely before they are brough back in the house.
- For more information about flood cleanup and lung health, including the following materials, contact the American Lung Association at 1-800-LUNG-USA:
- Air Pollution in Your Home? ??(Order #1001C)
- Health Effects & Sources and Indoor Air Pollution ??(Order #0857C)
- Home Indoor Air Quality Checklist ??(Order #0679C)
When You Can't Breathe, Nothing Else Matters ?
The mission of the American Lung Association of Los Angeles County
is to prevent and eliminate lung disease
and to improve the quality of life and health of those with lung disease.
Your contributions to Christmas Seals? and Chanukah Seals? help make the difference.
For more information on lung health, programs, and special events,
call ? ? (or ? ; ? ; ?1-800-LUNG-USA), ? or send us email.
? 1999 American Lung Association of Los Angeles County