Health Team

Tornadoes, storms could leave behind mold

Posted April 29, 2011 5:30 p.m. EDT
Updated June 2, 2015 9:24 a.m. EDT

— People trying to rebuild or repair their homes or businesses following the April 16 storms and tornadoes might face an unexpected health problem – allergies.

The wind and rain might have left behind the specter of mold, in addition to other allergy triggers.

“Within about 48 hours, mold will start forming,” said Mark England, a water restoration contractor with AdvantaClean.

On Friday, England was helping a Holly Springs resident get the moisture and mold out of a home damaged when a tree fell into it, exposing insulation, drywall and carpet to wind and rain.

England used an air mover to dry out the attic and affected room. The device pulls the moisture through a large dehumidifier. It is then drained out into the bathroom sink.

Doctors say the longer repairs like these are delayed, the more at risk a family's health will be.

“People with allergies and asthma who happen to be allergic to mold can develop significant problems with allergy symptoms and asthma symptoms,” Raleigh allergist Dr. Vaishali Mankad said.

Mankad said people might experience a runny nose, sneezing, congestion and itchy, watery eyes. People with asthma might have trouble breathing.

Experts say the most common problem among people cleaning up damage in their yards and businesses is poison ivy, which results in a skin allergy.

Doctors warn that this month's storms also coincided with the peak of allergy season. The storms damaged many trees, and strong winds helped spread pollen from them around, making it worse for allergy sufferers.

If asthma sufferers find their medication isn't controlling their symptoms, they need to see their doctor.