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Hurricanes and Mold Illness

On August 23, 2018, Hurricane Lane, the largest hurricane on record to affect Hawaii, dropped a record 52 inches of rain on the island of Hawaii and resulted in flash flooding and landslides on the island and Maui.

Many homes were damaged by water. Floodwaters entered buildings and permeated walls, wood floors, carpeting, cabinets, furnishings and other household items. Moisture and warm temperatures create the perfect breeding ground for indoor molds to reproduce and grow.

If a home was water damaged from Hurricane Lane and its aftermath, it’s at risk for developing an indoor mold problem.

  • Water enters the home though flooding or leaks in the roof, walls or windows.
  • Walls, flooring, furnishings and possessions get soaked.
  • Overtime, the water recedes or is cleaned up, but the house and its contents stay wet.
  • Within 48 hours, molds take residence, creating mold spores and mycotoxins.
  • Even after the water has receded, the mold continues to thrive. Once established, if left unchecked, mold colonies bloom whenever moisture is present.

How can molds affect health? Common health problems from mold toxicity include respiratory illnesses including allergies and asthma, skin problems, nausea, headaches, poor concentration, insomnia, exhaustion and depression. The health challenges due to mold toxicity are not always well understood by the medical establishment. Often, mold toxicity goes undiagnosed.

What can be done to remedy a mold problem? Remediation is sometimes beyond the scope of a homeowner and a team of professionals is needed.

  1. Obviously, getting rid of the water is the first order of business. Commercial dehumidifiers can be helpful in removing moisture in water-damaged buildings.
  2. Remove damaged building materials.
  3. Chemically treat areas where the materials can’t be removed until mold is gone (often, this can take weeks).
  4. Throughout the process, premium quality air cleaners are central to mold remediation. The Austin Air HealthMate or HealthMate Plus have over 60 square feet of medical grade HEPA filter media. HEPA is the highest grade of particle filtration available and traps the microscopic mold spores and removes them from the air. Trapping the spores prevents the mold from reproducing. Additionally, Austin Air uses 15 pounds of activated charcoal and zeolite to remove mycotoxins and chemicals from the air. Add a powerful fan and the Austin Air moves 250 cubic feet of air per minute through its filter.

After the cleanup process is completed, the rebuilding process can safely begin.

Attend a free webinar on Indoor Air Quality and Mold on Saturday, October 13 at 11:00 a.m. HST. Register at breathecleanair-hawaii.eventbrite.com

David Frome, physical therapist and acupuncturist is a recognized leader in the field of environmental health. He’s on a mission to help other people improve their lives by improving the quality of their indoor air. For the past 15 years, his company, The Air Cleaner Store, has offered high quality air cleaning solutions including the Austin Air HealthMate Plus.

For more information, call 877-432-1AIR (877-432-1247), email David@TheAirCleanerStore.com or visit TheAirCleanerstore.com



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