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Flooding might have left an unpleasant surprise in your home

Posted at 4:30 AM, Mar 13, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-13 09:57:54-04

Even if your home or workplace appears to have totally dried out following the flooding that finished up February, mold could still be growing where you don't tend to look. 

Even Antonio Young, director of environmental health at the Cincinnati Health Department, isn't immune. The health department's office lost thousands of documents and dollars to three feet of water from Mill Creek, and crews are working to remove parts of the wall to check for mold.

"There was carpeting, but it's the first thing that was removed," he said. "After the first three days, it's pretty much done because it might have mold substance in it."

If you see any fungal growths in your own home, you can try to clean them up with household supplies, according to health department sanitarian Philip Murdock.

"If it's a porous surface, you may use soap and water to start removing the mold," he said. "If it's a dry wall surface … you want to remove the section of the dry wall."

And that will often require the help of a contractor, he said. 

Murdock added there isn't any one "look" for mold -- it can come in many colors and shapes, and it can carry a wide variety of consequences for your health if you don't clean it up promptly.

"That's not necessarily saying you're going to get sick, but there's the potential there," he said. "(It's a) trigger for allergies, trigger for asthma; it can cause headaches, dizziness, difficulty breathing, skin irritation."

Certain types can cause much more serious, longterm health defects if not cleaned up. 

Crews will continue working on the Cincinnati Health Department headquarters until it is once again safe for employees. When it comes to your own home, be smart -- and don't dismiss anything that rubs you the wrong way.