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War declared on mold growth in wet homes in Lincoln

Lincoln officials are asking residents of the city who have water damaged homes and flooded basements to try and stop mold from growing.

The Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department issued the warning after heavy rainfall drenched Lincoln.

“Molds are known to be allergens for some individuals and can exacerbate conditions such as asthma in others,” Kathy King, a department representative said.

In order to prevent the spread of mold growth, existing mold needs to be thoroughly cleaned up and moisture needs to be eliminated; if those two things aren’t done, mold will growth will return and contamination will spread, King said.

“The big issue is just to get things dry as quickly as possible because it’s a lot easier to prevent the mold growth than to clean it up afterword,” she said.

King said that Lincoln residents need to find the cause of moisture in their homes, such as flooding, ineffective sump pumps, and burst pipes, and fix those issues as soon as they possibly can.

Residents should also dry up any moisture and remove standing water from floors and carpets with a wet vacuum, use fans and dehumidifiers, and get rid of water-damaged materials, such as carpet padding and sheetrock. They should also clean any existing mold growth that they find. King also said that HVAC equipment that has been submerged in floodwaters has to be inspected by a professional before it can be used.

Some parts of Lincoln were hit with up to 9 inches of rain. According to Phil Rooney, a representative of the Douglas County Health Department, there haven’t been as many mold issues in Omaha as there have been in Lincoln.

Mold is a naturally occurring substance. When it grows outdoors, it usually isn’t problematic, but when it grows indoors, it can pose serious issues. Not only can it cause structural damage, but it can also cause health problems. Symptoms of mold exposure include itchy skin, watery eyes, skin irritation, congestion, runny nose, coughing, and wheezing. In severe cases, mold exposure can cause respiratory infections, organ damage, memory loss, and mood changes.

Mold thrives in moist, warm conditions. If those conditions are present indoors, mold spores will colonize and spread. In order to prevent mold growth, any moisture or water needs to be dried up immediately. Water damaged materials must also be dried. Sheetrock, carpeting, carpet padding, and other building materials that have been damaged by mold should be removed. Mold growth on hard surfaces, such as wood, plastic, and metal, should be cleaned. When cleaning mold, make sure to properly protect yourself. Wear a respirator mask, goggles, gloves, long sleeves, and pants, to avoid coming into contact with mold spores. If existing mold growth is severe, having a professional address the issue is recommended.

Mold Inspection & Testing Omaha has performed countless mold assessments in the Omaha and the surrounding areas, including Lincoln. We urge homeowners in Lincoln to have their homes tested for mold growth so that they can take the necessary measures to properly remediate. To speak with an MI&T representative, call 402.819.4984.

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