The National Asthma Council Australia has called on those in regions that have been flooded to be aware of mould and to take steps to reduce its spread.
As those affected by recent flooding will know, the problems caused by flooding do not go away with the flood waters. Water damage and the incursion of earth and rubbish are visible signs of the impact of flooding.
Less visible effects include mould, which loves moist conditions and may grow where it cannot be seen.
Mould spores can be a trigger for asthma and allergies and the same moist and humid conditions that encourage mould can also be ideal for house dust mites, the cause of the most significant allergic trigger in Australia.
National Asthma Council Australia’s Adam Trumble said mould can grow inside or outside and people whose asthma or allergies have worsened since the flooding should take their medication as prescribed, consult their asthma management plan and, if necessary, see their doctor.
“Inside mould can be removed with a number of cleaning products (or bleach), while a dehumidifier or refrigeration-type air-conditioner will reduce humidity in the home. Where humidity is below 60%, mould is unlikely to grow.
“An evaporative air-conditioner should not be used as it will most likely increase humidity,” he said.
“Just improving air circulation can help too.”
To reduce exposure to mould in the outdoors, the National Asthma Council Australia recommends keeping car ventilation on recirculate for journeys of less than 20 minutes and staying inside on windy days (particularly if there are subsequent thunderstorms). This should be done until disturbed soil has stabilised.
Cars that have been submerged above floor level may well be written off, but in many cases, some moisture may have just entered through the vents, which may have become partially blocked with leaves. A musty smell in a car coming from the air vents indicates mould in the ventilation system.
This can be effectively cleaned.
National Asthma Council Australia Sensitive Choice® partner Simdikoff & Sons has donated 240 cans of DWD2, normally retailing for $97, to people with asthma or allergies in the flood affected areas.
Installation costs may apply.
Available on a first-come first-served basis, people interested should complete the web form at www.sensitivechoice.com.au/register.
DWD2 is an aerosol product that cleans the evaporative core and car air ducts, removing allergens and improving the operation of air-conditioning systems.
For first use in a vehicle, a simple injector device should be professionally installed. Subsequent applications can be done by most people.
Car pollen filters should also be changed annually (or in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions) to ensure their effectiveness.
For further information, please contact:
National Asthma Council Australia
03 9929 4333