Mold growing in Jonesboro homes after flood

Mold growing after May flooding
(Source: KAIT-TV)
(Source: KAIT-TV)

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - The flood waters in May are still causing problems for Region 8 residents.

The water is now gone and their homes are dry, but the the flooding left mold growing behind it.

Jonesboro resident Citia Wells lives on Mays Lane.

She said she's had water in her home before, but the May flooding caused added problems.

"Housing manager did send someone out to come and drain the water," Wells said. "They dried the carpet and changed the padding, but this time mold has started showing up."

Wells said now she is concerned for her son's health.

"It's very frustrating and I have a son," Wells said. "I have a 15-year-old son that's here. And he's had asthma previously. Hasn't had any problems with it in a little over three years. But it flooded really deep over here, like four feet of water. My son's condition has returned. And all the medicines that he was once on three years ago, he's back on today."

Stairan Williams has lived on Mays Lane for two years and lives next door to Wells.

Williams is also concerned for herself and her two children's health.

"I have mold coming all through my baseboards," Williams said. "The mold is also in my bathroom. It's in some closets. I've been cleaning up stuff, cleaning baseboards. This is my son's room and he has mold growing in his closet."

Dr. Shane Speights with the New York Institute of Technology at A-State said not all molds cause medical issues.

"When we're talking about mold remember there are over 100,000 species of mold," Speights said. "Some of them are toxic, or toxigenic, which means that they can cause disease, and some of them don't."

Dr. Speights said you're not going to know what you've got by the color you see.

"You can't tell if mold is toxic by looking at it," Speights said. "For example, the whole black mold. Just because it's black doesn't mean that it's bad mold. So, the color of the mold doesn't really tell you anything."

Dr. Speights said different people will react differently to mold spores.

"Not everybody really has the same response to mold," Speights said. "Individuals that would have a higher response or sensitivity to it would be people that are allergic to it. People that have asthma, people that have COPD or emphysema, people who have an immune system that doesn't work as well as others; those individuals would have a harder time with mold spores and inhaling mold spores into their lungs than just the general population. Not everybody would respond to a mold infestation as opposed to individuals that may already have an underlying disease."

Dr. Speights said there are symptoms you can watch for to recognize mold exposure causing chronic issues.

"Coughing, wheezing, runny nose, congestion, scratchy or irritated eyes are some examples," Speights said. "You could have lung infections. You could actually get pneumonia. Mold and fungus can cause this in certain individuals. And these symptoms won't just go away. We all get the typical cold that you can just brush off in a few days or a week. This would be something that's been going on for weeks or months that you just can't seem to get rid of it. One of the tell, tell signs is if you leave for vacation and all the sudden you feel great and your symptoms clear up. If this happens you might want to think about the environment your returning to and is there something going on there that's causing these symptoms."

Dr. Speights said you should always consult a medical professional about reoccurring symptoms.

"They can then decide if you need to go to a specialist, such as an allergy specialist or pulmonary doctor," Speights said. "When you go see your physician they can help make that decision for you."

Both Wells and Williams have used bleach to try and rid themselves of their problem.

"It's in the walls," Wells said. "It's on the baseboards, like going along where you can see the yellow. I went along and tried to clean it myself. It's growing in the garage as well. I've cleaned what I could, but it keeps reappearing."

"After flooding or after severely damp areas have been infected," Speights said. "Just because you see on the outside of the baseboard or the outside of the wall, that may be the tip of the iceberg. You could have mold actually into the walls, into the studs, even behind the drywall. You're not going to be able to get to that by just cleaning off the surface. You have to actually open up the wall to get in to it. That's an example if the mold is returning after you cleaned it with a ten percent bleach solution and it continues to return."

At that point a professional needs to be called to come in and evaluate the situation.

For step-by-step instructions from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention on how to safely remove mold from your home, click here.

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