Understanding The Health Risks Associated With Water Damage

Water damage is a severe problem that can occur in any home or building, and a lack of quick and effective action after water intrusion can cause a domino effect of problems. While homeowners will likely quickly think of structural damage and the financial stress of repair, their other significant and considerable risk is often overlooked—the health issues that can arise from water damage. Understanding these health risks is necessary to keep occupants and the living environment safe.

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Mold Growth and Respiratory Issues

The most notable health risk caused by water damage is mold. Mold feeds on moisture and usually begins to grow within 24 to 48 hours of water exposure. It multiplies by spreading the spores through the air. When the spores are inhaled into the lungs, they may cause respiratory problems like coughing, sneezing, throat irritation, or mild respiratory infections. These problems can affect individuals with lung conditions, including asthma, pneumonia, and tuberculosis. Chronic respiratory illness can worsen and become complicated in the long run.

Bacterial and Viral Contamination

When water damage has occurred in a home, mainly if caused by a flooding event or sewage backup, it is vulnerable to exposure to dangerous bacteria and viruses from polluted water that can lead to severe infections or sickness. Standing water is ripe for contamination by pathogens such as E coli, Salmonella, and Hepatitis A. Swallowing contaminated water can lead to infections and illness, particularly in people with weakened immune systems or suppressed immune systems, such as newborns, the elderly, and those suffering from chronic conditions. Contact with the water or contaminated surfaces can also lead to skin infections. Ensuring that water damage cleanup is thorough and includes proper disinfection is vital to prevent these health hazards.

Allergens and Toxins

In addition to mold and pathogens, water damage can bring a host of other allergens and toxins into the home. For example, mold can attract dust mites, which thrive on moisture and trigger their allergies. Air quality can worsen when water infiltrates buildings, carrying a pandemic of new chemicals to the surface. Some building and house furnishing materials, such as insulation, paint, or flooring, can release harmful substances, such as formaldehyde, into the air when wet. These toxins can cause health problems, from eye, nose, and throat irritation to headaches, dizziness, and worse reactions in more sensitive people.

Mental Health Impacts

Though physical health risks tend to be more pronounced, the psychological effects of water damage are also significant. The stress and trauma associated with facing water damage and restoration, impacts on daily life and daily activities, fear and concern regarding health risks, recurrence risks, and financial strain can all affect one’s mental health. Homeowners must consider these mental health impacts and seek support from family, friends, or professional counselors to manage and mitigate the risks related to water damage.

Understanding the health risks associated with water damage is essential for homeowners to safeguard their physical and mental health. The risks are significant from respiratory issues caused by mold to infections from bacterial contamination. Addressing water damage promptly and thoroughly, using a professional restoration company, and taking steps to prevent future incidents can help mitigate these risks. Call us today at Restoration 1 of East Alabama and let our team of professionals protect your and your family’s health while restoring your home to a safe, healthy living environment.