Catastrophic floods hit many parts of the East coast of Queensland and NSW causing destruction and tragically death across many small towns. But after the floods come the clean ups, the throw aways. With hundreds of families who have lost literally everything they own many are desperately trying to salvage household items. And with damp household items comes the risk of mould.
What are the steps to preserving your home after floods?
- Heating. Heat the air to 27 degrees. If you can get that room or that part of the house heated up to 27 degrees celsius that is considered to be the ideal temperature to maximize drying. Hot air holds more moisture. The warmer the air is, the more it’s going to lift moisture off the surfaces. Anything above 27 degrees doesn’t seem to make any difference.
- Dehumidify. As moisture is been pulled off the surfaces, you also need to pull the moisture out of the air to prevent secondary damage. You must dehumidify and heat at the same time. There are 3 ways you can do this
- Use your refrigerated air conditioner or your split system.
- Use a portable dehumidifier.
- Use fans. It speeds up the evaporation and provides optimal drying conditions
- Air filtration, especially HEPA (high efficiency, particular air). After 48 hours, there will be microbial growth and germinating spores. Often these spores and hyphae have high levels of mycotoxins which need to be removed.
What can I do if there is visible mould?
There are 2 steps to follow - assess the condition and establish the porosity of the material.
STEP 1: Condition Assessment
- Condition 1 = normal fungal ecology for that house, that climate zone for that soil, ecology. It’s normal to have fungi inside a home providing it reflects what’s in the outdoors in the soil.
- Condition 2 = high levels of settled spores after you have a water event. For example, when you overflood your bathroom and don’t dry it within 48 hours, it becomes visible mould
- Condition 3 = actual growth. Actual growth is happening when you can both smell damp musty odors and you can also see visible mould.
STEP 2: Establish Porosity and determine pathway to remediation
- Porous surface + Condition 2 above = wash in a washing machine and then dry it in sun, or put it in clothes (condensing) dryer. Porous surfaces include clothing, textiles, fabrics, bedding, anything with textiles, curtains. HEPA vacuuming and dry brushing can also be done. Fine art and valuables can be done by professional on a cost:benefit analysis.
- Porous Surface + Condition 3 above = discard it! You can put it in a garbage bag and put it in your normal rubbish.
- Semi-porous + Condition 2 = HEPA vacuuming, air washing. (Semi porous includes unsealed timber, plaster, concrete, plywood, masonry…)
- Semi-porous + Condition 3 above = discard!
- Non-porous + Condition 2 = detergent washing, HEPA vacuuming, ultrasonic cleaning
- Non-porous + Condition 3 = detergent washing, HEPA vacuuming, ultrasonic cleaning. May need to discard corroded items
What can you do if your health has been affected by the floods?
If your health has been affected by damp weather and you are experiencing symptoms a practitioner can help you recover using various treatments
- Firstly, if possible, you should remove yourself from water damaged buildings
- If you experience mould illness use of binders (cholestyramine/Welchol), clays, charcoal, chitosan will be an important part of your recovery
- Nasal colloidal silver and/or anti-fungal medicines and or EDTA can be used under the supervision of a qualified practitioner
- Gastro intestinal herbs, low sugar and low carb diets and probiotics will assist the healing process
- Correct the inflammation
- Neuroinflammation – fish oils, curcumin, low amylose/anti-inflammation diet, reservatrol, limbic/vagus nerve support
- Neurogenesis (rebuild neural connections) – synapsin nasal spray, lifestyle factors, vitamin D, lithium, lions main, bacopa
- Detox agents – calcium D-glucarate, glutathoione, N-acetyl cysteine
How do we bind and eliminate toxins?
The liver excretes toxins through the small intestine but unless they are bound, they can be reabsorbed through the gut wall. Binders escort the toxins all the way through the digestive tract to elimination. Commonly used binders include
- Cholestyramine and Welchol (prescription) – myotoxin affinity (mould)
- Chitosan – a crustacean derived binder similar to cholestyramine
- Clays (zeolite, bentonite, prophyllite) – selectively binding. Most commonly used for mould
- Chorella – has an affinity for heavy metals, does not bind to essential minerals
- Charcoal – a broad spectrum binder, but will bind some vitamins and minerals also
- Enterosgel - affinity for aluminium, gut endotoxins and food poisoning. Low affinity for minerals and vitamins
- Silica products – aluminium affinity
- Modified Citrus Pectin – heavy metal affinity