Flooding victims should follow this advice to prevent and treat mold

As flooding affected parts of Michigan over the past week or so – with Grand River reaching a water level of 22 feet – the Detroit Free Press reports that hundreds of homeowners were evacuated from their residences as a precaution. Now, people are finally beginning to return to their houses, but officials have suggested that they'll have a number of new challenges to face, including the presence of mold, which thrives in moist conditions. 

"Damp environments are going to promote mold growth if we don't dry out homes quickly," Health Homes Coalition of West Michigan's executive director Paul Haan told local ABC affiliate WZZM 13. "Mold is everywhere in our environment and what we want to avoid is the house being a conducive place [for mold] to propagate rampantly."

In order to effectively treat this hazardous fungus, the Healthy Homes Coalition recommends the following: 

Dry out your property and possessions as quickly as possible – Ideally, this should happen in 24 to 48 hours after the flooding occurs. Items such as clothing and furniture, which have the ability to retain a lot of moisture, can promote the growth of the fungus, so if you can't dry them out in a day or two, you may need to dispose of them.

Check ceilings and floors – If materials like carpets or drywall have gotten wet, they may need to be removed. 

Use fans and dehumidifiers – If the air is too humid, mold can develop more easily, so try to keep the humidity below 50 percent.

Mold is a problem that should never be taken lightly, as it can lead to some serious health issues. To make sure your home or business isn't infested with this potentially dangerous fungus, contact a home inspection contractor to perform mold testing and help you determine if you're safe.