Although the water levels of North Dakota’s Red River are subsiding, the danger has not passed yet with new storms in the forecast. Meanwhile, a health organization has offered tips on flood survival.
The American Lung Association (ALA) of the Upper Midwest points to risks from contact with floodwaters, including water-born microorganisms and toxins which persist even after water has receded.
Health risks may also come from damp buildings and furnishings, physical stress and time spent in large group emergency housing.
That is why after the flood water is gone, the process of cleaning up should begin as soon as possible. Mold can begin growing within 48 hours, so it is important to start by removing any wet materials such as sheetrock, carpeting and plywood from home.
While removing such items, it is important to bag them to avoid spreading contaminants throughout the home. One should also avoid using air cleaning devices that emit ozone as it has not been proven to clean indoor air, but can be harmful to lungs.
Regarding emergency power risks, ALA warns to be on guard against carbon monoxide, a deadly gas produced by portable gasoline- or diesel-powered generators and cooking devices that people often use when electric power is lost during floods.
To avoid risks associated with carbon monoxide inhalation, one should never operate such devices indoors.