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What Are the Health Risks of Water Damage in the Home?

water falling into flooded room

Water, water everywhere. One in 50 American homes experience water damage every year. 

When people think about water damage, they often think of it in terms of their house. They think about how it damages their flooring or walls. But they should think of water damage in terms of their health as well. 

What are the different ways that water damage in your home can threaten your health? What are the long-lasting health effects of water damage? When is it the right time to hire someone to restore water damage? 

Answer these questions and you can restore your home and health after water damage. Here is your quick guide. 

Mold

Mold grows in moist and dark areas. Water damage in the basement often leads to mold because basements are humid and dark. It can also be hard to remove water out from basement walls, allowing mold to grow. 

Some people have an allergy to mold. 

Mold allergy symptoms include congestion, sneezing, and coughing. Many people who are allergic to mold don't know about their allergy until they become exposed to it. 

In rare cases, a person may develop hypersensitivity pneumonitis. This is a lung condition that occurs after chronic exposure to mold. Scar tissue develops inside the lungs, causing muscle pain and a persistent cough. 

Mold is not toxic, and it does not cause other lung conditions like asthma. But someone with preexisting lung conditions may experience worse symptoms. They should hire a water damage restoration service right away. 

Bacteria

Water from a burst pipe can contain many different bacteria. Even if the water is hot, the bacteria can live and reproduce for days. It can land on walls and furniture before entering into people's bodies. 

Common strains of bacteria that grow in homes after water damage include Stenotrophomonas and MycobacteriumStenotrophomonas bacteria infect the lungs and cause respiratory tract infections. Mycobacterium can cause a range of diseases, including tuberculosis. 

It is hard for someone to detect bacteria in their home. Most bacteria are not visible to the naked eye, and they do not give off an odor. A water damage team should spread antibacterial substances over any rooms with water damage in them. 

Chemicals

Chemicals can combine with water and damage a home in several ways. A few pipes can break simultaneously, and their contents can leak into a house. One pipe may carry cleaners with harmful chemicals in them, and the pipe may break. 

Ingesting or breathing in chemicals can cause a range of health problems. In and of itself, ingesting chemicals can irritate the digestive system. Breathing in toxic fumes can inflame the respiratory system and make breathing difficult. 

Drain cleaner, carpet cleaner, and ammonia are poisonous. Someone who swallows them may suffer from vomiting. They should go to the hospital and seek medical attention. 

On rare occasions, gasoline and flammable chemicals can leak into the house. These materials are even more toxic than ammonia. They can catch on fire or explode after exposure to small flames and electrical sparks. 

Pests

Many bugs like mosquitoes lay their eggs in pools of water. They can enter into a house the same way that water enters into a house. They can crawl through gaps in windows, walls, and floors. 

Pests do not have to bite people in order to threaten their health. They can spread bacteria and attract predators into a home. 

Pest removal is a separate problem from water damage removal. Once a person has gone through water damage repair, they need to hire a pest control service. This may require moving out of the home so the company can use pesticides. 

Drowning

A few inches of moving water can knock a person off their feet. That person can drown in the same amount of water after just a few minutes. 

It is rare for someone to drown in a pool of water in their home. Most cases occur during a flood or natural disaster where water sweeps into the home. Yet it is possible for pets and small children to drown, as long as a pool of water remains in an accessible area. 

Electrocution from Water Damage

Water can conduct electricity, especially if it contains metallic particles inside it. Pieces of a pipe can break off into the water, and an electric current can run through it and harm someone. 

Water damage can also damage the electrical system in a home. A person may not be electrocuted when they touch a pool of water.

But they may become electrocuted while plugging in an appliance. A spark may occur in a wall and cause a fire. 

Uneven Flooring

The risks of water damage in a home are not over once the water is removed. Water can seep into the foundation of a home, warping it.

Many people think of water damage as a basement or lower-floor problem. But a leaky roof can prove just as dangerous. Water can seep through walls down into the foundation, or a roof can collapse and water can flood in. 

Once the foundation and/or roof is damaged, a home may decay through time and collapse, or the floors may shift. Someone can experience a fall because they are not used to the level of their floor. 

How Water Damage Relates to Your Health

Water damage does more than ruin your floor. Mold and bacteria grow in water, and each can spread diseases. 

Chemicals can leak out of a burst water pipe. Pests lay their eggs in water, and they can infest a house in a matter of days. 

Drowning is a rare threat, but any pool of water can endanger a pet or child. Water can damage an electrical system and a home's foundation, which can trigger a total collapse. 

Be diligent about water damage. Quik Stop Restoration serves the Phoenix metro area. Find a service near you today. 

QUIK STOP RESTORATION

3850 E. Baseline Road #115
Mesa, AZ 85206
Ph: 480-270-8000
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