Watch out for mould and mozzies in the post-flood cleanup

With flash floods sinking suburbs along the East Coast, Aussies are being warned to watch for hidden household dangers in the cleanup. 

Jarrod
By Jarrod
4 Min Read

With flash floods sinking suburbs along the East Coast, Aussies are being warned to watch for hidden household dangers in the cleanup. 

After being hit hard by wild weather early this month, citizens of Victoria’s Campaspe Shire have seen a dramatic rise in disease-carrying mosquitoes and deadly mould as the regional town re-enters their waterlogged homes.

Experts say the increase in cases is thanks to the mix of humid heatwaves and damp conditions creating an “ideal breeding ground” for mould and mozzies to grow.

With similar weather conditions predicted to hit homes from far north Queensland all the way to Melbourne’s southern suburbs all summer long, Mayor Rob Amos is encouraging anyone caught in post-flood conditions to stay vigilant. 

“As we know, mosquitos gather around stagnant water and can carry diseases which can be passed onto people through mosquito bites, including Ross River virus, Barmah Forest virus, Murray Valley encephalitis, Japanese encephalitis and Kunjin virus,” Cr Amos said.

“The team have been out last week treating mosquito-dense areas in Rochester and Echuca to help prevent disease in our communities.

“… it’s recommended to wear long-sleeved clothing, using a repellent that contains DEET (diethyltoluamide) or picaridin, and avoid being outside during dusk and dawn.”

The mayor also warned flood-affected residents to stay wary of mould developing in damp, poorly ventilated areas of their homes. 

“Mould found in damp structures can trigger nasal congestion, sneezing, cough, wheeze, respiratory infections and worsen asthma and allergic reactions,” Cr Amos added.

“People with weakened immune systems, allergies, severe asthma and lung diseases should seek advice from their medical practitioner.

“If you suspect mould contamination in your home but can’t find its origin, residents can engage an occupational hygienist or environmental health and safety professional to conduct testing for a fee.

“If you do have mould in your home, discuss it with your insurance company and take measures to keep yourself safe and healthy.”

Tips for kicking mozzies off your property

  • Tip water out of pots, plant saucers, play equipment and other containers in your yard.
  • Remove any debris in the yard that collects water, including old tyres, cans and palm fronds.
  • Remove pools of standing water by clearing debris or digging small channels to assist drainage.
  • Check for damaged fly screens on windows, doors and vents. If required, repair or install new screens. Mosquito zappers or coils will also deter mosquitos around the home.

Tips for reducing mould in the home

  • Fix any leaks in plumbing, roofs and other building faults.
  • Keep your gutters cleared and well-maintained.
  • Use exhaust fans or open windows in the bathroom and kitchen when in damp areas.
  • Wipe excess water caused by condensation on windows or showers.
  • Use reverse cycle air conditioning and mechanical dehumidification if available.
  • Vent the clothes dryer to the outside and clean lint filters regularly. 
  • Use a vacuum cleaner with a high-efficiency particulate air filter (HEPA).
  • Only place your mattresses on the floor or surfaces with adequate ventilation.
  • Vacuum and/or turn mattresses if it can be done safely.
  • Increase air circulation around furniture and move furniture away from walls.
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Jarrod
By Jarrod
Jarrod Brown combines his background in journalism, copywriting and digital marketing with a lifelong passion for storytelling. He has a strong passion for new and emerging consumer technology within the building sector. He lives on the Sunshine Coast - usually found glued to the deck of a surfboard.