News Releases

April 02, 2012

Starting Over Strong Vermont: The Risks of Mold

Starting Over Strong Vermont: The Risks of Mold

As spring arrives in Vermont, many of those affected by Tropical Storm Irene are returning to their homes. Individuals and families are still struggling with being displaced from their homes, and facing the chore of cleaning up after the destruction. Now that winter is behind us, people are left picking up the pieces of their lives. People who have “been holding it all together” are now looking to SOS VT for emotional support, and ways to get connected to resources available to them. Unfortunately, the discovery of mold is complicating reconstruction projects across the state, and in some cases individuals are dealing with the affects of mold exposure. The presence of mold as a result of flood and rain conditions can pose significant risks to your health as well as to your home.

Mold is a microscopic organism which can grow on many surfaces, as long as conditions remain damp. Mold can hide in air ducts, attics, basements, wall cavities, and will continue to grow as long as the environment has not completely dried out. Thousands of molds exist, and some types are known allergens. Some molds produce toxins and require careful removal. However in high enough concentrations, all types of mold can potentially have harmful effects on human health.

Some people are more sensitive to mold than others. Those at a higher risk for health issues due to mold exposure include infants, children, the elderly, pregnant women, immune-compromised individuals, and those with pre-existing respiratory problems. The following symptoms are associated with mold exposure:

• Respiratory problems -wheezing, asthma attacks, etc.

• Nasal and sinus congestion or dry, hacking cough

• Eye irritation - burning, watery, redness

• Nose or throat irritation -sneezing fits, bloody noses

• Skin irritations -rashes or hives

• Nervous system -headaches, memory loss, mood changes

If you or someone you know is experiencing any of these symptoms, and the presence of mold is likely in your home, consult a physician. Here is link with resources of how to identify mold, how to clean up mold, and how to prevent mold In some cases, you may need to hire a professional for mold evaluation and removal. You can also call 1-800-439-8550 for answers to your environmental health questions (including mold).

SOS VT recognizes the distress that can relate to dealing with mold and all other aspects of recovery. Though many people react in their own way to a disaster, some common emotional reactions may include:

• Trouble sleeping, or nightmares about storms or floods

• Difficulty remembering things or concentrating

• Feeling numb, withdrawn, or disconnected

• Having bursts of anger or being intensely irritable

• Persistent physical symptoms- headaches, stomachaches, muscle tension, etc.

• Being overprotective of your family’s safety

• Avoiding reminders of the storm or flood

• Being tearful or crying for no apparent reason

If you or anyone you know is experiencing distress or symptoms from the flooding please call SOS VT’s toll-free number for help, 1-855-767-8800, or visit our website at

Starting Over Strong Vermont (SOS VT) deploys teams of crisis support workers throughout communities most impacted by Tropical Storm Irene to conduct community and home-based outreach and psycho-educational services. SOS VT offers free, short-term interventions that promote individual and family recovery to those individuals experiencing distress and/or related emotional and behavioral difficulties from the flood. The program is designed to assist individuals of all ages to better understand why they feel the way they do and how to begin to feel safe and confident again going forward. SOS VT can also help identify and refer individuals who may be in need of more intensive supports.

SOS VT is supported by FEMA grant funding and is administered by Washington County Mental Health Services in conjunction with other designated mental health agencies and community services in the hardest hit regions of our State.

Information about mold provided by: "Dealing With Mold and Mildew in Your Flood

Damaged Home," by FEMA. It can be accessed at

Source: Department of Public Safety
Last Updated at: April 02, 2012 08:58:16