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American Lung Association of Upper Midwest Offers Tips on Dealing With Floodwaters
Date:3/25/2009

CHICAGO, March 25 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest shares the concerns many are feeling about the rising water levels and flooding in several states that we serve. Because flood water damage from this emergency can pose special problems for the thousands of people with lung disease, and may cause lung disease in healthy individuals in the region, we are offering these tips. For more specific help on cleaning up after a flood or water damage, contact the American Lung Association Help Line at 1-800-548-8252.

Direct risks from contact with floodwaters

The greatest health risk for the general public may come from water-borne microorganisms and toxins. However, even after the water recedes, the contaminants, bacteria, viruses and mold left behind pose a risk to those with preexisting lung disease. Exposure to these microorganisms and toxins may increase the risk of developing lung disease.

The physical stress of dealing with the flood may also put a strain on people who are already ill or the elderly, providing an opportunity for respiratory infections and other sicknesses to arise. In addition, the time spent in large group emergency housing may increase the risk of spread of infectious diseases, such as influenza, pneumonia, and tuberculosis.

Damp buildings and furnishings promote the growth of microorganisms, dust mites, cockroaches and mold, which can aggravate asthma and allergies and may cause the development of asthma, wheeze, cough and hypersensitivity pneumonitis in susceptible persons.

Emergency power risks

If electric power is lost during a flood, many people may turn to portable gasoline- or diesel-powered generators, gas stoves, charcoal stoves, grills, portable camping stoves and other devices to cook indoors. All of these produce a deadly odorless and colorless gas, carbon monoxide. Exposure to c
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SOURCE American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest
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