Increase in respiratory emergencies at NHRMC

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NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — As the Cape Fear continues to recover from Hurricane Florence, many damaged homes are fighting mold. If you have mold, act quickly. The longer it grows, the more damage it can cause and exposure to it can cause serious health problems.

New Hanover Regional Medical Center Respiratory Specialist Tony Bollharst says there have been many people visiting the emergency room with respiratory related issues with some requiring hospitalization.

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Bollharst says mold can trigger asthma attacks, cause allergy flare ups and worsen COPD.

“If you are unable to dry out your home and equipment within a 24 hour period then you can pretty much assume that you have mold,” said Bollharst. “A lot of patients that we have come in the emergency department were unable to go anywhere and so they just stayed in the home and then got a reaction from breathing in the mold spores. ”

The best actions to take to stop mold growth is to prevent condensation in your home by reducing the humidity, increasing ventilation with fans or windows and increasing the air temperature.

Leland resident Larry Dennis is not taking any chances. He’s stripping his man cave, after Jackeys Creek filled his backyard.

“I have really bad mold damage from the humidity and that’s why we are in the process now of just taking all the walls out,” said Dennis.

Anyone exposed to mold spores can have a reaction which may feel very similar to a spring-like allergy.

“The symptoms are about the same,” said Bollharst. “You are going to have the nasal congestion or sinus drainage… sneezing, wheezing..”

Dead mold spores can still cause allergic reactions so it must also be removed.

Between Sept. 12 and Oct. 7, there were 42 emergency visits related to exposure to environmental hazards including mold.