Historic flooding stands to increase mold as allergy season approaches

Local News

Spring is right around the corner – flowers are already starting to bloom and the trees are beginning to bud. With that welcome sign of warmer weather also comes the cause of unwanted allergens. 

East Tennessee is known to have a lot of mold due to the already high moisture levels, raising the question, will these levels be even worse after February’s record rainfall and the amount of standing water left behind? 

“Oh there’s going to be a lot because of that wet ground and the deteriorated material,” says Dr. Ty Prince with the Allergy Asthma and Sinus Center in Maryville. Prince says once the ground begins to dry is when we will really start to feel the sinus related effects of the flood. 

“We’ll see problems in our patients when they try to go in and clean their homes after the waters receded,” Prince said. “For example with sheetrock or insulation – once that moisture gets in there and the mold and the spores start growing, then every time moisture comes back in the spores will start to grow again and you’ll release more and more spores.” 

As for the outdoors – the center isn’t seeing an increase in mold spores just yet but they are noticing higher counts of poplar, cedar and pine tree pollen. 

Pollen also spells allergy irritation, so Prince has some tips. 

“Keep good air flow throughout the house, that’s the best way to keep the humidity down as well as keeping the spores from blowing in,” Prince advised. 

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