If not promptly taken care of, water damage can wreak havoc on your home and health. What can start as a simple leak can become a massive problem with severe consequences. Not only could you have significant repairs to make on your home, but you might find yourself at the doctor, seeking medical care.
So, how exactly can you get sick from water damage? To answer that question, we will examine how water damage occurs and how the resulting problems can make you very ill. We’ll also look at how you spot water damage in your home to protect yourself from getting sick.
Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about water damage.
How Does Water Damage Occur?
Water damage occurs whenever water makes its way outside of where it belongs. It’s usually the result of one or more of the following:
- Leaky pipe
- Clogged gutter
- A/C condensation
- Blocked drain
- Leaky water heater
- Washing machine leak
- Severe thunderstorm
Your water will leak if something comes loose or gets broken and isn’t detected right away. While a drop or two won’t hurt anything, those drops can become puddles that cause significant problems for your walls, flooring, furniture, etc.
Water damage will cause your floors to warp, discolor your walls, cause mold to grow, and lead to a vermin infestation. Not only that, but it can weaken the very foundation of your home. This stage of damage usually only occurs from neglecting a property, though. If you catch it quickly, your foundation should be fine.
Generally speaking, catching a water leak in the first 24 hours is best. Even then, the water damage will ruin personal items like books, photos, and furniture. You’ll also notice bulging in your walls or warping in your floorboards.
If you catch the leak within the first week, you’ll have all those problems plus mold. Mold will have had time to develop and turn your water-damaged home into a biohazard.
If the water damage remains undetected for over a week, your repair costs will double or even triple, depending on how bad the damage is. That’s when you could be looking at damage to your foundation.
Can I Get Sick from Water Damage?
In itself, water damage won’t make you sick. It will do a number on your home but not on your health. However, you can get sick from the mold that will grow from the water damage.
It’s like how a disease in itself might not kill you, but some of the effects of the disease might. Could a hip replacement harm you? Yes, you could die of pneumonia from being bedridden. Water damage works much the same way.
Signs of mold growth include:
- A rotten or musty smell
- A/C or heating unit that smells weird
- Dark grout in between your shower tiles
- Wallpaper peeling off your walls
- Flooded sink or toilet
- Chronic cold-like symptoms
- Dark or colored spots on your wall
- Asthma worsens
- Allergies never go away
- Your clothes are itchy
- You feel tired all the time
If you’re noticing these symptoms, it’s time to inspect your home for water damage and mold growth.
Mold Growth from Water Damage
The first signs of mold can appear within 24 hours of the first drip of water. As the water damage worsens, molds like Aspergillus, Penicillium, and Stachybotrys will begin to grow. Spore counts will also increase, and other molds can grow from those spores.
Within days, you’ll have mold covering the water-damaged area.
Getting Sick from Mold
You’ll start noticing cold or flu-like symptoms when mold begins growing in your home. Because these are also signs of seasonal allergies or illnesses, you might not realize it’s from mold growth until your usual remedies don’t work or you realize it’s been days without feeling any better.
You’ll notice some of the following symptoms:
- Runny nose and congestion
- Eye irritation
- Sore throat
- Skin rash
- Lung irritation
How long you’re exposed to the mold will determine how sick you get. If you’re not allergic to mold and your immune system is functioning optimally, you won’t develop symptoms as quickly.
It could take a few days for the effects of the mold to start. But even if it takes a few days, the mold will make you sick, no matter how strong your immune system is. The sooner you spot the mold and get rid of it, the less likely you are to get sick.
But what if you don’t detect the mold, and it goes untreated for weeks?
That presents a serious problem. You’ll develop more severe symptoms like a fever or shortness of breath. You could end up seeking treatment at your local emergency room if your lungs or heart are immunocompromised.
If you have a condition like asthma, COPD, sarcoidosis, cystic fibrosis, tuberculosis, or HIV, you’re at a higher risk of getting very sick.
The good news is that, even in severe cases, mold exposure is usually treatable. Over-the-counter medications like nasal sprays, antihistamines, and allergy shots from your doctor are common treatments, and more intensive treatments are available if your doctor prescribes them.
Black Diamond Restoration Can Help.
Do you suspect water damage and mold growth in your home? As discussed in this blog, the sooner you attack the damage and restore your home, the less you’ll pay for repairs and medical bills. Catching and fixing a leak immediately is best for your home and health. So don’t delay!
Black Diamond Restoration is here to help. We are experts in water and mold damage, among other things, and can repair, renew, and restore your home to its former glory. We’ll get rid of that pesky mold so you can return to everyday life. Our licensed, certified professionals will get the job done.
Black Diamond Restoration offers 24/7 services with fair, upfront pricing, free damage evaluation, and a one-year guarantee. We’ll work with your insurance company, too. Learn more about us and then 801.512.4194 to schedule your home restoration today!