The musical question of the Credence Clearwater Revival song “Who’ll Stop The Rain?’’ has been answered.
"No one" is the correct answer.
Two related questions are "Who’ll stop the mold?" and "Who’ll stop the mosquitoes?"
The wet conditions we’ve experienced are an effective breeding ground for mold and bugs. Both can be more than an annoyance; they can make us sick.
Identifying problem areas where mold could potentially grow is an important first step toward eliminating mold problems, according to Genesis infectious disease specialist Bharat Motwani, M.D.
“Mold can develop around doors, windows, heating and air conditioning systems and can be brought into a building on shoes, clothes, on a pet or can be transported inside on something like a backpack,’’ Motwani said. “You also need to look around for any possible leaks around windows, doors and roofs.
“Anywhere moisture from the outside can seep inside is a potential problem area.’’
If you have identified problem areas, clean and dry those areas as soon as possible. Fix the leaks and clean any areas where mold spots are apparent.
The Centers for Disease Control and Preventions says wet carpets and furniture that cannot be dried quickly may need to be removed.
Take precautions removing mold
Mold can be removed with commercial products or with a solution of soap, water and bleach. Only use bleach solutions with proper ventilation and air flow. Use non-porous gloves when using the solution. A mask that blocks inhalation of mold spores and the use of protective eyewear also are suggested.
The mold may appear in any color. The notorious “black mold’’ is not the only mold that can present a health risk. All mold, regardless of color, should be removed.
If you detect the musty odor of mold, people in the home with bronchial-related conditions such as asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease could be at risk for potentially dangerous reactions to mold.
“Inhaling mold spores may cause irritation, coughing or wheezing and eye and skin irritation to everyone, whether they have chronic lung conditions or not,’’ Motwani said. “People with chronic lung conditions could experience serious reactions to mold exposure.
“Healthy children may also experience respiratory illness when exposed to mold.’’
The buzz About West Nile
Once the mold issues are controlled, we will likely learn more than we need to know about the science of entomology this summer because of the wet start to the year.
Gnats are already out in full force. We can also look forward to buzzing mosquitoes and their bites.
The Illinois Department of Public Health has already confirmed the collection of mosquitoes testing positive for West Nile Virus.
In 2018, 74 counties in Illinois reported positive results for West Nile virus in a mosquito, bird or human, IDPH said. There were 176 confirmed positive cases in humans last year in Illinois; 17 resulting in death.
In Iowa, human cases of West Nile have been reported every year since 2002.
Most people with West Nile virus have either no symptoms or mild symptoms such as fever, headache, and body aches. At highest risk are people older than age 50 and those with compromised immune systems. In the older population, West Nile can cause serious illness, including muscle stiffness, high fever, severe headache, loss of consciousness and paralysis.
There are several ways to protect against West Nile virus.
• Use insect repellents containing DEET.
• Wear long shirts and pants when outdoors for extended periods.
• Make sure doors and windows in the house do not allow mosquitoes to enter.
• And, eliminate mosquito-breeding areas by emptying sources of standing water collecting in tires, toys, buckets and birdbaths. Gutters can also be prime breeding grounds for mosquitos.
The Iowa and Illinois Departments of Public Health have more information about West Nile virus. In Illinois, go to www.dph.illinois.gov/topics-services/diseases-and-conditions/west-nile-virus or call (866) 369-9710. In Iowa, go to https://idph.iowa.gov/cade/disease-information/west-nile-virus or call (515) 281-7689.