As a result of the moist conditions, mold growth and contamination has become a health concern for many New York and New Jersey residents, but of course water damage is not unique to any one particular area.

Diagnosing a potential problem

The most common symptoms of mold reaction resemble asthma or hay fever, as well as eye, nose, throat and lung irritation. For those with asthma, the symptoms are often dramatically increased.

"The most common symptoms of mold reaction resemble asthma or hay fever, as well as eye, nose, throat and lung irritation."

Mold is easily recognizable—furry, slimy, or powdery and often accompanied by a musty or earthy smell. It often grows on ceiling tiles, wood products, carpeting and other materials, but can be less visible in attics, behind paneling, etc.

Contain and clean

If you have mold, it is critical to properly clean it. Always wear an N95 dust mask, rubber gloves and washable work clothes. Ventilate your work area, and remove wet sheetrock, carpeting, etc. to prevent mold growth. Antimicrobial cleaners can also be used, but these days there are more effective, safer options than bleach. Look for cleaners that are EPA-registered and that contain low or no VOCs, such as Concrobium Mold Control. If the mold problem is severe, consider seeking professional help.