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Watch for Skin Rashes during Flood Clean-up

By Diana Cunningham, R.N., C.W.S. Program Director
Center for Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine

Have you noticed a rash or areas of skin redness, especially in skin folds between the fingers and toes, under the arms, in the groin or elsewhere? These may be symptoms of a fungal infection. Summertime heat and humidity increase the likelihood of fungal infections. Add to that combination the presence of mold in many homes that were flooded and the chances of developing a fungal infection increase dramatically. If you have a chronic health problem such as diabetes your risk for fungal infections also increases. Did you know that some molds can be inhaled and then later cause skin infections?

The following tips will help you deal with fungal infections:
1.Bathe daily.
2.Dry all areas well, especially between the toes and between any skin folds.
3.Wear clothing that allows air to circulate to decrease sweating.
4.Change clothing regularly and wash any clothing that comes in regular contact with the skin in a temperature of at least 60 degrees to kill fungal spores.
5.Use antifungal powders or creams sparingly. If you notice no improvement or the area becomes worse see your healthcare provider.
6.Wear a mask whenever dealing with flood clean-up to avoid inhaling mold spores.

Do you already have an open wound, cut or scratch?
1.Keep the area as clean and dry as possible.
2.Keep the wound covered - wounds that dry out take longer to heal.
3.Watch for signs of infection: redness, swelling, drainage, elevated temperature, and see your health care provider if you notice any of these symptoms.
4.If your wound has not started to heal in two weeks a visit to a specialized wound center may be beneficial.

As you continue to deal with the problems and damage left behind by the recent flooding, please don't hesitate to contact The Center for Wound Care & Hyperbaric Medicine with any questions or concerns you may have using our toll-free number 1-888-603-1333.