Gov. Dennis Daugaard says the state Department of Health is distributing 50,000 special respirator masks to help homeowners with cleanup in 40 counties where flood disaster declarations are in place.
The N-95 respirator masks are recommended during mold cleanup to limit exposure to mold. High levels of exposure to some molds can cause illness in susceptible people. Typical symptoms include nasal and sinus congestion, eye irritation, dry or hacking cough, nose or throat irritation, and skin rashes or irritation.
To get masks, homeowners can contact the Department of Health Community Health Nursing office in their county (http://doh.sd.gov/LocalOffices/CHS.aspx) or their county emergency manager. Both will have a supply of the masks and can indicate other distribution points that may be available in the county.
While the supply lasts, the state will provide one box of 20 masks to each flooded household. Instruction sheets for putting on and removing the flat-fold N-95 masks will be provided with each box. Those involved in cleanup activities should generally plan on two masks daily per person. The masks are intended for mold cleanup; dust masks are sufficient if mold is not present.
The state is also supplying some additional masks to the Red Cross for use in the cleanup kits it will distribute in flood areas.
The masks will be available in the following counties with flood disaster declarations in place: Aurora, Beadle, Brookings, Brown, Brule, Buffalo, Butte, Charles Mix, Clark, Clay, Codington, Day, Deuel, Edmunds, Faulk, Grant, Gregory, Hamlin, Hand, Hanson, Hughes, Hutchinson, Hyde, Jackson, Jerauld, Kingsbury, Lake, Lyman, Marshall, Miner, Moody, Perkins, Potter, Roberts, Sanborn, Stanley, Sully, Spink, Union, and Yankton.
For more information about flood cleanup, see the Department of Health website at http://doh.sd.gov/Flood