Hurricane Harvey

Many Houston Flood Victims Are Staying In Their Homes Despite Health Risks

Especially many seniors are unwilling – or unable – to leave their mold-infested homes.

Many flood victims are now staying with family or at a hotel.

But there are some who haven't left.

Renee Jefferson Smith, a community advocate in northeast Houston, said many – especially seniors – don't want to leave their possessions behind.

"People have been breaking into homes taking residents' property and so I know a lot of people just want to protect their home," she said.

Others simply don't have anywhere else to go or they need to stay near their place of work.

But it's not healthy.

Winifred Hamilton is the director of the Environmental Health Service at Baylor College of Medicine.

She told the Texas Standard bacteria is a big concern in homes that were flooded.

"So people that have symptoms, respiratory problems, any sort of swelling, redness on their skin, bad headache, something like that, should see their doctor immediately," she said.

And then there's the mold, which some people are allergic too.

Even those who are just there to clean up their homes should wear protective masks at all times, Hamilton said.

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Florian Martin

Florian Martin

Business Reporter

Florian Martin is currently the News 88.7 business reporter. Florian’s stories can frequently be heard on other public radio stations throughout Texas and on NPR nationwide. Some of them have earned him awards from Texas AP Broadcasters, the Houston Press Club, National Association of Real Estate Editors, and Public Radio...

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