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Can Clogged Gutters Make You Sick?

Posted on May 4, 2018 by Patrick Sheehan

Debris filled gutters can be more than just another household chore to add to the “honey-do” list.  Any time that even a small volume of water is allowed to collect and become stagnant, some serious problems can develop. Chief among these is the overall health of you and your family.

Mold exposure has gained a fair share of media attention as of late with the medical community linking severe symptoms to many of the thousands of strains of mold including the dreaded Black Mold. What exactly is mold? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, mold is basically a fungus that’s found both indoors and outdoors. The fungus isn’t what makes certain people sick; it’s the mold spores that are released when they grow and reproduce. While mold grows best in warm and wet conditions, these spores can survive harsh conditions and be inhaled or absorbed through the skin.

While not everyone gets sick when exposed to these spores, people with a weakened immune system, such as those receiving treatment for cancer, patients who have had a recent organ or stem cell transplant, and people taking medicines that suppress the immune system, are more likely to get mold infections.

If you need another reason to motivate you to clean out your gutters, let’s direct your attention to what some people call the real state bird of Michigan, the mosquito. Sorry robin fans.

Just like mold, mosquitoes are drawn to still, warm water to spawn. In some cases a discarded cap from a pop bottle can fill with water and become a mosquito nursery.

Besides being an annoyance, these insects can carry a plethora of diseases including West Nile Virus. In fact, across the United States there is only one state that has yet to experience an appearance of the disease and it’s Maine.

Twenty percent, or one in 5 people who are infected develop a fever along with other symptoms including, headache, body aches, joint pain, intestinal issues or rash. One in 150 develop either encephalitis or meningitis and one in ten of those people will die. While these may be admittedly long odds, why not eliminate them totally by making a few good choices?

Make sure that all of your gutters are clean and clear with no valleys or dents where water can collect. Keep them clean by using a gutter protection system that blocks leaves and debris while moving moisture out and away from your home. Check to see that each downspout is clear of any blockages and the downspout extensions allow the free flow of water away from your foundation by a minimum of six feet.

While clean gutters won’t necessarily add to your home’s curb appeal, making sure they are working correctly is an investment in your family’s continued good health.

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