NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The water has receded from most homes, but that doesn't mean they're completely dried out. The damp conditions created by Superstorm Sandy leave many at risk for mold growth.
As CBS 2's Chris Wragge reported Friday, there is quick action that can prevent mold -- and the damage that comes with it.
With all the devastation, it may be the last thing on the minds of Sandy victims.
"Everything's gone. The back of the house blew out," a woman named "Carla" said. "I'm just trying to get through the day."
However, they may be facing a much harder-to-see problem, one that will likely pose potential health risks.
"Mold can start, within 24 hours," said Will Southcombe of Pure Systems.
Experts say mold thrives in damp, moist places like drywall and flooring. Once it takes hold it will spread quickly causing more than just structural damage.
"Mold indoors will present problems for the people dwelling in them, sick building syndrome," Southcombe said.
The Centers for Disease Control says mold can cause a stuffy nose, irritated eyes, and skin irritation. Those with asthma, allergies, other breathing conditions or a suppressed immune system, may be even more sensitive to mold.
Southcombe, who restores properties damaged by water, said when it comes to containing mold, time is of the essence.
His team is doing damage control on hundreds of Sandy-flooded homes like two in Massapequa on Long Island, where residents took on unprecedented amounts of water.
"Once it starts, it goes as long as there is a water source," Southcombe said.
Southcombe said to stop mold growth you need to throw away any wet furniture, rugs or other soft contents. Remove all wet flooring and dry wall. Sanitize potentially contaminated areas -- with household cleaners -- and dry the house out with fans.
"That will dry it, won't be as quick or efficient as ours but it will work," he said.
Mold doesn't grow as fast in cold weather, but with warmer days approaching experts say it's the perfect setting for mold to accelerate.
Signs you may have mold include a musty smell and discolored walls.
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