mystery illness

When a patient is not feeling well, chances are you look for the presence of disease. But if the symptoms persist and don’t appear to be caused by disease, they may be caused by an environmental hazard such as mold, lead, radon, asbestos, or even poor indoor air quality. So, it often makes sense to turn to a certified microbial inspector to test the patient’s home or workplace.

We’ve compiled a list of common household and workplace toxins and how they manifest. You’ll notice that symptoms are remarkably similar to those caused by disease. And when toxins remain unabated, they actually can cause unwanted medical conditions.

Mold

Mold symptoms can vary depending on the type of mold and the length and severity of exposure. Some mold allergy symptoms present the same as a cold or flu. These include:

  • Sneezing;
  • Runny or stuffy nose;
  • Itchy eyes, nose and throat;
  • Cough and postnasal drip;
  • Watery eyes;

Some molds however, like black mold or toxic mold, not only cause allergic reactions, but they can cause illness and other health problems including:

  • mold symptomsSkin infections and rashes;
  • Pneumonia;
  • Flu like symptoms;
  • Headaches;
  • Severe breathing troubles;
  • Fever;
  • Dizziness;
  • Nervousness;
  • Extreme fatigue;
  • Difficulty concentrating.

Lead

Lead can have terrible effects on both children and adults. In fact, lead poisoning is being attributed now to premature deaths in adults. New estimates suggest that 256,000 premature deaths from cardiovascular disease in the United States may be linked to historical lead exposure in middle-aged and older adults (people currently aged 44 years or over).

Lead poisoning symptoms in children include:

  • lead poisoning symptoms in childrenIrritability;
  • Learning difficulties;
  • Weight loss and loss of appetite;
  • Autism-like symptoms;
  • Abdominal pain;
  • Constipation;
  • Vomiting;
  • Headaches;
  • Sluggishness and fatigue;
  • Pica;

Symptoms of lead poisoning in adults include:

  • lead poisoning symptoms adultsPain, numbness and/or tingling of the extremities;
  • Headaches;
  • Muscle and joint pain;
  • Memory loss;
  • High blood pressure;
  • Abdominal pain;
  • Constipation;
  • Decline in mental acuity;
  • Reduced sperm count, abnormal sperm;
  • Mood disorders.

Lead poisoning is especially devastating for pregnant women and their unborn children. It can cause:

  • lead in pregnant womenMiscarriage;
  • Premature birth;
  • Low birth weight;
  • Brain damage;
  • Decreased mental acuity;
  • Learning difficulties;
  • Stunted growth.

Indoor Air Quality

Poor indoor air quality is the cause of a number of illnesses that cannot be explained. When we feel better at home or at our workplace, chances are there is an environmental issue in the location that’s causing the problem. Ask your patients if their symptoms tend to be worse in certain environments. VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and mold are responsible for up to 80% of all indoor air quality issues.

What are the common symptoms of VOC Exposure?

  • mold symptomsHeadaches
  • Fatigue and listlessness
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Nervousness
  • Difficulty concentrating

What are the effects of long-term exposure to VOCs?

  • Cancer
  • Kidney damage
  • Liver damage
  • Central Nervous System damage

If you have a patient with any of these symptoms and traditional tests are not giving you an answer, you may want to suggest environmental testing. We’re happy to discuss their symptoms with them and determine what may be causing them. Once the source of the problem is pinpointed, RTK can help develop a remediation plan to help get back to good health. Please feel free to call us with any questions. We can be reached at 800.392.6468.