Do you have seasonal allergies and notice that even while taking your allergy medication you still feel awful at home? Perhaps there is something lurking in your house that is causing you to feel this way, and it wasn’t just your allergies.
Your house could be making you sick
There are lots of things in your home that you know to watch out for, like poor lighting or a crack in the foundation. But what about the hazards you can’t see? Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are chemicals in the air that are given off from products like furniture and flooring or by activities like cooking, painting, or cleaning. Actively growing mold can also produce VOCs as part of the mold’s digestion, or growth, process. These VOCs can cause a number of symptoms such as respiratory irritation, itchy/watery eyes or throat, skin irritation, headaches, lethargy, mental confusion, or numbness in the extremities, as well as more serious conditions. VOCs can also exacerbate existing medical conditions such as asthma and allergies, leading to an increase in the frequency and severity of symptoms.
The symptoms most commonly reported by those affected by a “sick house” are many and varied, depending on the sensitivity of the person and the severity of the issues in the home. Common symptoms usually fall into a few broad categories.
- Respiratory Symptoms – congestion, aggravated asthma or allergies, sinus infections
- Cognitive Issues – foggy thinking, sleep disturbance, frequent headaches
- Emotional Changes – feeling agitated or depressed
- Physical Symptoms – stomach discomfort, muscle aches, fatigue, rashes, sore throat
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