Fumes are a way of life. They can also cause headaches. With the amount of air pollution nowadays – it is amazing that we don’t all walk around with a permanent headache!
Just think for a moment about what is in the air we breathe. In the outdoors, cars are producing fumes. Factories are belching out fumes, soot, ash and many chemicals. Garbage is burned – releasing fumes. Chemicals are sprayed on our crops. Asphalt is rolled out – releasing fumes. Welding gives off fumes.
Indoors, the list is even longer.
Just take a look at this list for common fumes that we inhale regularly in our own homes:
- Tobacco smoke
- Oven fumes
- Insect sprays
- Cleaning products
- The smell of a new car
- The smell of a new carpet
- Acetone (found in nail polish remover)
All of these fumes and odors can trigger headaches.
Why do fumes give me a headache? It is the irritation caused by the fumes that gives you problems. The fumes can contain irritants or toxins which irritate the delicate lining of your nose, throat and chest.
The blood vessels in the nose react to the irritation by enlarging and pressing on nerves, which gives you the headache.
Bad smells can be good for you
Unpleasant odors can be a warning signal that this substance is not going to do you any good. Think of rotten meat and sour milk.
The headache associated with fumes is also a warning sign. It is your body’s way of telling you that it doesn’t like this substance and to get away from it as quickly as possible.
The silent killer
Everyone has heard of carbon monoxide. It’s particularly dangerous because you get no early warning system with it. It’s clear, so there is no haze or smoke to warn you. It’s odorless, so no smell to alert you.
How do I know if there’s carbon monoxide in my home?
You may be one of the lucky ones who suffer from headaches as a first sign. Sadly, many people don’t get that warning and become dizzy and black out. The most important thing you can do for you and your family’s safety is to get a carbon monoxide detector. Do it today.
OK – what else should I do?
If you are having headaches in your home, which go away when you are out in the fresh air, make these checks. It could save your life.
As well as headaches, do you suffer from
- Muscle pains
- An upset stomach
- General lethargy
- Other unexplained illness
Check the flame on your appliances. If it’s an orange color you have a problem. Unfortunately, blue doesn’t mean it’s safe either. Get your appliances checked every year.
Is your flue blocked? If in doubt, get it checked.
Horizontal gas grills can be a problem, especially if it’s an older model. Again, get it checked
How’s your ventilation? Check air bricks and trickle vents. If there isn’t enough ventilation, your appliances will give off carbon monoxide.
If you’re a tenant, does your landlord have a safety certificate and get the appliances checked annually. He must do this – we’re talking about your health and life here. Insist upon it being done.
Regardless of the source you need to remove it. Once you do, your headache-at least the one caused by fumes-should disappear.