What is an Environmental Illness?
Environmental illness results from toxic substances in the environment that make you sick if you come in contact with these toxins. These toxins are present everywhere in your surroundings. Therefore, it usually classifies several mild to severe health outcomes to the environment such as food, smoke, animals, smog, chemical, or electromagnetic fields.
What are the causes of Environmental Illness?
Since exposure to a hazardous environment, prevailing chemicals or toxins is the main reason behind environmental illness. Therefore, the intensity of the exposure level determines the disease of a person. Some examples of an environmental illness may include:
- Chemicals in cigarettes like arsenic, nicotine, hydrogen, and ammonia can cause lung cancer.
- Broken sewage pipelines and industrial effluents contaminate groundwater or drinking water. In addition, these effluents may contain pesticides, dyes, and other poisonous substances that could cause diarrhoea, allergies, cancer, or other ailments.
- Chemicals in the workplace such as lead, arsenic, benzene, chromium, cadmium, mercury, zinc can cause sterility in men or infertility problems in women and skin rashes, chemical burns, nervous system disorders, nausea, vomiting, etc.
- Lead poisoning can cause serious health problems in children. Additionally, high blood pressure, brain damage, kidney and stomach problems in adults are the primary outcomes of lead poisoning.
Symptoms of environmental illness depend on the circumstances behind the ailment. However, the common symptoms may include:
- Fever and chills
- Muscular pain
- Breathing difficulty
How to Diagnose Environmental Illness?
It is tough to diagnose environmental illness. A wide range of common medical problems occurs due to exposure to toxic chemicals. This exposure makes the condition of a patient even worse. Therefore, it is challenging for the doctor to know what is exactly causing the symptoms.
Furthermore, To find out what makes the patient sick, the doctor should go for an exposure history which is a set of questions about the patient’s workplace, job, home, habits, and lifestyle. Hence, it may indicate the toxins the patient has been exposed to recently or in the past.
How can we Reduce Environmental illness?
The first strategy for treating environmental illness includes reducing or stopping exposure to what is making you ill. The following steps might help:
- Allow maximum amount of fresh air coming into your home.
- Make sure that the exhaust fans work efficiently.
- Avoid smoking as tobacco-free legislation minimises exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke and reduces cardiovascular diseases and respiratory tract infections.
- Building energy-efficient housing and improving urban planning would reduce air pollution and diseases related to air pollution.
- Try to focus on the promotion of good air quality.
- Disinfect common areas of home and workplaces.
- Employees should focus on personal hygiene.
- Physical activities should be promoted as Dr Margaret Chan Director-General of WHO, said that:
“a Healthy environment underpins a healthy population”
While doctors and researchers are putting in their efforts, let’s all fight this environmental illness together and keep our environment clean. Avoid all the factors that harm our environment. Also, if you have to work in a toxic environment, be sure to take all necessary precautions to protect yourself from its effects. However, if you or your loved one becomes ill or suffers from a toxic environment, contact the doctor immediately.
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