Of the many different gases that are in the air, it is unfortunate that a good number of them pose health hazards. Once they reach a certain level, they can cause different kinds of health issues. However, there is another category of gases that pose long-term effects like cancer.
Radon is one of those gases that may potentially lead to cancer if you inhale poisonous levels. Radon gases occur when elements like radium and uranium decay. The question now is what are the signs of radon exposure to look out for?
Unfortunately, radon is colorless, odorless, and tasteless. Thus, you cannot detect the presence of radon by using only your senses. Nevertheless, some symptoms may point to long-term exposure to radon.
Continue reading below for possible signs of radon exposure and what you should do to protect your home from the dangers of radon.
1. Troubling Cough
Though there are no immediate symptoms of radon poisoning, you may begin to experience signs of possible long-term exposure. Since radon is one of the leading causes of lung cancer, one of the key symptoms to look out for is a troubling cough.
This is not your usual cough that goes after a week or so. Instead, it will be persistent. Even if you take cough medications, the cough doesn’t want to go away.
Furthermore, if you’re coughing up blood, it can also be a sign of radon poisoning. Coughing up blood is a possible symptom of lung cancer.
2. Wheezing and Shortness of Breath
Apart from persistent coughing, long-term exposure to high radon levels can lead to shortness of breath. When lung cancer tumors grow, they can reach a size that is big enough to block airways. In turn, you may experience difficulty in breathing.
Sometimes, it is the fluid buildup that is causing breathing difficulties. The buildup happens when cancer cells take up the space between the lungs and your chest wall. As a result, fluid builds up around your lungs.
3. Frequent Bouts With Pneumonia
Frequent bouts with pneumonia can also be one of the signs of radon exposure. Again, this is a long-term symptom that you will experience after years of exposure. It can also be an early sign of developing lung cancer.
Though anyone can get pneumonia, people with cancer are at risk of acquiring one faster. This is because cancer patients have compromised immune systems. In turn, they have weaker protection against bacteria, viruses, and fungi that cause pneumonia.
4. Chest Pain
You may also experience persisting chest pain due to long-term radon exposure. As the effects of radon develop into cancer, it can lead to chest pain with different levels and coinciding symptoms.
Sometimes, your lymph nodes become larger. This causes pain discomfort due to the space they are taking up. In some cases, the metastasis of the lymph nodes happens on the chest wall.
Sometimes, they grow around the ribs or in the lining around your lungs.
5. Unintended Weight Loss
Are you losing weight without the intention of doing so? This can also be a sign of long-term radon gas poisoning. Monitor your weight and see if you’re losing 10 pounds or more even without changing your lifestyle.
Weight loss happens when cancer cells use up your body’s energy. It can also happen when the body changes the way it uses energy coming from the food you eat.
Unexplainable fatigue can also be a long-term effect of radon poisoning. Fatigue is different from tiredness. The former is more extreme and leaves you a feeling of exhaustion.
When people have cancer, fatigue kicks in for many reasons. It can be a change in hormone levels. Sometimes, it is the severity of the infection that causes it.
It can also be the toxic substances that the cancer cells produce. These substances alter the normal functions of healthy cells.
7. Too Many Cracks at Home
If you’re feeling some of the symptoms above and your home has too many cracks on the walls, then it’s time to call an inspector to test your house for radon levels. As we mentioned earlier, radon naturally occurs when certain elements decay.
You will find these radioactive elements under the ground. Small amounts of radon reach the air, which is relatively harmless. However, radon gases can seep inside your home through cracks and crevices.
Also, if you have well water, radon can reach your home. When water makes close contact with soil and rocks that have radon, the former can enter indoors when you use water for washing dishes or taking a shower.
The Importance of Radon Testing
Since radon is odorless, colorless, and tasteless, there is no way for you to confirm if you have high levels of radon at home. Thus, radon testing is imperative.
For starters, there are test kits and detectors that you can use to detect radon in your home. They are quite easy to use and provide accurate results. If you don’t trust test kits, you can call a professional to conduct the radon testing.
After confirming the presence of high levels of radon, the next step is mitigation. Here, it is best to hire professional radon mitigation services to ensure the proper collection of radon.
What to Do After Experiencing Signs of Radon Exposure
If you’re experiencing signs of radon exposure, the first step is to consult with your doctor. Tell them about the symptoms you have. They will likely conduct different tests to determine your condition.
Next, you want to install a radon mitigation system in your home. This system disperses radon safely away from your house.
Last but not least, fix all the cracks and crevices on your walls.
Boost the Safety of Your Home
Determining the signs of radon poisoning can be tricky. Nevertheless, proper testing and consulting with experts can arrest the situation before it’s too late.
However, knowing about the dangers of radon is not enough. Other unseen hazards may enter your home. Check out our other articles where we discuss topics that will help make your home a safer place to live in.