There was a fire at our school last week. The fumes have been awful. Staff and students alike have been getting sick but (due to the country we're in) we're not allowed to close.
The fire was small - contained to the accounts office, so the usual things went up in flames: chairs/benches, wooden cabinets, computers, paperwork, filing cabinets etc.
The rumour is that the fumes are toxic, and I have certainly had some odd symptoms myself this week. The generals are: Headaches, Dizziness, bad throats, bad chests (particularly for the asthmatics), Nausea. In addition I've had a tingling sensation in my right hand for four days and frustrating fasciculation in my left eye, every few minutes, for five days. Yesterday evening the symptoms started to ease off for me, but others are still complaining. (In case you're wondering, working weeks are Sun-Thu here).
I have been taking precautions such as throwing my clothes in the laundry and showering the minute I walk into my apartment, not breathing in as I walk around school, keeping the windows open in my lab etc....
I would just like to know if a) these sound like symptoms associated with toxins/neurotoxins and b) what could the long term impacts be? I want to get the kids out of this situation but we can't get anyone in to monitor the air quality and parents are unaware of how bad the situation is. Any advice greatly appreciated. Thanks.
While acute effects from smoke exposure from a fire like you describe can be important, there is not much scientific evidence regarding long term effects.
How are you doing now? How are your colleagues feeling?
~ Dr. Parks
This answer provided to you is not intended as and does not substitute for medical advice. The information presented in this Medhelp.org posting is for patients’ education only. As always, I encourage you to see your personal physician for further evaluation of your individual case.
We're all doing fine now, thanks. All seemed to return to normal by the end of last week. There is still the 'smell' of the fire about the building but it is very mild now, restricted to a only a few locations, and no-one is complaining of any 'ill' symptoms anymore, so I'm assuming the air quality has improved. We're still keeping all doors and windows open when possible (50deg C heat and sandstorms are not conducive to the airing of the building!) but things certainly feel much better.
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