Respiratory Disorders Expert Forum
Recurring respiratory infections environmentally caused?
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Recurring respiratory infections environmentally caused?

My family (4 adults, 3 toddlers) moved in five months ago from Canada, into a rental house in Virginia, in which the maintenance and cleanliness is less than ideal. We have been plagued by one sinus infection after another, all of us. Previous to this we barely ever got a sniffle. We're on the GAPS diet so our immune system has been at its best for nearly 2 years. These respiratory illnesses have not only been nearly constant, they've been severe. At least two perforated eardrums, one strep, lots and lots of congestion and coughs.

Could the cause be in the air ducts, the air filter? I can't find out where to change the filter, and have asked the landlord, without a response yet. I don't want to sue him or anything, I just want to end this endless succession of colds, congestions, and coughs.
242587_tn?1355427710
The cause could be in the air ducts, or the air filter, but there could be other environmental causes not directly related to the house.  The temporal relationship of your move to Virginia and occupancy of this rental house, with the unceasing respiratory illnesses experienced by all members of your family is strongly suggestive of a cause and effect relationship.  Filthy, almost-never changed filters (furnace and air conditioner) are a common phenomenon, even in otherwise cleanly homes.

The inciting cause, be it infectious or allergic could reside within the air ducts, but could also be elsewhere, for example in carpets, drapes (both of which could harbor animal dander or house dust mites), mold in the cellar or bathrooms or a combination of factors.  

I agree with your suspicion of an environmental cause.  A somewhat costly but effective way to explore that possibility would be for you to arrange for a Certified Industrial Hygienist   to assess your home environment.  You might begin the search for such a person by contacting your local or state Public Health Department for referrals.  Environmentally induced respiratory disease is a much more common phenomenon than is often appreciated.

In the meantime you should definitely get assistance to locate and replace all air filters within your home.  Were you to have the opportunity to absent you and your family from this house for a month or more, an improvement in family health would provide indirect but potentially useful, albeit indirect, information regarding the house and its contents as a likely cause of your respiratory illnesses.

Good luck
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