There are several substances that are known to lead to significant health risks if we’re exposed to them in large quantities, and one of the most significant such threats here is radon gas. This gas is so difficult because it’s impossible to smell, taste, feel or pick up with any other basic human sense — but if it’s present in large enough quantities, it can have a major impact on both short-term and long-term health.
At Absolute Radon Safety, we’re here to help stop this from happening to you. Through our combined radon testing and radon mitigation programs, we ensure that clients throughout Colorado are not being exposed to high radon levels in their homes or buildings on a regular basis. One particular concern that some people have with radon exposure is radon poisoning — but unlike other forms of poisoning that may take place, radon poisoning is a bit different. Let’s go over why this is the case, plus how to spot the symptoms of radon poisoning and why, even with the best information, this is a difficult area to assess — one where simply ensuring no radon is present is the simplest possible approach.
What Makes Radon Poisoning So Tough to Approach
When we think of most issues of poisoning, the setting is a lot different from radon gas. For instance, a chemical substance that poisons someone if they accidentally consume it will create immediate and obvious symptoms — the person may need to be rushed to the hospital, and furious efforts may be made to remove the poisonous substance before it’s too late. Another good example here would be a snake bite, where an individual clearly knows to get medical help right away.
Radon poisoning, by contrast, is a different animal. The first thing to realize here is that the symptoms of radon poisoning may not arise for many years, making the process much more difficult when it comes to detection and remediation — even though it’s really just as critical. While there are some radon poisoning symptoms that are very clear, such as chronic lung problems or even cancer, in many cases it may take years before any such side effects arise.
Radon gas is especially dangerous because of how difficult it can be to detect — after all, it’s a naturally occurring substance that doesn’t have any mechanisms for detection built in. So unlike a snake bite, where you’ll know right away if you’re bitten, the radon poisoning symptoms that arise may not be so easily identified.
With all this in mind, even the term “radon poisoning” is somewhat problematic — it’s not that the gas itself is poisonous, but rather the long-term effects. But since these can be so widespread and serious in terms of implications for health, it’s important to keep radon mitigation as an ongoing priority in your home or building.
Possible Symptoms of Radon Poisoning
Now, those who have been exposed to large quantities of radon — or “poisoned,” if you will — may still show some common symptoms. Many of these are similar or even identical to the symptoms of lung cancer, which makes sense given that radon exposure is so closely linked with higher risks of such cancer.
Particularly when associated with radon, these symptoms may include:
- Wheezing and shortness of breath: This is because of the direct impact radon gas can have on your lungs, leading to both inflammation and other symptoms that inhibit lung capacity.
- Coughing: Again related to your lungs and how they’re impacted by radon.
- Chest pain or pressure: Lung damage often leads to intense pain in this part of the body.
- Coughing up blood: This is much more rare, but it’s possible in certain cases.
- Weight loss and fatigue: These are both fairly clear symptoms of lung cancer or many other health issues.
- Frequent bronchitis, pneumonia or other infections: Again, this could be the result of lung damage in general, but it’s a classic sign.
Again, though, because these symptoms are so similar to other health issues and issues related to lung cancer, it can be very difficult to tell purely through symptoms whether you’ve been exposed to high levels of radon or radon poisoning. And because there are no medical tests for determining radon poisoning, many people do not even consider it when symptoms arise.
Importance of Radon Testing
All of the above leads us to a vital point: The single simplest and most effective way to determine whether you have been exposed to radon gas is to get a radon test in your home. This testing can be carried out at any point — and it’s best done on an ongoing basis, so that if high levels of radon are detected, they can be addressed as soon as possible.
This is truly the only way to confirm with certainty that you’ve been exposed to this gas, and it’s imperative to do so in order to mitigate any effects that may have arisen. A radon test will not only tell you whether radon is present, but will also note its quantity and allow you to work with professional radon mitigation experts to ensure that the levels are reduced.
As you can see, the realm of radon poisoning and exposure is a curious one — and one that is not well-understood by many people. But it’s important to keep in mind if you’re ever concerned about your health, or the health of your family members, as it can have such significant impacts. And with a simple radon test, you can know for sure whether you’ve been exposed to this harmful substance and have more information to work with.
For more on this, or to learn about any of our radon testing or radon mitigation services, speak to the staff at Absolute Radon Safety today.