There are several simple factors that make radon gas dangerous, and one of these is the difficulty in identifying it. Radon gas is odorless, tasteless and otherwise virtually impossible to detect with normal human senses, making it more troublesome than some other home risks — a key way of identifying it, in fact, is typically due to physical symptoms experienced as a result of radon exposure (in cases where testing has not been done, that is).
At Absolute Radon Safety, we’re here to offer quality radon testing services that allow you to detect radon in your home well before any major physical symptoms of exposure are present. However, if testing has not been done, you might also notice the presence of radon gas based on physical symptoms you or others in your home experience. Here’s a rundown of some of these symptoms and what they might be telling you.
Possible Radon Entry Points
Before we get to the symptoms, it’s important to understand a little more about how radon enters your home in the first place. Radon gas is produced as a result of the natural radioactive decay of uranium found in rocks and soil — it typically enters homes through cracks in walls or foundations, gaps around service pipes, or any other openings that exist between the home’s foundation and the outside air.
Radon is particularly troublesome because it can build up to high concentrations indoors, where it becomes a serious health hazard. In fact, the EPA estimates that radon gas is responsible for 21,000 lung cancer deaths every year in the United States — that’s more than deaths caused by car accidents or alcohol abuse!
Lung Cancer Connection
As we just noted, radon has a direct link to lung cancer, and is responsible for tens of thousands of deaths here each year. And unfortunately, this connection is also present in terms of the common symptoms of radon exposure — many of which will mimic the symptoms that come with lung cancer.
For this reason, most of the symptoms we go over in the rest of this blog will have crossover with those that come with lung cancer.
Persistent Cough and Hoarseness
One of the first and most common symptoms you might experience as a result of radon exposure is a persistent cough that doesn’t seem to go away, no matter what you do. This cough might also be accompanied by hoarseness, and can become more frequent over time as radon exposure continues.
These symptoms are often mistaken for those of a cold or other common illness, but if they persist for weeks or longer without any sign of abating, it could be an indication that radon exposure is to blame.
Wheezing and Shortness of Breath
Radon exposure can also cause wheezing and shortness of breath, as the gas can irritate your lungs and make it difficult to breathe properly. These symptoms might be mild at first, but can become more severe over time as radon exposure continues.
If you experience wheezing or shortness of breath and also have a history of smoking, it’s particularly important to get tested for radon exposure, as your risk of lung cancer will be much higher.
Coughing Up Blood
As we progress into more serious symptoms, coughing up blood is one that should be cause for major concern. If you’re coughing up blood at all, it’s important to see a doctor immediately, but if you’ve been exposed to high levels of radon gas, this could be a sign that the exposure has damaged your lungs.
It’s also possible to experience this symptom without any prior history of smoking, which is another reason why radon testing is so important.
Radon exposure can also lead to a buildup of fluid in the lungs, which can eventually lead to lung infections. These infections might be accompanied by other symptoms like fever, chest pain, and difficulty breathing.
Pneumonia is one of the most common infections associated with radon exposure, but it’s also possible to develop more serious infections like tuberculosis. If you experience any symptoms of a lung infection, it’s important to see a doctor as soon as possible.
Another common such infection is bronchitis, which is an inflammation of the bronchial tubes. Bronchitis can cause a host of other symptoms like coughing, chest pain, and shortness of breath.
Loss of Appetite
In many cases, people who are suffering from radon exposure will also experience a loss of appetite. This can lead to weight loss, as well as fatigue and weakness. If you’re experiencing a loss of appetite and any of the other symptoms on this list, it’s important to get tested for radon exposure.
Fatigue and Weakness
As we just noted, a loss of appetite can lead to fatigue and weakness, but these symptoms can also be caused by radon exposure itself. If you’re feeling tired all the time, even after getting a full night’s sleep, it could be an indication that you’re being exposed to high levels of radon gas.
If you’re experiencing weight loss with no other simple explanation, it could be a sign that you’re being exposed to radon gas. This is particularly true if you’re also experiencing other symptoms like fatigue, weakness, and a loss of appetite.
For more on the symptoms that are often caused by radon exposure, or to learn about any of our radon testing or radon mitigation solutions, speak to our team at Absolute Radon Safety today.