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Nose pain due to neighbour smoking, hair in nose falling. What could be doing this?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2005
Answered : 436 Questions
I am a 56 year old woman. 5 feet, 2 inches, about 120 pounds. I am very healthy, with no history of any health issues. However, I live in a large apartment complex in San Francisco and I believe that my downstairs neighbor is either smoking something or burning something that has been coming into my apartment and causing me intense pain way up inside my nose. I have been suffering with this for quite a long time. Recently, all the little hairs inside my nose are falling out and, within a very short period of time, I have lost about 70% of my nasal hairs, on both sides. I am very alarmed about this. I want to know what it is that he could be doing that could be causing this? He does this at night all the time, and is causing me enormous distress.
Posted Wed, 11 Apr 2012 in Ear, Nose and Throat Problems
Answered by Dr. Radhika 3 hours later
Thanks for the query.

You have provided me with good information.

You had history of Staphylococcal infection for which you were taking medication.
Staphylococcal. aureus are generally secondary infections after a cold, flu, surgery, inflammation or other trauma to the nasal membranes that alters the normal first line of defense filtering provided by the nasal passages. That means there is a possibility of your nasal hairs falling due to this.

Since you have already undergone treatment for this, it will stop falling.

You have also told about it being caused by toxic fumes by your neighbor.Many toxic fumes like arsenic, or recreational drugs do cause this kind of burning sensation in nose and hair fall.But not only the nasal hair they affect your body internally too.

You will need to go to Physician for examination and evaluation.I suggest you do a blood test to confirm this.You can also go for a hair analyzer test which will tell whether there was any heavy metal toxicity.

You could give a complaint to health authorities regarding the problem in your apartment.Sometimes it can cause XXXXXXX health problems.

I hope I have answered your query. Please accept my answer if you have no further queries.


Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Nose pain due to neighbour smoking, hair in nose falling. What could be doing this? 47 hours later
November 30, 2011
Dear Doctor,

Thank you for your response to my inquiry. Your answer was very helpful, and has pointed me in the right direction as to what I should do next. I will contact my Primary Care doctor for evaluation, and also plan to contact the Department of Public Health in my city.

The problem is that, at this point, I don’t really know what it is exactly that is coming into my apartment that is causing this – ie, what the resident below me is doing, or if it might even possibly be coming from somewhere else in the building (although I am pretty sure it is the resident below me either doing some kind of weird drugs, or even maliciously attempting to harm me. From other things that he has done in the past, I do consider him somewhat of a XXXXXXX person. Maybe I need to get a lawyer…?)

I did want to mention that this situation has been going on for a long time (2 years), and the staph infection that I developed occurred in August of 2010, so it couldn’t possibly be the medication from that which is causing my nose hairs to fall out now. Also, the little hairs in my ears are falling out as well.

QUESTION: You said I should have a blood test to confirm this. Do you mean a blood test to see if there is any kind of heavy metal toxicity?? Or, if this is due to some kind of drugs, would that show up in a blood test as to what kind of drugs they are??

See, if I knew what it WAS then I could form a more reasonable complaint. In the past, I have made complaints to the management here where I live, but I don’t know what it is, so they don’t know what I’m talking about. I don’t even SMELL anything. Most of the time, although sometimes I do smell what I can describe as maybe a burning chemical smell.

That is the problem. In the past this man was smoking marijuana very heavily, and I was able to identify (finally) that he was the one who was doing it, so that finally stopped. But I don’t usually smell anything with this at all, so if it could be identified through a blood test, that would be very helpful.

The same thing is true with going to the Health Department. It seems I would need more concrete information about what it is that is hurting me before I can file any kind of complaint. This has been the whole problem for two years, which is why I have been suffering terribly with it, without being able to say anything, or get any results when I tried.

I even thought at one point, well, maybe it’s just me. But the fact that all my little nose and ear hairs are now falling out, tells me that, no, there most definitely is something real going on here. BUT I REALLY HAVE TO FIND OUT WHAT IT IS!!

QUESTION: The other question I have is, where can I go to have a hair analysis test done?

Thank you so much for your help.
Answered by Dr. Radhika 4 hours later
Thanks for the follow up.

The blood tests may detect toxic fumes or any recreational drugs that he would have used and that you would have accidently inhaled.They might even do a urine test and hair analser. If he has really burnt marijuana , any other recreational drug or any toxic substance then there is a possibilty some percentage might be present there.There is a increased possibility it will be found in Hair analysis. Such analysis is done by a Toxicologist.

Since your nasal hair and hair in ears are also falling , this might detect the reason. If you inform the Health Authorities with the report of the toxicologist, that should be enough evidence.

I am not aware of the co ordinates in your area, you can look up in the yellow pages there.

I hope I have answered your query. Please accept my answer if you have no further queries.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Nose pain due to neighbour smoking, hair in nose falling. What could be doing this? 20 hours later
I don't have any more questions, but I just want to thank you for your input. This has really been extremely helpful!! This is a very good service, and I would recommend it to others.
Answered by Dr. Radhika 1 hour later

Thank you for your appreciation.

I will be available for further new queries.

Wishing you good health.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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