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Having dizziness, headache and feeling light headed. Heart rate and blood test normal. What is it?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2012
Answered : 1038 Questions
Hello thank you for your time and help. I posted this inquiry 5 days ago: Hello, somebody at work was pouring lots of bleach for more than a year probably year and a half "until i found out this week and it stopped", in a manhole that is in front of the place where i work as a Doorman. that bleach was getting mixed with other detergents that they use to clean the sidewalk. One month ago after work i took a cab home, i started feeling very dizzy and light headed i took a shower went to bed woke up feeling very dizzy and my hands started getting cold, i called an ambulance i went to the emergency room they plugged some things on my chest, my heart rate was fine and everything else seemed to be fine except that y still felt dizzy. took an appointment with primary care doctor 10 days after and he couldn't find out what was going on, still they took blood samples and everything seem fine. Then in the next days i am getting a cab standing on top of the manhole and i started feeling weak and light headed again and i find out just by coincidence that this guy is pouring lots of bleach in that manhole. My doorman partner has been having respiratory problems and also was feeling weak for more than a year and his doctor couldn't tell why. Yesterday i told him why this was happening to us, still i don't feel a 100% good i feel a little light headed, headache and little weak, tomorrow i am going to take an appointment with the doctor to tell him what was going on. Can you help me telling me what to do to feel better? and if it could have done permanent damage?
Asked by Me , 6 days ago     
Doctor's reply to your question above...

Thank you for your query.

I can understand your concern. However I do not think that the bleach is the substance that is causing you feel light headed, headaches and weakness. Bleach is commonly used in washing and has a strong smell which you would not have missed. Secondly, if it was excessive then it would have affected more persons in the neighbourhood other than you and your doorman partner.

You are doing the right thing by consulting your doctor who would examine you and get you investigated to rule out all possible causes for the weakness and light headed feeling. You can request him to get a pulmonary function test done to see the condition of your lungs. Pulmonary function test would be the first ones to tell if your lungs have been affected by the bleach fumes.

Without a thorough examination and investigation it will be difficult to say what you need to do to feel better but having a healthy nutritious diet and time away from the place where you work and bleach is used should give you relief.

Please share the findings of your doctor and the investigation reports so that we can guide you further.

I hope I have answered your query to your satisfaction. Please revert back in case you need any clarifications or would like to share more facts.

Wishing you all the best.

XXXXXXX K Khandelwal
I have additional information: First you were right me and the other doorman weren't the only ones affected, today i found out that the guy who does the cleaning and was pouring the bleach in that hole is having the same dizziness problem but with vomiting too,(every morning he cleans that area) his doctor doesn't know why, a neighbor that used to seat in the benches near the door to watch the people go by with me told me that he couldn't breathe, his doctor told him that maybe he developed asthma, he has two dogs that he loves like if they were his babies he has them for many years, but his doctor not finding any reason for his breathing problems told him that maybe he is getting allergic to the hair of the dogs, it was a little heartbreaking for me to see his face of sadness more knowing that his problems are not the dogs, i told him to stay away from that manhole but i didn't tell him why, because i don't want to create any issue to the hotel where i work. Second fact: i couldn't or anybody recognize the smell of bleach because there are other substances that stay sink in there, this is like a quadrangular hole cover by a fence only, so nasty smells come out and is hard to recognize just one smell but definitely the smell is strong even after they power-wash it 5 days ago . My appointment with doctor is until next week, but this morning i felt almost like fainting in the subway, i sweated and then felt better. The hotel hired a contractor to power-wash the hole entrance and side entrance after i alerted that this guy was pouring bleach. hopefully that can prevent more people from getting sick, specially since personalities come to stay with us. I have worked there for seven years but this manhole was placed there like 2-3 years ago. I feel better since i have been staying away form the hole except from todays episode in the subway ( i was standing, felt like fainting , sat down started sweating feeling my vision a little dark i started praying after the cold sweat i felt better again, then i worked just a little light headed for the rest of the day, but now i feel ok). What type of test should i take in this case? should see an specialist? they took my blood samples and everything seems fine. Another question: Is there another toxic substance that could have been placed there strong enough to make people sick with this symptoms?
After my first episode of dizziness, light headed by instinct i was staying inside doors away from that hole which is located right in front of the door , after one month when i am starting to feel stronger i stood on top of the "manhole" or however is called for about 10 to 15 minutes(last sunday night) immediately felt bad, i finally knew, Thank God that something really strong and toxic was there, then i go and speak with housekeeping and found out this guy was poring bleach there, because another guy was telling him to do that to cover the bad smells from this hole, and this of course was getting sink there getting mixed with the ammonia from the soaps they use to clean after the garbage trucks, maybe for a couple of years. I knew that was very toxic, and that had to be stopped, now i feel like pieces of the puzzle are coming together. THANK YOU for your time reading this and apologies if i was extending myself a little bit, but i wanted to give you the hole picture.I am concerned and alarmed to find out that more people were getting sick and no doctor can tell them why, as i mentioned i don't want to create "issues" to my workplace so i feel i cant tell that to neighbors.
Posted Mon, 27 May 2013 in Medicines and Side Effects
Answered by Dr. Achuo Ascensius 3 hours later
thanks for the query.

I read with a lot of interest and i must comment that i really appreciate your effort in writing such a detail history.

Chronic inhalation of toxic or irritative substances such as bleach (hypochlorite) could be very XXXXXXX and could have permanent damages especially to the respiratory tract.

Due to constant irritation, the respiratory tract might be under permanent inflammation that would lead to scarring. The consequence will be that there will be reduce respiratory compliance ( having feeling of suffocation when doing a hard labor or running or climbing steps ) which could be worst in areas with low oxygen concentration such as in tunnels, air polluted areas, over crowded areas etc. Headaches and dizziness are not uncommon following low oxygen saturation.

The effects are even severe when mixed with other detergents, ammonia etc because toxic gases are produced that cause nervous and respiratory problems as well as headaches, red eyes etc.

When you XXXXXXX your doctor, pulmonary function tests would be done to evaluate various capacities of the lungs such as amount of air taken in and out, maximum volume of air possible to take in or send out and the amount of gaseous exchange occurring in your lungs. Also, your oxygen saturation will be taken. In severe conditions of the lungs where there is scarring, these parameters are reduce thus accounting for the reduced lung compliance.

Hope this answers your query. If you have further query, i will be glad to help.
Best regards

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