Is my space heater making me sick or am I just unlucky this year?
January 2, 2013 11:32 AM Subscribe
I know YANMD, but I am wondering if anyone has been told to cease using a space heater due to chronic pharyngitis or similar illnesses?
posted by Young Kullervo to Health & Fitness (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I have always been a fairly healthy individual but I always come down with ONE fairly awful upper respiratory infection/cold/hay fever/bronchitis when the weather changes in the spring and autumn. That much is predictable. However, this autumn, starting around the beginning of October and ending (hopefully) in early December, I've sick 3 times with, what could have been, chronic pharyngitis or sinus infections/upper respiratory infections that have lasted at least a week or more each. It is also possible I caught every strand of rhinovirus out there within the period of a month because I have been told that this was a particularly brutal year for such things. No one knows. Much like an A student who receives a string of Bs, my initial thought is that "this doesn't happen to ME" so I began looking for possible causes. I am starting to suspect my space heater as a culprit for various reasons.
The first time I came down with the typical symptoms: sore throat, nasal congestion, headache, sneezing, etc. I let it pass without visiting a doctor. Not even a few days after feeling "better" I relapsed fairly harshly after waking up with what felt like a softball lodged in sinus cavity, a sore throat, nasal congestion, headache, and the NEW symptom of blood in my post nasal drip. I finally visited an immediate care clinic and they sent me away with my first ever zpac for pharyngitis (inflammation of the throat). I have no evidence that the zpac was actually necessary or effective because these bouts of illness typically last a week or so regardless, but that is neither here nor there. A few weeks later I woke up yet again with the same symptoms and finally decided to find the cause.
I have not been sick since the 4th of December, but I am thinking there are three things that could have caused this stubborn bouts of illness. Again, still no official diagnosis other than pharyngitis the one time, and every observation below is dreadfully post hoc, but here goes anyway!
1. The vigorous use of a space heater before the onset of symptoms, both at home and in my office. I had stopped using the space heater at home and the office and felt pretty fine over my holiday break. Today I returned to my office and decided to run the heater again because it is flipping freezing in here and I started to feel rather headachey/itchy in the throat almost immediately. Could the abrasive heat from these contraptions be affecting my upper respiratory system? Is this even a thing that happens?
2. Running 3 miles every night in cold weather could also be a factor. I wouldn't run during the illness but after feeling "better" I would start running again and then symptoms returned.
3. It is possible that it has just been a frankly shitty cold and flu season and everyone is getting sick repeatedly and I am no exception. I have been told this by multiple sources, but again my reaction is "But I don't get sick!"
I know my illnesses could probably a combination of all three (and the added bonus of working full-time plus teaching on the side) and I should talk to a doctor about this. I will if it continues for a 4th time but I really just want to know if anyone has had a similar experiences and if their doctor recommended scrapping their space heaters? If and when I do visit the doctor should I even bring it up as a concern? Or perhaps I shouldn't use my exercise or space heater as a scapegoat (because I really like it, my office is cold always) and just cope with the fact that my case is the same as a vast majority's this year? Thanks always!