Font Size
A
A
A

Environmental Illness


An environmental illness is a set of symptoms or a disease caused by chemicals, fumes, pollution, allergens, viruses, or toxins or physical hazards found in the environment. Exposure to toxic chemicals or other hazards may occur in the home, workplace, or community.

Common symptoms, including headache, cough, fatigue, and nausea, will vary according to the amount and type of exposure. Environmental illnesses may be difficult to diagnose. And they are sometimes mistaken for other illnesses.

Symptoms may occur suddenly and disappear when exposure to the substance ends, such as when dust, cigarette smoke, or pet dander triggers an asthma attack. Sometimes symptoms may not develop for years, which can occur after exposure to cancer-causing chemicals.

The first treatment for an environmental illness includes getting rid of or reducing exposure to the things causing the illness. Additional treatment is based on the specific symptoms and part of the body that is affected.

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerSarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerPeter Rabinowitz, MD, MPH - Occupational and Environmental Medicine
Last RevisedSeptember 23, 2011

eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

To learn more visit Healthwise.org

© 1995-2014 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.



NIH talks about Ebola on WebMD


Medical Dictionary