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Bathroom ceiling recently repainted

Discussion in 'Addressing Biotoxin, Chemical & Food Sensitivities' started by Calathea, Mar 11, 2012.

  1. Calathea

    Calathea Darkness therapy

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    Due to a leak from the neighbour's kitchen, my bathroom ceiling was repainted two days ago. I was ill and distracted and didn't think to kick up a fuss about having low-odour paint, so it's been done in what I think is standard eggshell, and it reeks to high heaven. There's no bathroom window, so we're just leaving the extractor fan on all day. I can't really air it out without leaving the bathroom door open, bedroom door open, and bedroom window open, and as that would leave the bedroom freezing cold and smelling of paint, and I'm mostly stuck in bed at the moment, that's not really happening. Although at some point there may be a wheelchair trip out to the middle of town, my partner is desperate to get new glasses and can't see well enough to pick them on his own.

    Does anyone have any suggestions as to how to minimise the effect of this? I skipped showering yesterday and messed around with baby wipes instead, but I really do need to shower today. Obviously I will try to be in and out of there as quickly as I can. Will it make any difference if I make the shower hotter or colder than usual?

    Is there anything else I can do for the time being to minimise the impact this is likely to have? I'm having my gallbladder out in a fortnight, so I really can't afford a crash right now. Supplements to use or avoid (preferably anything I already have, I'm broke and postage times rule out getting anything instantly)? Food or drink? Detox methods such as the heat lamp which lives under the bed? Not that I've noticed anything really works as "detox" methods claim, but you never know, it might be worth a shot.
     
  2. Ema

    Ema Senior Member

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    This may seem obvious but the best thing you can do is get the paint dry and through the worst of the off-gassing as quickly as possible at this point. The best way to do this is to crank up the heat (heat will help it dry) and open all the windows. Not very environmentally friendly but...it's short term. I would also limit hot steamy showers as low humidity makes for better drying conditions. If you have fans, I would set them up in there as well.

    Is it possible for you to make a nest somewhere else for the day where you would be out of the way of the window? Do you have a heating pad you could use to stay warm while the windows are open?

    Zyrtec antihistamines always helped me when I was exposed to paint on a jobsite. The only other alternative would be to repaint it using a zero-VOC paint that will not allow the first paint layer to breathe and offgas (ie AFM Safecoat; make sure to check the label as this is the only one I know that does not breathe).

    Hope you get some relief soon. Paint smells can be so miserable.
     
  3. Calathea

    Calathea Darkness therapy

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    Thanks, this is exactly what I was looking for!

    Cranking the heat up and opening the windows - tricky. The bathroom doesn't have a window, and I don't know how far I can air it by leaving other doors and windows open. If I am up to spending some of the day curled up on the sofa, I'll give it a try. I tried curling up in bed under the electric heated blanket with the window open yesterday, and gave up because I was too cold. Meanwhile, should I turn up the heating in the bathroom, and generally throughout the flat?

    Avoid long hot showers - duly noted.

    Zyrtec, aka cetirizine - funnily enough I was on that recently, had just stopped to see if I still needed it (I'd been getting itchy skin coming off gabapentin), and recently found a spare box of it. So thankfully it's something I know I tolerate and have in stock, and I have gone back onto it.

    Fans - the extractor fan in the bathroom is being left on all day, and it vents to the outside via ducting. I do have a couple of freestanding fans in the cupboard, but surely they would just cool the room, and you suggested heating the room to speed the process up?

    Zero-VOC paints - no idea what those are, but I doubt that the brand you mention is available in the UK. All I can find when I google it is grout sealant, of all things.

    I don't seem to be reacting too badly that I can tell. About thirteen years ago, when the ME was still mild, I was living in a flat of three students and the landlord started painting the large hallway without any warning. It took me a few hours before I could find a friend who would let me sleep on his floor, and those few hours were enough for the paint fumes to cause an ME crash that caused me to miss my university exams (ah, the days when all I had to worry about was missing exams!). I can't remember how I felt at the time, but presumably it was fairly obvious. Right now I'm generally having a cruddy few weeks of it for assorted reasons, and am having the usual ups and downs (with stress on the downs) in the expected fashion, but I haven't noticed more than feeling nauseated for a few minutes after the smell of the bathroom gets into my nose when I brush my teeth.
     
  4. Ema

    Ema Senior Member

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    You may just have to trial a few combinations of heat/fans/open windows to find what works best. The dry heat will help it dry (so yes, crank it up in the whole flat if necessary to get the bathroom warmer), the stand alone fans will move the warmer air around and help distribute it more evenly, and then I would try to create a airflow path to the windows in the bedroom where the air can be shunted out. I would also keep the extractor fan running in the bathroom.

    VOC's are volatile organic compounds and what are partially responsible for off-gassing of toxic fumes. Unfortunately there are other toxic substances that off-gas as well so only avoiding VOC's is a good first step but often not completely sufficient for those of us with MCS. But it is a good place to start when buying paint or other cleaning supplies...

    If it gets really bad, a respirator mask (not just the flimsy paper kind) will help as well. Hardware stores should have them for around $30.

    http://www.amazon.com/3M-R6211-Low-Maintenance-Half-Mask-Respirator/dp/B00004Z4EB

     
  5. Calathea

    Calathea Darkness therapy

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    I survived having a shower! Tiny bit headachy, but I've been headachy on and off for the last week or so anyway. It wasn't too bad, actually.

    Airflow is going to be tricky, but I'll see if I can manage something sooner or later. The annoying thing is that if we go out tomorrow and leave the back window open, I doubt anyone is going to climb up 22' to rob us, but I'd be thoroughly screwed if they did, so I can't risk it. On the other hand, my quilt has got to the point where I can work on it on the sofa rather that sitting on the desk, so I might try an hour or so of camping out in the other room. Although if I do that now with the bedroom window open, the room might end up too cold for us to manage by the time we want to go to bed. Argh.

    I'll see about the fans. It'd be tricky, as of course there are no electrical points in the bathroom for safety reasons, and running a cord through from the hall would leave a tripwire across my bedroom doorway. Plus they're about 9' up in the hall cupboard and my partner is tired and achy and not really in the mood for clambering on furniture to get them down.
     
  6. Sallysblooms

    Sallysblooms P.O.T.S. now SO MUCH BETTER!

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    Too bad they didn't use safe paint or let you get some. I hope it will be better soon.
     
  7. SickOfSickness

    SickOfSickness Senior Member

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    I hope it's a lot better for you in a few days!
     

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