E. Coli & Its Symptoms

fp-ecoliE. coli is a type of bacteria that normally live in the intestines of people and animals. However, some types of E. coli, particularly E. coli 0157:H7, can cause intestinal infection. Symptoms of intestinal infection include diarrhea, abdominal pain, and fever. More severe cases can lead to bloody diarrhea, dehydration, or even kidney failure. People with weakened immune systems, pregnant women, young children, and older adults are at increased risk for developing these complications.

Most intestinal infections are caused by contaminated food or water. Proper food preparation and good hygiene can greatly decrease your chances of developing an intestinal infection. Most cases of intestinal E. coli infection can be treated at home. Symptoms generally resolve within a few days to a week.

Symptoms of intestinal infection generally begin between one and five days after you have been infected with E. coli. Symptoms can include:

  • Abdominal ramping
  • Sudden, severe watery diarrhea that may change to bloody stools
  • Gas
  • Loss of appetite/nausea
  • Vomiting (uncommon)
  • Fatigue
  • Fever

Symptoms can last anywhere from a few days to more than a week.

Symptoms of a severe E. coli infection may include:

  • Bloody urine
  • Decreased urine output
  • Pale skin
  • Bruising
  • Dehydration

Call your doctor if you experience any of these severe symptoms.

According to Johns Hopkins Medical Center, about 8 percent of those who are infected develop hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a condition in which the red blood cells are damaged. This can lead to kidney failure, which can be life-threatening, especially for children and the elderly. HUS generally begins about five to 10 days after the onset of diarrhea.

Loss of Smell

Loss of smell — anosmia (an-OZ-me-uh) — can be partial or complete, although a complete loss of smell is fairly rare. Loss of smell can also be temporary or permanent, depending on the cause. Loss of smell is rarely a symptom of a serious condition. Still, an intact sense of smell is necessary to fully taste and enjoy food. Loss of smell could cause you to lose interest in eating, which could possibly lead to weight loss, malnutrition or even depression.


The common cold is a frequent cause for a partial, temporary loss of smell. Chronic sinus infection also may result in a loss of smell. Other obstructions in the nasal passages, such as polyps, also may cause at least a partial loss of smell. Normal aging is often the cause of a progressive, complete, and permanent loss of smell.

Anosmia can be caused by temporary or permanent irritation, or destruction of the mucous membranes lining the inside of your nose. This can be caused by:

  • Acute sinusitis (sinus infection)
  • Common cold
  • Hay fever (allergic rhinitis)
  • Influenza (flu)
  • Nonallergic rhinitis (chronic congestion or sneezing not related to allergies)
  • Mold Exposure

These conditions are generally the most common causes of loss of smell.

Obstructions in Your Nasal Passages

Anosmia can be caused by something physically blocking the flow of air through your nose. These obstructions can include:

  • Bony deformity inside your nose
  • Nasal polyps
  • Tumors

Asthma Triggers Part 4 – Pets

Proteins in your pet’s skin flakes, urine, feces, saliva and hair can trigger asthma. Dogs, cats, rodents (including hamsters and guinea pigs) and other warm-blooded mammals can trigger asthma in individuals with an allergy to animal dander. The most effective method to control animal allergens in the home is to not allow animals in the home. If you remove an animal from the home, it is important to thoroughly clean the floors, walls, carpets and upholstered furniture.

Some individuals may find isolation measures to be sufficiently effective. Isolation measures that have been suggested include keeping pets out of the sleeping areas, keeping pets away from upholstered furniture, carpets, and stuffed toys, keeping the pet outdoors as much as possible and isolating sensitive individuals from the pet as much as possible.

Actions You Can Take:

  • Find another home for your cat or dog, instead of leaving them in a shelter where they may be put down or suffer from depression.
  • Investigate into the potential allergies you may suffer from prior to purchasing or adopting a pet.
  • If you have to have a pet inside, keep it out of the bedroom of the person with asthma.
  • Keep pets off of your furniture.
  • Vacuum carpets and furniture when the person with asthma is not around.

For more information, visit our website at Biowashing.com

Check Back for Part 5

Dangers of Ozone Machines – Part 1

Ozone generators intentionally produce the toxic gas ozone and are sold as air cleaners for commercial and residential applications. Specifically, they are advertised to deodorize, disinfect, kill or remove dangerous or irritating airborne particles in indoor environments.  Ozone is the principal element of the ozone layer, which traps the sun’s heat and is essential to life on Earth. Unlike breathable, stable oxygen molecules, which are composed of two oxygen atoms, ozone is composed of three. The third oxygen atom in ozone can easily detach from the ozone molecule and reattach to other substances, altering their chemistry. Ozone generators produce the gas in large enough quantities that unstable organic compounds will react with the gas and, supposedly, be altered so that they will no longer be irritating or dangerous.

  • Note that ozone can dull the olfactory sense, a fact that has led many experts to believe that ozone’s deodorizing abilities are at least partially due to an altered odor perception, rather than any change in the environment.

Health Considerations

Unfortunately, the same chemical properties that allow ozone to alter organic material in household air also give it the ability to react with organic material inside the human body. Even low levels of ozone exposure can cause the following conditions:

  • coughing, chest pain, shortness of breath, wheezing, and throat irritation;
  • worsened chronic respiratory diseases, such as asthma;
  • increased risk of developing bronchitis or pneumonia; and
  • compromised ability of the body to fight respiratory infections.

People’s susceptibility to ozone varies widely. An ozone generator should never be operated in occupied spaces, and the area should be adequately vented before people or animals are allowed to re-enter.

According to a report produced by the EPA, ozone generators are ineffective at reducing levels of formaldehyde and carbon monoxide, despite claims by manufacturers. Also, from the toxins with which ozone does react, there is a potential for the creation of new, potentially more dangerous toxins. For example, ozone mixed with chemicals from new carpet can create aldehydes, which can irritate the lungs. Other reactions may create formic acid, another irritant. The potential for chemical reactions in the average house is difficult to predict.

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Most Common House Fires

1.  The most common type of fire in the U.S. is the kitchen fire. The reason that the kitchen is the source of many fire hazards is because the kitchen is where heat, electricity, water, and grease come together.  The most common type of kitchen fire is the grease fire. A grease fire is extremely dangerous as it can get out of control quickly and spread from the stove throughout the kitchen and into other rooms of the house.

Many grease fires occur because someone leaves a frying pan on the stove unattended. They also occur when someone overheats a pan during attended cooking if the grease catches fire. Grease fires can cause serious injury and extensive property damage.  Other types of kitchen fires include oven fires and appliance fires. Fires can also get started in the kitchen when electricity comes in contact with water.

2.  Electrical fires are another common type of fire. Electrical fires are caused by a number of different factors, including faulty appliances, worn or faulty electrical wiring, improper use of electrical outlets and worn out breaker boxes.  Older homes often do not have the proper wiring to handle the amount of electrical appliances in use today. Often old wiring inside walls becomes frayed or worn, causing shorts and sparks that can ignite.

Old breaker boxes are made to shut off electrical current when the circuit becomes overloaded as a fire prevention measure, but often the connections are worn or broken and do not activate the breaker switch.  Lighting is another cause of electrical fires, which can be triggered by improper wiring or the use of bulbs that are higher in wattage than the amount recommended for the lighting appliance.

3.  Heater fires are among the most common types of fires in the months of December, January and February. Portable heaters should always have automatic shutoffs that activate when they overheat as a fire precaution.  Coil space heaters are especially hazardous because the coils will ignite anything combustible nearby. Always keep any type of space heater a minimum of three feet from anything combustible. That includes curtains, bedding, clothing and furniture. Always shut space heaters off when you’re not in the room.

Extension cords should not be used with space heaters as they generate too much electricity and can start a fire.

4.  Another major type of fire is smoking-related. Fires caused by cigarettes account for 1,000 deaths in the U.S. every year. Many times the smoker is not the person who dies.  Most smoking fires are started by embers igniting on furniture, bedding and trash cans. Smokers should always be sure cigarettes are completely extinguished before emptying ashtrays into the trash.

Never smoke in bed and never smoke when you are tired, inebriated, or drowsy from medication. Do not place ashtrays on flammable surfaces like couches, chairs, or beds where they can tip over and start a fire.  The best way to prevent smoking-related fires is to smoke outside the house and have a can filled with sand to extinguish cigarette butts.

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Water Extraction – Part 3

Some of the tools that we use to aid us in the drying process will be discussed in this session.  We will try to familiarize you with some of the equipment we use on the job, so you have a better understanding of the drying process. The essential tools of restorative drying are air movers and dehumidifiers.  Air movers are basically high powered and energy efficient fans.

High velocity air movers are commonly whistle shaped fans that are used for surface, subsurface and cavity drying situations. 
Axial fans, which are larger fans, are specifically designed for blowing air across flat surfaces such as long walls and flooring.  High pressure axial air movers are optimized for ventilation of air from an enclosed area like a crawlspace. 
Inter-Air fans are optimized for the ventilation of small or tight air spaces such as cabinets and hardwood floors. 
There are several different types of attachments or adapters that can be used on such fans as well to aid the drying process more effectively.  Adapters can be used to dry out wall cavities, while other adapters can be used to dry out hardwood flooring and inside cabinets. 

Air movers are placed in such a way as to maximize the evaporation rates of all affected surfaces.  Therefore, enough air movers must be installed to create airflow across every affected surface.  The number of air movers necessary depends upon the number of wet surfaces, the amount of water present, and the ability for air to reach each wet material.  In a Class 2 or Class 3 water loss, air movers are placed every 10 to 16 lineal feet along the wall.  Air Movers are directed toward the wall at a 15 to 45 degree angle, depending upon the type of air mover.  The Air Mover snout will almost touch the wall, which means within an inch of the wall but not rubbing.

Another vital piece of equipment in structural drying in a dehumidifier.  Being much larger than home models typically sold at department and hardware stores, Dehumidifiers reduce the moisture content of the air.  The balanced drying system is achieved when the rate of dehumidification is greater than or equal to the rate of evaporation.  There are three different types of dehumidifiers commonly used. 

Conventional Refrigerant’s are the most basic portable dehumidifiers in the restoration industry.  They remove water from the air through condensation.  Conventional refrigerant dehumidifiers operating in ideal conditions are effective in lowering high humidity to a safe level of approximately 40% relative humidity, or 55 grains per pound.

Low Grain Refrigerants are much more efficient than conventional dehumidifiers in most drying situations.  LGR’s will continue to remove vapor down to 34 grains per pound. 

Desiccant Dehumidifiers utilize chemical attraction instead of condensation to remove water from the air.  But these units are used more for drying dense materials such as hardwood floors, plaster and lath walls.  Desiccants do not collect water in a pan, instead they use damp reactivation air, which must be vented outside the structure. 

Placing the right number of dehumidifiers helps ensure that the indoor humidity does not linger above 60% relative humidity for any length of time, and is brought down to 40% relative humidity or lower within 24 hours.  A restoration contractor must be aware of volume of air, classification of water loss, dehumidifier factor table and the capacity of the dehumidifier.  Simply placing a few fans and a dehumidifier in a water loss situation will not automatically translate into a dry home.  Mold growth and significant material loss will occur if the structure is not done right, and done quickly.

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