According to the Extension Toxicology Network, in addition to irritating the skin and eyes, other symptoms can include "fatigue, twitching, cramps and muscle weakness, including the muscles necessary for breathing." My recovery involved physical therapy, occupational therapy, exercise and rest. A few weeks later, I got my response: an 82-page report from the EPA that made it clear to me that MS wasn’t the cause of my symptoms. This idea would be a new way of thinking, but it is time for the outdated regulatory approach to pesticides to move into the future. A young child vomited and had a seizure after sleeping on a carpeted floor that had been treated with a flea and tick carpet powder. Organophosphate poisoning can be short- or long-term. Symptoms of allergic reactions to flea bites that are a medical emergency, and include difficulty breathing (shortness of breath or wheezing), swelling of the lips or tongue, dizziness, nausea, and chest pain. A day later, my right side lost much of its strength. First I found the pesticide label online, with its information about using the product properly. Treatment of Flea and Tick Collar Poisoning in Dogs Flea collar poisoning is treated with support therapy and medication. The agency could have sent an investigator to my house in Virginia to collect evidence to determine if the pest control company had broken any laws. My decision to use a chemical pesticide in my home was a moment of weakness, a test of blind faith in a system that was supposed to protect me from harm. I then contacted the pest control company and the manufacturer to report the incident. Finally, EPA should be required to assess whether any “green” products can achieve the same results as pesticides, with less risk. What Went Wrong: Total release foggers, also called "bug bombs", can pose health and fire hazards if used improperly.The directions provided with the product said to leave the area after the fogger was activated, stay out during treatment time, and ventilate when returning. Pyrethrin and Pyrethroid Toxicity in Dogs. Here’s what matters to millennials. If you've discovered flea bites or have found fleas in your hair, consider the following advice, directly from the World Health Organization: Of course, there's a much simpler way to deal with any kind of flea problem. Most of the common flea and tick medications are topical drugs (applied to the skin over the neck/back) that contain pyrethrins or pyrethroids. Groom your pet with a flea comb. Pyrethrins are a class of drugs derived from the Chrysanthemum flower/plant, while pyrethroids are synthetic derivatives.. So I filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the EPA, the federal agency responsible for regulating pesticides. Many of these products contain strong chemicals that can potentially be harmful. This content is paid for by an advertiser and published by WP BrandStudio. Terminix® knows how to get rid of fleas on humans and pets. “It’s no big deal.”. “We can’t know for sure about multiple sclerosis,” my neurologist explained, “until you get a follow-up MRI in four to five months, to see whether the lesion is still there or if there are any new ones.” A definitive diagnosis, he explained, requires either two “episodes” like the one I had experienced, or two or more lesions on the spinal cord. I had to take some kind of action, and fast. I assumed that if there were risks or warnings or precautions I should know about, the pest control company, which we’d used to treat the exterior of our house against ants, would tell me. Fleabites have several common symptoms. The next day, my left arm and leg felt icy hot. Within a day, she was having health problems. It is important to schedule a follow-up appointment so your veterinarian can make sure your cat has recovered from the poisoning and treatment. Citizen’s Guide to Pest Control and Pesticide Safety. As I had expected — after weeks of follow-up neurological studies, blood tests and second opinions — the possible MS diagnosis was thrown out. Products are intended for specific purposes. He called the Poison Control Center to report burning eyes and a sore throat. Two kinds of flea treatments. A man set off a flea fogger in his apartment. A state-by-state look at where Generation Y stands on the big issues. I made this decision even though I’d been a “ban lawn-care pesticides from our campus” activist in college and had spent nearly my entire professional life as a communications consultant to the Environmental Protection Agency, writing materials for the public about environmentally sound behavior. Mild Poisoning or Early Symptoms of Acute Poisoning headache, fatigue, weakness, dizziness, restlessness, nervousness, perspiration, nausea, diarrhea, loss of appetite, loss of weight, thirst, moodiness, soreness in joints, skin irritation, eye irritation, irritation of the nose and throat. If you have very sensitive skin and a tendency to scarring, flea bites can lead to almost permanent scabs and marks. Yet there had been those drops on the floor six hours later. Sign up for email updates from the "Confronting the Caliphate" series. Two trips to the emergency room ruled out a stroke and a brain tumor. If you have a pet that spends time outdoors, it is important to make the environment unwelcoming for pests. Follow the tips on this page for indoor and outdoor flea and tick control as a way to avoid an infestation. But four tests involving the cerebrospinal fluid that are often used as indicators of multiple sclerosis came up positive — stunningly unpleasant news that made my mind swirl. By evening, my arms were buzzing with an odd, electric energy. Before applying pest control products directly to pets or in your home, read and follow the package directions. It also says that the sprayed area should be ventilated after treatment. If the cat is showing symptoms such as tremoring or seizing, the cat should be immediately transferred to a veterinary facility for treatment. Clear trees and brush to add more sunlight into the yard and reduce the amount of suitable habitat for deer which carry ticks. The other thing is that getting rid of them can be hard. Source. I struggled to brush my teeth, write, type and lift a fork. Consider wearing gloves when applying. Call Poison Control if: Call the poison control center at 1-800-222-1222 if the person has done any of these things and is alert: Swallowed too much medicine or the wrong kind One serious, but alarmingly common problem, is when symptoms of flea treatment poisoning occur in cats after they have been treated with a product which is specifically designed for dogs. Keep pets out of heavily wooded areas or tall grass. I never get sick in the summer otherwise, so this has to be the only explanation. Infection from flea bites can occur because of scratching the bites. The pesticide — in the form of a mist designed to fall quickly to the floor — contained chemicals to kill insects and interrupt the life cycle of fleas. Until my spinal tap and blood test results came back, he couldn’t tell me the cause. Fleas are easier to prevent than to get rid of once an infestation has taken hold. Labels contain important information about proper use. The next morning, I awoke to a headache in the back right quadrant of my skull. You can prevent flea and tick medicine poisoning from happening again by using the medication as directed. Finding pesticide residues on a food preparation surface or on a cat’s water bowl “would hang an applicator,” one state investigator told me. Flea treatment poisoning is behind over 50% of major pesticide poisonings in cats and dogs, many of them lethal. While we can’t comprehend or control the reason poisonous chemicals are marketed as pet health products, it’s easy for us to prevent flea treatment poisoning in pets. Pyrethrin and pyrethroid are insecticides typically used for treating flea and tick infestations. Poisoning signs can be seen by others, for example, vomiting, sweating, or pin-point pupils. A cat has a very different metabolism to that of a dog and, because of this, they can become very sensitive to some treatments. And my torso reacted to cold as if it were being stung by yellow jackets. This caused coughing, nausea and an aching head. The label provided the important information that children and pets should be kept away from treated areas, especially while powder is still visible on the surface. These combs are made to remove adult fleas, flea dirt, and dried blood from your pet's skin and fur. Lupus: negative. I bought essential-oil bug spray for summertime mosquitoes. Would you like to try a study question? Some products are for pets, while others are to be used strictly on carpets and furniture. Cancer cells: negative. Vomiting may be induced by the veterinary team, contingent on the chemical in the collar, and whether your pet is in a depressed state (as there could be risk of aspiration pneumonia). “And I sure wouldn’t use that stuff myself.”. You may experience hives or develop a rash near the site of a … Meningitis: negative. My doctor listened to the story of the chemical flea treatment and the coincidental timing of the onset of symptoms, and then rushed out of the room to call the manufacturer of the chemical spray. This national hotline will let you talk to experts in poisoning. Although incident reports made to the manufacturer may be considered proprietary, the manufacturer must give them to the EPA, which also collects incident reports from the public and from other government agencies and nongovernmental organizations. The best way to control fleas and ticks is to keep them from contacting your pet or entering your home or areas surrounding your home in the first place. (Dayna Smith/FOR THE WASHINGTON POST). Lyme disease: negative. Signs of Flea Control Product Toxicity in Cats and Dogs. Ticks are potentially disease-carrying parasites that attach to pets as well as people. It is important to practice safety before, during and after the use of both Raid roach and flea spray. It can be caused by large or small doses. Desktop notifications are on   | Turn off, Get breaking news alerts from The Washington Post, Last winter, despite a low-level warning beacon in my gut, I hired a company to apply a chemical flea treatment in our house. Pregnant women agonize over whether to get coronavirus vaccine, Coronavirus updates: Third state identifies more transmissible variant as U.S. cases surpass 20 million, How the Dalai Lama’s reincarnation ended up in Congress’s $900 billion relief bill. At home, I threw away our conventional cleaning products and purchased all-natural cleaners. This scar or defect, I was told, had chewed away some of the protective myelin that coats nerves and transmits messages in the nervous system. No one knows why I was affected and others in my household weren’t. My doctor listened to the story of the chemical flea treatment and the coincidental timing of the onset of symptoms, and then rushed out of the room to … Use the correct product. This … What Went Wrong: They did not read the labels before using the spray or powder. Each flea product should have … Thankfully, I am completely recovered. A pruritic rash developed on her hands and arms approximately 2 hours after exposure. Without additional protections, unwary consumers will continue to turn to chemical products they assume are safe. Remove all food products and dishes from the area you treat or the spray may contaminate them. It can also be caused by abnormal immune system reactions, and it’s sometimes a complication of syphilis, measles or Lyme disease. Keep supporting great journalism by turning off your ad blocker. Soon my test results started streaming in. I felt a bit woozy and off balance and figured I was coming down with a cold. Poisoning from powders and sprays used to treat a flea infestation is more common than poisoning from collars. My mental recuperation required research. They bite and their bites are itchy and sometimes painful. Signs of a negative reaction include headache, dizziness and seizures. This hotline number will let you talk to experts in poisoning. The most common signs of toxicity from pyrethrum-based flea products are muscle tremors and excessive salivation. And they need regulatory backup protection. Regularly vacuum areas where your pet spends any time to remove food, larvae and eggs. The next morning a man came to our house with two aerosol cans of a pesticide and targeted our hardwood floors and rugs, as well as the concrete floor in the basement. Eisenfeld is a writer and editor in the Washington area. Standing up in the shower and lathering my hair became things I could no longer do at once. Many overburdened hospitals are not offering it. This damage was scrambling messages being sent throughout my body about temperature and pain and strength and balance. Congress and other policymakers should reform the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act of 1947 and the EPA regulations that implement it. Cats are more vulnerable than dogs to poisoning from flea and tick treatments. In another 24 hours, my fatigue was so intense that even if the house had been on fire, I couldn’t have peeled myself out of bed. To guard her cat, Hobo, against fleas, Sue Eisenfeld had her home sprayed with a pesticide. When we called the pest control company, the manager was perplexed. It can also be toxic to the nervous system, particularly if ingested. That is why it is very important to avoid scratching the bites. Its wide margin of safety in humans is thought to be due to the fact that the target of fipronil is found only in insects and not in mammals. Some are for pets, some for furniture or carpets; others may be for people. Reducing Poisonings from Flea & Tick Control Treatments, Health & Safety in the Home, Workplace & Outdoors, Clinical Guidelines, Standards & Quality of Care, All Health Care Professionals & Patient Safety, Tick and Insect Repellents: Deciding on their Use, Safety Precautions for Total Release Foggers, Addressing the Opioid Epidemic in New York State, Learn About the Dangers of "Synthetic Marijuana", Help Increasing the Text Size in Your Web Browser. This is presumably due to their smaller size relative to dogs, their grooming habits (frequent licking of fur), and their absence of enzymes needed to detoxify certain organophosphates, according to NRDC. To prevent the worst of the irritation, you should put on a pair of gloves, goggles and a mask before you attempt to use the poison. What Went Wrong: Total release foggers, also called "bug bombs", can pose health and fire hazards if used improperly. A seven-year review of exposures reported in 11 states showed that the majority of people exposed had mild temporary symptoms including headache, dizziness and tingling … They will give you further instructions. Do not touch treated pets, carpet or furniture until the product dries. Wisconsin pharmacist who ‘intentionally’ spoiled more than 500 vaccine doses is arrested, police say. We went to the source. “It’s concerning, however,” my doctor said. Do not use dog treatments on cats, or cat treatments on dogs. Your local poison center can be reached directly by calling the national toll-free Poison Help hotline (1-800-222-1222) from anywhere in the United States. I could have left it at that: gratitude, a new beginning, a renewed commitment to health. Or purchase a subscription for unlimited access to real news you can count on. What this told me was that the technician had not given me enough information. Manufacturers should also be required to tell the EPA and consumers what the “inert” or “other” ingredients are that can make up 95 percent of a pesticide product: Some of these substan-ces can be even more toxic than the active ingredients. The directions provided with the product said to leave the area after the fogger was activated, stay out during treatment time, and ventilate when returning. You will also learn how to treat and prevent the bites to avoid this problem in the future. This is why flea treatment is applied using a pipette on the nape of the neck. He put me on a megadose of intravenous steroids for five days, then steroid pills for a week. Not wanting to waste time on home remedies that might not work, I thought, “Let’s just get it over with.”. Oct. 16, 2008 -- Total release foggers (TRF) -- more commonly known as "bug bombs" -- are designed to kill bugs and pests, but they can also harm humans. A woman used a carpet and upholstery spray on her dog and inhaled the mist. Flea Bites on Humans: Symptoms and Treatment. Apply only the recommended dose; more can be harmful to you and your pet. I wanted to know more about this pesticide. But an MRI scan showed a lesion on the spinal cord in my neck. So here’s what I learned: Consumers must receive more information about the pesticides being used in their homes. Signs and symptoms of pyrethroid toxicity include abnormal skin sensation (e.g., burning, itching, tingling, and numbness), dizziness, salivation, headache, fatigue, vomiting, diarrhea, seizure, irritability to sound and touch, and other central nervous system effects (4,7). My icy-hot sensation began to fade, and my strength began to return, although a full recovery took several months. Among the complaints in the moderate and major medical incidents were dizziness, difficulty breathing, difficulty swallowing, muscle weakness, tremors, abdominal pain, disorientation, stumbling, coma, seizure, liver failure, lethargy, numbness, blurred vision, chills, blood in the urine, memory loss, migraines, inability to walk and heart attack. Six hours later, my husband and I returned home and found big wet drops all over the floors. My spinal cord lesion — attributed to, as my neurologist put it, “an autoimmune response to pesticide exposure” — had vanished. My husband and my cat were fine. Routinely check your pet for fleas and/or ticks and remove them immediately. Not obeying the label instructions is a violation of federal and state law, and in Virginia, the company could be fined up to $5,000 for this violation, a penalty that could motivate it to train its technicians better and provide homeowners with more information. The federal law should require an assessment of such alternatives as part of the pesticide approval process, eventually restricting the use of certain chemicals as safer approaches and technologies become available. I decided to trust “the system” — which, I reasoned, was created to protect consumers, after all. What Went Wrong: The area had been recently treated. He called the Poison Control Center to report burning eyes and a sore throat. Prompt action during pesticide overexposure can prevent serious consequences. The two types of products should not be used interchangeably. If the product gets on your skin, wash immediately. I avoid processed foods with ingredient names I can’t pronounce, use reusable tote bags, avidly recycle and drive a low-emissions car. “What about pesticide exposure?” I asked. By following a few simple tips, you can limit your risk of exposure to potentially harmful chemicals and prevent a more serious health issue. This article was excerpted from the May issue of Health Affairs and can be read in full online at www.healthaffairs.org. Only one covid-19 treatment is designed to keep people out of the hospital. The report showed that from 1992 until early 2010, 156 “minor” human incidents had been reported to the agency concerning the product used in our house, as well as 24 “moderate” and 515 “major” human incidents. The technician didn’t provide any instructions other than to take the cat and stay out of the house for three to four hours until the product had dried. She, too, developed multiple symptoms. Yet, the desire for quick, no-fuss ways to get rid of bugs will never fade. A week after my symptoms began, a neurologist diagnosed the problem as transverse myelitis, an inflammation of the spinal cord. If you have pets, there's a good chance at some point you may have to deal with an annoying infestation of fleas and ticks. 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