Symptoms of Aerotoxic Syndrome
Passengers, pilots and cabin crew who have experienced an acute visible or invisible fume event, or long-term constant exposure to contaminated cabin air due to the nature of their profession or as a frequent flyer, complain of headaches, vision problems, breathing problems, muscle aching, increased tiredness, concentration, word finding problems and the inability to focus.
The toxic chemicals in these fumes attack the central nervous system (CNS) which consists of the spinal cord and the brain which is the major functional part of the CNS. Repeated exposure and/or an acute, heavy fume event can cause severe neurological injury to the CNS with many and varied symptoms, and can result in the so called ‘Aerotoxic Syndrome‘.
Many aircrew victims speak of feeling like ‘zombies’ or as if in a ‘vegetative state’, or as if they were‘permanently intoxicated’. The individual symptoms can be easily misdiagnosed and mistreated.
- Fatigue – feeling exhausted, even after sleep
- Blurred or tunnel vision
- Shaking and tremors
- Loss of balance and vertigo
- Loss of consciousness
- Memory impairment
- Light-headedness, dizziness
- Confusion / cognitive problems
- Feeling intoxicated
- Breathing difficulties (shortness of breath)
- Tightness in chest
- Respiratory failure requiring oxygen
- Increased heart rate and palpitations
- Irritation of eyes, nose and upper airways.
- And others.
Most physicians are unaware of the contamination of the aircraft breathing air with neurotoxic chemicals and the effects of a poisoning, and have never heard of the term Aerotoxic Syndrome. Due to this they often diagnose sufferers instead with psychological or psychosomatic disorders (i.e. they’ll tell you “it’s all in your mind”), Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), “mysterious” viral infections, sleep disorders, depression, stress or anxiety – or simply “jet lag”, which is caused by crossing time zones.
Such part-diagnoses on their own miss the root cause of the problem, which is a poisoning after exposure to toxic jet-oil components and jet-kerosene fumes in a confined space. Furthermore, any misdiagnosis is likely to lead to inappropriate treatments, which may make the condition even worse.
If you believe you have been exposed to such fumes please go to: Advice on Aerotoxic Exposure.