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lilykuh

This May Seem Like A Crazy Question

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As a background, I've been gluten-free for about 2 years. Tests for Celiac were negative, but I'm allergic to wheat and can't tolerate any gluten at all. Since adjusting to the diet, I've been fine. The inconvenience is well worth it because I feel so much better. This may sound like a crazy question, but I'm asking anyway. I've worked in the same building for the last 15 years, and from the very first day I've had an allergic response to it. It's the only building I've ever been in that's affected me this way. I've never had any idea what it is that bothers me. My employer had the area where I work tested for mold and for air flow and pressure. Everything was within normal limits. The building is old, 1888, so I've assumed it's probably something specific to old buildings even though I've never had any problems with other old buildings. It's not related to seasons, it's just a constant irritation. I've been allowed to move my office to a space where there's a window that I keep open for fresh air, and with that I've managed to work--feeling fine on Monday morning and gradually getting worse till Friday, when I often have an earache, am dizzy, and my ears are stopped up. I just found out that before this building's current use, it was a bakery for 50 years. Very little remodeling has been done on it. It's still the original walls and floors, with some newer dropped ceilings. It's a very large brick building with lots of dead spaces. Is it possible that the wheat and flour that would have been here during the 50 years of baking is the source of my allergy? Could it still be hanging around in the air and dead spaces above the drop ceiling? On one hand it sounds impossible, but at the same time, wheat and gluten are the only things that I know I'm allergic to, and this is the only building I've ever had this problem with.

Thanks,

Lilykuh

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Welcome to the forum Lilykuh.

You have come to the right place to help you find answers.

First off, are they doing any remodeling in your building with drywall? I have heard from here that drywall and the mud they use contains gluten.

I guess it is possible that the flour is in the air ducts. Anything is possible I have found out.

Hopefully others have some ideas or experiences to help.

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"Within normal limits" - meh. <_< More likely it's mold or fungus and dust in the air heating and cooling ducts and you are supersensitive.

The only other thing could be that somehow you are getting cross contaminated by something that you eat or drink there.

Can you get one of those plug - in, electric air filters ? Some of them are truly amazing. We have crummy air quality here sometimes where I live in the summer, between the smog coming up into the edge of the foothills, and the diesel exhaust, and smoke from forest fires, it's an allergy nightmare if the breeze is not blowing it away. I went for an auto repair on a bad day, and noticed that the waiting room had one running and that I could actually breathe in there, and after quizzing the receptionist about it, we went ahead and got one for the house.

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Welcome to the forum Lilykuh.

You have come to the right place to help you find answers.

First off, are they doing any remodeling in your building with drywall? I have heard from here that drywall and the mud they use contains gluten.

I guess it is possible that the flour is in the air ducts. Anything is possible I have found out.

Hopefully others have some ideas or experiences to help.

Thanks, Dixiebell. There's no remodeling going on now, but if drywall and mud have gluten in them, that probably explains why I felt worse when they remodeled my first office. I expected I would feel better, having everything fresh and new, but my allergies were worse afterwards. That's when they let me move to the office I'm in now. I do think if there is flour dust still in the building, that it could be in the air ducts. They run through and vent into old dead air space. I was told that air pressure keeps the flow of air going out and that the old stale air can't be pulled through the air vents. But if there are flour dust particles, seems they could fall down into the vent openings, even if the air flow is going out. I've only worried about eating wheat. Can you have an allergic reaction if it's in the air?

Lilykuh

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"Within normal limits" - meh. <_< More likely it's mold or fungus and dust in the air heating and cooling ducts and you are supersensitive.

The only other thing could be that somehow you are getting cross contaminated by something that you eat or drink there.

Can you get one of those plug - in, electric air filters ? Some of them are truly amazing. We have crummy air quality here sometimes where I live in the summer, between the smog coming up into the edge of the foothills, and the diesel exhaust, and smoke from forest fires, it's an allergy nightmare if the breeze is not blowing it away. I went for an auto repair on a bad day, and noticed that the waiting room had one running and that I could actually breathe in there, and after quizzing the receptionist about it, we went ahead and got one for the house.

I don't think it's cross contamination because I only eat and drink what I bring from home.

I have to give my employer credit, they called in OSHA and did some very thorough testing, and they let me read all the reports. Of course there are hundreds of kinds of mold, and they can't test for all of them. But I felt like they made an honest effort to find the source of the problem. I've tried two different kinds of air filters and neither one made a difference. What type of filter do you have?

Lilykuh

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Hopefully the poster with the air filter advice will get back to you with the brand. One other thought, when you are at work and use the rest room do you use the soap they provide? If so have you checked to make sure it is gluten free? Do you prepare your lunch in a shared lunch room or eat at a local restaurant when at work? You could be getting CC at lunch time. Does your office have a coffee pot that everyone uses? If so do you use flavored coffee's in it? Is there anything you use at work that you don't at home, hand sanitizers, cologne, air fresheners, anything different that you don't use or eat when not working?

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Years ago I started getting rashes at work. I would notice they would get better over the weekend and then worsen as the work week went on. I only have skin allergies but the reaction was delayed. I was going crazy trying to figure out what it was. It was the new rugs. The rugs went and my hives disappeared. Do you wear dry clean clothes during the week but not during the weekend? I'm also allergic to the chemicals in home dry cleaning kits (tried it once on a down pillow and that was enough). I hope you solve your mystery.

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You were saying you feel like you're allergic to it - so do you have a different response to the building than you do to gluten?

What's your reaction?

Because honestly? Oh heck yeah you could be allergic to your building, but not necessarily the gluten, although an allergy to wheat would do it, too.

They are making plywood in the last few years that they add wheat to, more than just the glue. Lots of 'green' things now are adding more natural products to them, which we can react to allergically. Like soy oil and wheat oil being used to make some of the plastics inside cars (Ford Fiesta is one, for example, that has this). Paper is now sometimes using wheat straw along with the wood pulp (more common in Canada than USA, I believe). Carpets usually have soy, from what I read on some soy allergy sites. A glue or polish can easily have something that gets you. Or paints, or old glues, or ceiling tiles, or the chairs and tables that you use - honest to god, you would not BELIEVE the things that can get you if this is an allergy.

If touch is enough to be getting you, anything in the building could be a potential problem. :(

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