Attic sickness?

I am a student inspector and just completed my 3rd mock inspection this past Tuesday, on a 40 year old home. I completed the attic inspection last. The insulation was blown-in cellulose and the hip and valley roof was in very good condition, appox 5 years old. There was evidence of previous, old water damage on the rafters and insulation. The 3200 sq ft home had no soffit vents and 2 static roof vents. I was in the attic for about 10 minutes and was not wearing a mask, my bad, I know.

By the time I got my ladder loaded up and was getting ready to leave, I was exhausted. I got home and had to take a nap. By late afternoon I felt like I was getting the flu; head-achy, light-headed, slightly nauseous, joints hurt, chills, etc. I felt quite a bit better the next morning but was still light-headed and tired. It was not until Thursday afternoon that I felt 100% again.

I have done some research and did not find where mold, dust, cellulose, or stagnant air can cause these symptoms, so perhaps just I caught a little bug coincident to the inspection. Obviously, I should have worn at least a paper mask (forgot to take it) and I have a full face respirator.

My questions are:

  1. Has anyone experienced or heard of these kinds of symptoms after being in an attic, and
  2. Is a mask, and what type, is considered essential for an attic inspection?


Never a problem the mask goes on before the attic door opens .
A great site to visit and see many things .

Having a pest control/rodent/termite license for quite a long time, it may have been a dose of insecticide poisoning.

Back in the 80’s & early 90’s we used to “dust” the attic with
nasty stuff now outlawed, like chlordane.
When you traverse the attic it makes some particles airborne for accidental ingestion.
Your symptoms remind me of a dose I got once upon a time.
Stay safe my friend! :slight_smile:

Attics and crawl spaces can be dangerous, and certainly unhealthy for humans. Animals, critters and toxics can be potentially present. Over the years I have heard many inspectors that have become exposed to such conditions, and in some instances very sick.

As stated be careful and always consider protective measures.

Is Bat Guano Dangerous? | Will It Make Me Sick?

Mask up, always, many accounts of inspectors getting sick from attic and crawl spaces.

Use the very best mask you can afford, don’t ever enter an attic or crawlspace without one.

From 1975 till about 2005 I didn’t think much about attics or crawlspaces.

Then I got COPD … get in a dusty attic in summer, come out and cough my lungs up for 10 minutes … use a mask, gloves, goggles and maybe body suit.

About 12 yrs ago one of the local home inspectors went crawling in a crawlspace without mask, gloves or body suit … That nite started felling sick; next day he was swollen up, red faced, sick, and faint headed … Went to ER … 8 days later he went home. Cut on hand, got something on it in crawlspace / mice or rat crap, bat feces, cloridane, who knows BUT we about lost him … use mask, gloves, body suit and goggles.

What Marc said. I have had that happen too

This is what I use. You can get them just about any where.

As other have already mentioned - you should always have your mask on in the attic and crawl spaces.
I was once sick when I forgot to take my mask to the atti, just like you.

Seems like this has happened to all of us at some point.

Precaution is important people. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, this kinds of sicknesses are serious.

How hot was the attic and how long were you in it? In addition to wearing a mask, heat exhaustion and heat stroke should be considered when entering a hot attic. On a 95 degree day here in Missouri, I have measured attic temperatures up to 150 degrees. I also wear a bump hat to protect my head from protruding nails other obstacles that will put a knot on my head.

Like Randy said … AND all posts are good.

I have gotten sick for a day while inspecting crawlspaces a few times. The mold may be lite at the access but the back of an unvented crawlspace I have seen layers of mold. About time you see the heavy mold and get back out of the crawlspace to grab a respirator, it is too

Russell Spriggs, a member in Idaho, once had to have an ambulance come for him. It turned out the house was a former meth lab.

Safe Practices for the Home Inspector Course - InterNACHI