What to do About Other People's Fumes in Your Home?

Very sick. Very migrainey.

Sometimes someone smokes outside the apartment. Today someone has used cleaning fluid outside the apartment. I don’t know who or how or why. It reeks out there, and it probably explains my migraine.

Too sick to go anywhere to escape this. Too chronically ill too.

Looked online for advice, but can’t find any on BeEvil. (What would be useful search terms?) Tried asking doctor for advice in a similar situation weeks ago, haven’t heard back. Can’t ask poison control for advice, because they rely on phones and don’t have funding to cover disabled people who can’t use phones. Can’t ask web poison control for advice, because they redirect people suffering symptoms, and chronically ill people to poison control.


or maybe

Though it’s a hell of an answer, isn’t it? I take it this is outside your windows, so you can’t just open the window for some (fresher) air…


I have three good air filters running, and the expensive Austin filter is supposed to help with fumes as well as particulates, though it’s not supposed to be an immediate fix. I replaced two of the filters for the filters over the past week. The windows don’t open, due to water damage. One other door does open, but I turn off the air filters before doing that.


Plants. Lots and lots of plants. You can research which ones are best at sucking in the air and outputting oxygen based on your home’s lighting/window/temperature configuration.

One time I had heavy smokers next to me with only an exposed brick wall between us. I know exactly what you’re talking about!


The struggle is real. My old downstairs neighbors world cook intensely strong smelling curries every night and burn incense and it would flood our condo with stank. It was unbearable in the summer since we would have to choose between gagging from the smells or baking in the heat. Don’t get me started on cleaning chenicals, too.

Even with the windows closed there was little relief as the fumes would seep through any cracks or openings in the drywall, framing, etc. I tried spray foaming every crack and gap I could. We ran two huge air purifiers 24/7. Nothing helped.

There was shit we could do about it other than move or wait for them to move which they thankfully did eventually.

Best of luck to you.

ETA: don’t get me started on my chain smoking neighbors two floors down…


Would it be possible to create at least one room in your apartment as a positive pressure environment, if you’re not already doing this?
I’m vaguely thinking of smaller HEPA type aircon unit that takes the air in from an already filtered room. The air would be scrubbed twice before filling the room and the positive pressure would reduce things getting in. Taking the air intake from another room would also lower the pressure in that room and help with positive airflow.
Depending on your budget and conditions though.


No, not really. I tried protecting one closet against noise, but it didn’t work well enough.


Pity. I was sorta thinking that the white noise from aircon and messing about with airflow would create somewhere that while not being perfectly free from the outside world, would be maybe a touch better.

But I don’t know enough your condition to offer any proper useful advice, so just consider this just a post of support and sympathy instead.


Are they carbon filters? For odors, carbon is generally the best (especially for something like cleaning fluid).


I think the Austin contains a carbon filter. The Filtretes don’t.

I don’t smoke, love strong flavors/smells, and don’t have allergies. And even I despise constant odors. There are three ways to combat then:

  • Activated carbon
  • Oxidizers and ozone (which isn’t for the faint of heart)
  • Deliberate air flow

I could suggest quite a few evil things, but they usually involve power tools.


my downstairs neighbors have a “garden” apartment. read: access to a ~8 foot wide concrete alley. for some reason, they like to set up their grill DIRECTLY under my living room air conditioner (and pretty damn clise to bedroom window too, on the only side of the apt I have windows… and they suck and grilling so they douse it in lighter fluid. the landlord was actually pretty responsive…until she wasn’t. they also have like 6 yappy yorkies, amd smoke. i fantasize about dumping things on them, as polite neighborly requests get nowthing but self-righteous retorts.

I wosh I had more than “I feel your feels” but so far all I have are fantasies of moving upstate…


Do any of them have an ionizing function? It could be pointless for all I know but running my fan with the ionizing function on seems to take care of, or at least reduce, smells.

And I hope you feel better soon. Migraines are horrible.


I’m trying the ionizer.

Next question: What to do about the state-mandated migraine-inducing pain-beatings?

I just got beaten up again and I’m sick of it. I have hyperacusis, and pain hurts, and backup-painhammers really fucking hurt. I haven’t been able to measure them.

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I used to get migraines all the time, until a friend of mine who is a pharmacist recommended magnesium supplements. There are lots of different things that can cause migraines so who knows if it will work for you, but magnesium is extremely common in a lot of foods so there’s no harm in giving it a go. I haven’t had a migraine in years, although there have been some close calls.

From everything I’ve read a migraine is very similar to a muscle cramp, so if you’re getting those or just twitchy or restless muscles then it could be another symptom of the same problem. After a nerve activates, be it in your muscles or your brain, there is a secondary reaction which needs to take place in order to deactivate the nerve and reset it. The reaction requires magnesium, but oxygen can apparently be used in its place somehow I don’t know I’m not a chemist. If there’s not enough of either to complete the reaction then the nerve will continue to fire until it’s exhausted, which in a nutrient-depleted brain can have a cascading effect causing a great big seizure that hates you in your visual system. My migraines are caused in part by respiratory problems (usually for me in conjunction with exercise) so if you think bad air might be setting you off maybe you can compensate with a magnesium supplement.

You want to find something with vitamin B6, which helps your body to process it, and take it with food. Water soluble ones can work impressively quickly, you can kinda feel it spreading through your body like a morphine shot, so if you try that first you should be able to get an idea of if it’s going to work for you. Now I take a pill, 300mg per day, and I don’t think about it.

Hope that helps. I can get weirdly preachy about magnesium sometimes, but migraines are the pits and in a small way it changed my life. I feel sort of obliged to spread the good word.


Thanks. I already take magnesium supplements.

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