May is Multiple Chemical Sensitivity Awareness Month
What is Multiple chemical sensitivity?
Multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS), also known as environmental intolerance, is a chronic condition characterized by symptoms after being exposed to chemicals. Often people who have MCS are also affected negatively by smells and bright lights too such as florescent lights.
After being exposed to smells, lights or chemicals a person with MCS may experience dizziness, nausea, headache, stomach ache or shakiness. The symptoms may last a few moments or they may last the day.
Have you ever walked into a store and smelled something such as someone’s strong cologne or perfume, or a cleaning agents someone recently sprayed and felt sick to your stomach? Maybe you got a headache and felt like you needed to leave the store? Well that could be a sign of MCS.
There is not a lot known yet about what causes MCS. Why some people develop this disorder is under debate. Some possible theories are Lyme disease can cause this disorder to develop.
There seems to be a link with cytokines (small proteins that are important in cell signaling and trigger allergic reactions) and conditions such as EDS, Fibromyalgia, Lyme disease, POTS and MCS. Some patients think these conditions may all be somehow linked but research is slow to catch up with patient opinion. Many believe it is just our bodies reacting to the increasing amount of synthetic chemicals we are using in our everyday lives now.
Multiple chemical sensitivity disorder can really disrupt one’s life. Trying to avoid perfume, aerosol sprays, fragrance sprays, pesticides, fire retardant clothing, chem trails, fluorescent lights and pretty much anything with a scent is getting harder in this world.
Chemicals are added to our foods, sprayed in our air, added to our water system. When you have MCS and react to everything, sadly patients start staying home in their “safe zone” to avoid the symptoms these chemicals trigger. You lose the ability to be social, to partake in any events outside your home or have a hard time going to work.
In my personal experience with MCS, I have known quite a few people who have become homeless. The friends I had could not even tolerate their own homes, mold, paint, floor sealants, all these things became poison to their system making them feel sick everyday. I have one friend living in a tent on her front porch while another lives in her car up in the mountains where she says she can “breathe.”
MCS should be taken very seriously. More research and better treatments are needed.
Here are some good websites where you can learn more about MCS.