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Making Sense of Multiple Chemical Sensitivity

Members of the medical community generally accept that over the years, there has been an increase in the allergic reactions people experience after being exposed to certain chemicals.
Recently, this issue has been named Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS), and information about the problem from the National Institutes of Health mentions that it’s a chronic disease tied to intolerance to a chemical substance or class of substances.

The Challenges of Identifying MCS


Diagnosing MCS can be very difficult, especially because health professionals still have not determined what might make a person more likely than others to develop MCS. Also, symptoms can vary greatly and be similar to those experienced with other disorders. What is known though, is that it’s not necessary for a person to be exposed to high levels of chemicals before experiencing the adverse effects of MCS. Rather, many people start having symptoms following exposure to chemicals in low doses, such as those common in household environments.

Ingredients of Cleaning Supplies


If you think someone in your home is suffering from MCS, the easiest thing to do is start eliminating possible toxins. One place to start is with cleaning supplies. Many people are surprised to find that many ingredients in household cleaning agents are extremely toxic, even if not accidentally ingested.

For example, formaldehyde is often used in room deodorizers. Sometimes clothing fabrics are treated with it during manufacturing too, because it can prevent wrinkles. Because of this widespread usage, it might be hard to believe that the Environmental Protection Agency has classified formaldehyde as a possible carcinogen. Even low levels of exposure can cause lung irritation and a burning sensation in the eyes. Also, petroleum-based solvents can irritate linings of the mucous membranes and weaken the immune system, although they’re often found in widely-available floor cleaners.

Take action by seeking out naturally-derived cleaners free of harsh chemicals. A person suffering from MCS probably won’t notice immediate relief of symptoms, but changing to natural cleaning products could help target the cause of allergic reactions.

Use an Air Purifier


As allergies have become more common, manufacturers have taken notice and begun offering robust products like air purifiers specifically made to reduce harsh chemicals like formaldehyde. Some models are very low-maintenance, only requiring filter changes every five years, and able to trap over 99% of household allergens. Whether you know what’s causing MCS or are still conducting research, air purifiers can cut back on the issues that people with MCS experience, and can be effective for people with asthma, too.

Treating and Managing MCS


Information about MCS from the Ohio Extension Agency mentions that symptoms of MCS are various and may include extreme lethargy, wheezing, nasal discharge and watery eyes. However, since symptoms affect each sufferer differently, there’s not a “one size fits all” approach to treating them.

Some people believe children are more susceptible to MCS, as are adults who had prolonged chemical exposure early in life. The challenges of treating MCS have led many health practitioners to recommend that the ideal strategy is to avoid allergens whenever possible. Dietary interventions and methods of boosting immune system function could help too, although these courses of treatment have not yet been proven to be effective in large groups of MCS sufferers.

Although there’s still much to learn about MCS, physicians are beginning to discover how to help patients who suffer from it. If you or someone you know is among them, use the information above to be empowered through education and take steps to minimize symptoms.

Author Eva Martin blogs for health sites. Concerned about chemical sensitivity? Austin air purifiers will remove pollen and so will Austin Air Healthmate Plus.

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