Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Diagnosing & Treating Chemical Sensitivity

From our birth onward, we are all exposed to a number of synthetic chemicals, pollutants and volatile organic compounds (VOC’s). The body may not exhibit immediate reactions to these compounds, but with time they can build up, eventually reaching a critical mass and eliciting an allergy-like response, much like adult-onset allergies. Despite many of these cases being under or misdiagnosed, reports of chemical sensitivity are undoubtedly on the rise.

How do I know if I am Experiencing Chemical Sensitivity

  • Upon exposure to the suspected irritant, you experience an allergic reaction while nearby family members or friends do not experience any discernible symptoms.
  • The symptoms are chronic, meaning you reliably experience symptoms every time you are exposed to the suspected irritant, and the symptoms subside when the trigger is removed.
  • You are especially at risk if you suffer from autoimmune disorders such as Fibromyalgia.
  • If you have experienced heavy exposure to strong chemicals during a catastrophic event, such as the Gulf War or 9-11, you may even suffer from Multiple Chemical Sensitivities, which is considerably more complex and difficult to treat.

How do I Treat Chemical Sensitivity?

While every person and each condition is unique, there are few strategies that often help to alleviate chemical sensitivity symptoms.

  • Identify the culprit. It is not always easy, but it is important to identify the chemicals that make you ill so that you can pro-actively eliminate them from your home. If you find that several different products trigger symptoms, compare their ingredients to see if they share any compounds. For example, you might discover that products containing variations of salicylic acid trigger your symptoms. (Salicylic acid can be found in anything from Aspirin to skin care products and soap.) Google terms and ingredients you aren’t immediately familiar with so that you can spot less obvious triggers.
  • Remove the trigger chemicals from your home. Once you have identified the trigger chemicals, effectively remove those chemicals from your home by eliminating the host products. Read product labels thoroughly, especially when it comes to toiletries and products you place directly on your body. Perfumes are often a major chemical sensitivity trigger, so ban all chemical household air freshens. Rather, use a microbe-based cleaner like EM•1® Microbial Inoculants which uses beneficial, naturally-occurring microbes to break-down odor causing compounds. EM•1® can also be used as a laundry detergent in the place of harsh chemical detergents.
  • Cleanse your body. Your body has reached critical mass for chemical build-up, so it would be an excellent time for a cleanse to clear out any lingering chemicals in the digestive track. Teraganix recommends a raw probiotic product like Dr. Higa's Pro EM•1® Daily Probiotic Clease. Also, if you are not already, consider buying organic foods, as chemicals from pesticides and synthetic fertilizers can also trigger symptoms. If you grow your own food or garden at home, be sure to only use organic plant food and enzymes as well as organic lawn fertilizer.

Please keep in mind that these recommendations are not intended to replace professional medical treatment. If you are experiencing chronic symptoms, seek out a medical professional immediately.

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