Chemical allergies, also often called chemical sensitivities, are generally a result of a direct exposure to one or more toxic chemicals that damage or adversely affect the body’s immune system response.
The term is sometimes used interchangeably with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) or Environmental Illness (EI), although there are usually some differences in all 3 syndromes depending on the causes, symptoms and treatment regarding each person.
Toxic exposures can be experienced in minimal or massive levels to common chemicals found in pesticides, various buildings materials, foods, cosmetics, petrochemical products, herbicides as well as to a wide variety of other products and environmental conditions.
Symptoms of Chemical Allergies
Various symptoms can result among patients, depending on the duration of an exposure, type of toxic chemical or chemicals to which one has been exposed and on each person’s individual immune response to the exposure.
The symptoms can cover a huge range of minor to major responses that include:
- shortness of breath
- rashes, sores and blisters
- extreme fatigue
- burning sensation in eyes, ears, nose, throat and skin
- reddened inflammation of nasal membranes, throat, and eyes
- blurred vision
- hoarseness and/or loss of voice
- swelling of tongue, joints, hands and other body areas
- tingling and/or numbness of mouth, tongue, skin
- runny nose
- itchy eyes
- neurological problems such as lack of concentration, weakness,
- confusion, disorientation and irritation
- muscle and joint pain
- flu-like symptoms
- asthma-like symptoms such as difficulty breathing
- chest pain and heart palpitations
The development of chemical allergies in patients is extremely serious and very often damages a person’s health to the extent that he or she never fully regains normal health conditions.
Since there are so many variables involved in the causes, symptoms and health responses of the chemically injured, the treatment protocol for each person can be just as subjective and complicated.
However, the basic treatments for those who suffer from chemical allergies begins with avoidance of allergens and eliminating chemical exposures as much as possible. Many people find some immediate relief from symptoms when avoidance is practiced.
In some cases, this means a drastic change in one’s lifestyle such as moving from a house, having to quit work and becoming socially isolated because of common chemical hazards found in typical environments both inside and outside the home.
Securing ‘safe’ housing (toxic free) is generally the top priority in the initial stages of treatment for many chemical allergy patients.
Allergen identification and avoidance treatments or protocols can be guided by physicians who specializes in environmental medicine.
Dr. William Rae, Dr. Allan Lieberman and Dr. Sherry A. Rogers are just three notable physicians who are widely recognized for their major contributions to this field.
There are some licensed physicians predominantly in the U.S., the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia who are involved in treating chemically injured patients. The interest in environmental medicine is growing as more people are developing toxin induced illnesses.
Several environmental health clinics such as the Center for Occupational and Environmental Medicine in Charleston, South Carolina and Environmental Health Center in Dallas, Texas, cater to the special needs of those who suffer from extreme chemical allergies and sensitivities.
A complete treatment plan that includes testing, environmental medicine treatments and education for self care are provided, as well as personal and psychological support for patients who suffer from this often misunderstood illness.
Many patients report substantial relief and a renewed hope for future good health as a result of undergoing proper treatment for chemical allergies.
Around the web:
Chemical Allergies WebMD
Chemical Sensitivities The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America