If strong perfumes, cigarettes smoke or walking down the lawn care isle of your local hardware store make you feel sick, disoriented, or cause breathing problems, then you are what we call chemically sensitive. Chemical sensitivity is a contributing factor in the allergy, intolerance/reactivity continuum and one that most doctors many overlook. Even allergists, don’t routinely screen for or advise their patients on chemical sensitivities even though their patients with allergies, asthma and COPD (and emphysema) are likely to be highly sensitive to environmental allergens.
Immune response reactions
Very often, people will have both immediate and delayed immune reactions with the cause of those delayed reactions going unknown for years. As you learn to live with these delayed reactions it can lead to hyper sensitivity to other environmental substances you’re exposed too. This is called chemical sensitivity and it is very common among those with true immediate response allergies as well as those diagnosed with asthma, COPD and probably even emphysema. We also know that people with ASD, (Autism Spectrum Disorder) as well as people with autoimmune conditions or who have a compromised immune system from Lyme disease or mycotoxins are highly reactive to man-made chemicals in our environment .
People who become chemical sensitivity very often notice that certain smells and airborne substances are intolerable for them and make them feel very sick. To make matters worse people who work or live around these chemical sensitive people may not understand how their behavior may trigger a reactive event. Unfortunately, there is a lack of awareness on the part of most of the public about this issue. I have had several clients tell me they have been ridiculed by others and told they were imagining things!
Common airborne triggers for people with chemical sensitivity
- Cigarette or cigar smoke
- Auto exhaust
- Perfumed products
- Cleaning products
- Gasoline & other petroleum based products
- Lawn fertilizers
- Paint and varnishes
- Off gassing & VOC’s from new furniture and carpet/tile and wood products
- Laundry detergent and fabric softener scents
- Chlorine pools
- Cleaning solvents & household cleaning products
- Pesticides on foods
- Preservatives and sulfates used in food preparation
- Mold and mildew smells
- Poly fluorocarbons found in plastics
What kinds of reactions do people have who are chemical sensitive?
Depending upon the severity of sensitivity, symptoms precipitated by exposures to toxic compounds can range from the subtle to the dramatic, the mild to the extreme. And any organ system in the body can be affected.
The most common symptoms include headache, fatigue, weakness, muscle and joint pain, depression and irritability, anxiety and panic attacks, insomnia, dizziness, nausea, impaired memory and mental focus, difficulties breathing and swallowing, cough, gas and bloating, urinary frequency and urgency, visual disturbances, palpitations and chest pain, nasal congestion and sinus pressure, burning of the eyes and nose, and skin rashes.
Anyone who has been diagnosed with asthma, COPD or emphysema can clearly see the impact these manmade toxins are having on their health. Those with autoimmune issues including chronic fatigue should also recognize these contaminates as a source of their health problems and take steps to mitigate their exposure.
Download the Chemical Sensitivities Q’s here:
Steps to take if you determine you have chemical sensitivities
- Limit/ reduce exposures by switching to non-toxic and plant based home, garden and health and beauty products. Many you can make yourself. Download the PDF Here: Chemical Sensitivities personal care handout
- Avoid places where exposures to chemicals are high.
- Support gentle detoxification by drinking more water.
- Reduce inflammation and quiet immune response by uncovering and removing reactive foods such as gluten, corn, soy, and dairy.
- Strengthen the core of your immunity in your GUT by addressing nutrient mal-absorption and repairing leaky GUT.
- Optimize yourself nutritionally by increasing the amount of organic produce you eat each day. Eliminate commercially grown produce that has been grown in a chemical laden. GMO environment. Eating more cruciferous and sulfur containing vegetables (ok for most people but not all) and a wide variety of brightly colored fruits and vegetables helps reduce free radical damage.
- Add supportive supplements such as NAC, quercitin, beta glucan, bio-flavanoids, vitamin C, E and magnesium, carotene, selenium, grape-seed extract, licorice root, ginkgo leaf & Japanese Honeysuckle. Visit my virtual dispensary for a more complete listing of products under the Respiratory Support category. Virtual Dispensary
- Stimulate your lymph for improved detoxification by dry brushing, walking and rebounding. Read my post on Lymph HERE:Lymph flowing river of life
- Consider taking infrared sauna treatments for help removing toxins.
- Take Epsom salts baths to help draw out toxins and relieve aches and pains and increase magnesium absorption.
- Food intolerance testing assays; IgG, IgA
- Hair Analysis to check for heavy metals
- Toxic Elements Panel Testing
- Organic Acid testing
- MTHFR testing
- Iodine loading Test
Resources & further reading: