What is Multiple Chemical Sensitivity?
Multiple chemical sensitivity, also known as MCS, can best be described through a scenario. Let’s say that you get on the subway and sit next to someone that has a lovely smelling perfume or cologne on. Although it smells nice, it is also very strong and suddenly your eyes begin to water and you begin to sneeze uncontrollably. After getting off the subway, you pass a florist on the street that is spraying his flowers with pesticides. This also makes your eyes water and forces you to sneeze constantly. This is an example of what a person with MCS goes through. MCS is a world-wide health problem that is caused by our toxic environment. It is characterized by an extreme sensitivity to chemicals.
Symptoms of MCS
A person with MCS may have an immediate or delayed reaction to chemicals. Because there are so many symptoms associated with MCS, it is often misdiagnosed. Listed below are some of the symptoms that may occur after being exposed to chemicals.
- Difficulty breathing
- Neurological problems
- Joint pain
- Short-term memory loss
- Visual changes
- Dysfunctions of senses
- Loss of smell
- Sinus congestion
- Burning eyes and throat
- Digestive problems
- Irregular heart beat
- Behavioral changes
Challenges Associated with MCS
When you are living with MCS, it seems as if the world is out to get you. Even chemicals within your own home can upset your body and cause all or some of the above mentioned symptoms. Formaldehyde is a chemical that enters the air you breathe inside of your home from laminated furniture, carpet, plastic, insulation and adhesives. Other dangerous chemicals such as household cleaners, solvents, pesticides and lawn chemicals can also get into the air in your home. In order to remove these chemicals and breathe easy, it is recommended that someone with MCS have an air purifier to continually clean the air of harmful chemical contaminants and odor.
Many personal care products have synthetic chemicals in them that can onset symptoms that could affect your health long-term. To prevent these reactions, a person with MCS might use irritant free products.
Most people with MCS find that the food they ingest is another key source of chemical exposure. For many, switching to organic food makes a difference in their overall health. MCS sufferers should pay close attention to the food labels though. Many are not yet FDA approved. Make sure that your selection is organic and not just “all natural”. The organic food market has dramatically increased in the past few years. More people are turning to it for healthcare reasons and because it is making some feel better and have more energy.
How to Survive MCS
The key to surviving MCS is to stay away from substances that will trigger the onset of symptoms and to improve your indoor air quality. Some people are so sensitive to so many different chemicals that they do not allow synthetic materials in their homes. Others know what chemicals onset the symptoms and are able to avoid them more easily.
MCS patients can take advantage of Smelleze® Reusable Deodorizer Pouches. They clean your air by absorbing toxic odors and indoor air pollutants without covering up with harmful fragrances or chemicals. These hazardous chemical odors and contaminants are given off from a wide variety of products and can be harmful to your health. They include mothballs, paint, solvents, pesticides, fragrances such as perfumes and air fresheners, adhesives, smoke, dry-cleaned clothes, and cleaning agents, to name a few. Researchers say that these types of chemicals and odors can cause a number of medical problems, including MCS and respiratory problems.
Organic bedding, natural personal care products, organic food and air cleaners like Smelleze® will be an MCS sufferer’s best friends. Even if you do not have MCS, please remember that these toxins enter your body just like everyone else’s. MCS can develop at any time. Staying away from these toxic chemicals will help you to achieve a healthier immune system and avoid MCS.
Louise Baker is a freelance blogger and journalist who writes for Zen College Life, the directory of higher education, distance learning, and online schools. She most recently wrote about the top online colleges.