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symptom

Chemical sensitivities

Symptom

If you can smell someone else’s perfume a mile away or can’t last two minutes in a freshly painted room, chances are you’re dealing with chemical sensitivities. You may have heard the term “chemical sensitivity” before, or you might be more familiar with the phrase “multiple chemical sensitivity.” What’s the difference? Multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) is a medical syndrome or condition, while chemical sensitivities are the symptoms, ranging from mild to severe, that people with a heightened sensitivity to chemicals experience. For those with MCS, it can go beyond just perfumes and paints: some people are even sensitive to electromagnetic fields! Whether you have an official MCS diagnosis or are dealing with chemical sensitivities symptoms, you probably already know that exposure to environmental chemicals can lead to a huge range of health problems, from headaches, itching, and nausea to fatigue and muscle and joint pain. It can also cause more serious conditions, like inflammation, autoimmune disease, and even cancer. While many chemicals are made from harmful and toxic substances, no one is totally sure why some people are sensitive and others aren’t. Some people think it involves limbic system dysfunction, which means you’re overreacting to small amounts of these stimuli. This is definitely a frustrating symptom to have, but a skilled practitioner can help you figure out what's really going on. For some people, relief can come from avoiding the offending smell or toxin (which is always easier said than done, we know—you can’t exactly control the perfume Aunt Helen wears to Thanksgiving dinner, or the car deodorizer your Uber driver uses, or the chemicals you encounter on the street, bus, or subway!). When simply avoiding specific triggers doesn’t work, some people have found that an elimination diet or neural retraining (such as DNRS) might also help. Ask your WanaFam to find out what has helped them!

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