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Kamden 08-13-2002 08:05 AM

Anybody else get sick from chemicals?
I am just trying to get some people to post in here. I get very sick when around certain chemicals. I am very sensitive to smells, get dead tired, my muscles ache, get fog headed, sinuses swell shut, and sometimes get sick to my stomache. This all started after we had our bathroom redone and the drywall was floating all over our house. I went to the doctor for 6 solid months, all the time being told I had a virus, and then being diagnosed with chronic fatigue and fibromaylgia. I have since learned it is called environmental illness or multiple chemical sensitivity. Does anybody else deal with this? I also have severe summer allergies which I never had before.

mel333 08-27-2002 04:51 AM

Hi Kamden,

I also have constant sinus allergies etc, from not sure what, but I think there may be a chemical link. I also get migranes and I have noticed they can be triggered by flurescant light, fumes from paint or cars etc. I often seem to get a virus that I find hard to get rid of and I think the building I work in (rundown)is having some effect on my health. I have heard of renovating and the problems you have talked about. Sometimes it's lead, mercury etc in paint or other chemicals. I am trying to learn more about all. Let me know how your going.

Kamden 08-27-2002 08:08 AM

Hi Mel, finally somebody has posted on here! You can learn more about this by going to the library and checking out the books there on sick building syndrome, environmental illness, healthy house, etc. I learned more there than anywhere. Your headaches sound exactly like mine. I have spent almost all summer sick. I get headaches above my eyes and in my sinuses that will pound if I cough, look at a light, bend over etc. I have pressure in my head almost all the time, and I am very tired and fog headed alot. I now have alot of summer allergies that I never had before, that seem to have come on after the chemical exposure in our home when our bathroom was redone. The only thing I have seen to help this type of illness ** chemical } is avoidance, which is hard to do. I have almost constant sinus problems. They swell and I end up talking nasaly. And the constant virus thing you mentioned is exactly what the doctor thought I had ** for 6 months??!! } untill it wouldn't go away and then he decided it may not be. I get sick from some sprays, exaust fumes, new furniture from the chemicals it has been sprayed with, new carpet, linoleum etc. As you can see, not many people know about this or maybe they are posting on the allergy board. Let me know what you find out in your reading. I spent a year looking for help and found there is none for chemical illness, just regular allergy help. I am also very sensitive to mold, and found this out on my own. Maybe this is your sinus problem also. Since this spring, I have just plain gotten worse over the summer, but have noticed it seems to be around the time when it rains. In the entire summer, I have had about 4 days of feeling great, and found that the mold count was low on those days, but high all the others, as we have had alot of rain. I really need to get to an allergist. Keep me posted. Good luck on your research of this.

dawn2 08-28-2002 12:08 PM

You sound exactly like me. I am going through the same thing. I can't deal with any chemicals, new carpeting, new furniture, all these new allergies, etc. I also have fibro. I have to even order special shampoo and conditioner because of the scents they add to shampoos. I will get a horrible headache within minutes of a scented candle or plug-ins. Cooking smells even cause me to swell. What I have learned is that this is common in fibro. It has been horrible to live with. My sinuses and nasal airways are always swollen. I, too have reactions to many new other allergies, i.e. pollen, mold, etc. which never bothered me before. It has cost us a fortune in pulling out new carpeting to replace with hardwood cause I can't stand to be in the room for 5 minutes without a reaction. I even have to cook many things outside (grill or crockpot)so I don't get a headache. I truly understand what you are going through. I have done a lot of research on it and read quite a few books. It seems the only thing to help is avoidance. I wish you well as best can be under the circumstances. Dawn2

Kamden 08-28-2002 05:30 PM

Thanks for replying Dawn and sharing your story. The stories I could tell you about getting so sick from so many different things!!! ** drier sheets, my brothers new couch, a leather jacket, cleaning supplies, etc. }And all that time the doctor thinking I had a virus, and I practically had to diagnose myself!! I also have hypothyrodism and some of the symptoms to allergies are similar. So this problem lately has been hard for me to figure out because i thought all this time that it was my thyroid medicine, and that i just needed more, ** my levels are now normal though } but have noticed a huge difference in how I feel when the mold count is high. BTW, have you seen a doctor for your other allergies? Just curious because it will be my first trip ever to one, and want to know what works for you. Anyway, I am glad to know there are others who can atleast understand. Thankyou

dawn2 08-29-2002 08:41 AM

I also am on thyroid meds and saw very little difference in my allergy problem. I am on meds for hypo but my doctor wants to start me on low dose cortef because he feels my adrenal glands are exhausted (one of the reasons he says for aquiring all these allergies.) The problem is I went to an allergist 6 years ago and had a RAST test (bloodwork) and he said I was allergic to wheat, corn, soy, dairy and yeast. I avoided these for years, reading every single label. No difference, in fact, I got much worse. Then they did several thyroid tests - all came back normal. Two years ago I went to another allergist and he said your not allergic to any foods, just ragweed. I told him my nasal was so swollen and had miserable headaches,etc. Long and short, I finally found a doc who doesn't go be lab reports alone and he felt there was thyroid problem (I have heard many who have thyroid problems with fibro along with chemical sensitivities.) My second allergist just put down vasomotor rhinitis for the UNEXPLAINED swelling. I wouldn't settle for that. This new endo is going to do a bloodtest on me next month called IMMUNOLAB (bloodtest) to test over 100 foods. It's 95% accurate - so I'm told. I do believe there are foods I may be reacting to - things like vinegar - corn - things that may be mold related or yeast related. I react to the leather - all those things mentioned. I usually swell - sometimes sneeze, but mostly swell, get a headache, feel spacey, and exhausted. I can't use fabric softener or scented laundry. I use borax for laundry and that helps a little. Even the stuffing in my comforter I react to. It's probably the formaldahyde and the chemicals they use to treat it. Chemical sensitivities can cause sinusitis big time. There are places who do testing for it. If I can find the site, I'll let you know. It is usually a college based institute. I called my local group that helps give you referrals to doctors who treat you for this condition. Perhaps your fibro group may or may not know an allergist who is knowledgeable about chemical sensitivities. Beware of any solvents too, i.e., your toothpaste - mouthwash, etc. This condition really has changed my life. I can't go in pools cause of the chlorine. I have to avoid all chemicals as best I can. It is a lot of research on our part. I haven't found anything that says it gets better, avoidance is the only solution I've heard. Beware, some docs believe in this and some don't. Our immune systems have been compromised and don't know that a chemical smell, gas, or liquid is something to not attack. Do you have an appt already scheduled with an allergist? If he just shrugs it off, you may want to keep searching for one who understands the impact of chemical sensitivities. Good luck. Dawn2

Kamden 08-29-2002 09:03 AM

Dawn, I have spent the last two years going to the doctor for other problems ** back surgery, gallbladder attack } that I am taking my time going for my allergies, as I need a break from doctors. We have good insurance, and I have to go to one that is on our insurance, because we are already bogged down with medical bills, this will just add to it. I don't really know where to start but plan to make an appointment with a doctor that has been recommended to me by others. He is a GP, and I plan to tell him about my symptoms, and ask for a referral from him. About the adrenal fatigue, how do you find a doctor to check yours? I am positive I have this problem, have posted my symptoms on the thyroid board a few times, and was told both times that it sounded like adrenal fatigue. And yes I know about doctors who either don't believe in the chemical sensitivity, or have no idea it exists. I have been complaining to mine forever about my worsening symptoms, but he just checks my thyroid levels, and says they are fine. I am switching doctors, but with all the stories on here about doctors, I am worried about what this one will be like. And if all these symptoms are related, which kind of doctor would you suggest I go to? Allergy or endo? This is where I get confused. Thanks for your help.

mel333 08-29-2002 09:22 AM

Hi Kamden and Dawn,
I beleive that chemicals are often the reasons there are so many new flu like things fatigue type viruses and the whole sinus headache thing. It is difficult for dr's to treat or even attempt to understand(too timeconsuming). I have mould problems in my current home and think this could be aggravating the migranes etc. My mum also has constant headaches and is renovating now! It is so difficult to establish a direct link between all these chemicals or avoid them. I am trying to do some research on this and stay outside more as I find fresh air is the only thing that seems to help. I have accupunture and chiro which helps my neck problems but not the headaches which nothing seems to help. I am wondering about some of new my furniture and old paint in the garage. It's great to have this new message board to talk about this. Take care,

dawn2 08-30-2002 02:10 PM

If I were you, I would seek out a doctor/allergist who believes in chemical sensitivities. You may have to inquire over the phone or seek out info from your local fibro support group. I would also seek out where they can test for chemical reactions. The other thing is, I would gather more info and give it to your endocrinologist as far as adrenal dysfunction. If you do a search on adrenal dysfunction/insufficiency and chemical sensitivities, you will find a lot. Also, check under the board at gulf war syndrome - they are experiencing a lot of chemical exposure problems too. Long after your adrenals have been compromised...symptoms long persist and blood levels are and can be normal. If your present endo doesn't want to hear or treat you for this and you feel strongly in that you exhibit these symptoms, I would change doctors. My doctor has recommended a low dose of Cortef (it's a steroid) and many doctors will not go there. So, your doc may not believe in the use of steroids especially if your blood levels show normal. I haven't started it yet as I'm still researching it. On the fibro board - Meep has adrenal dysfunction and takes low dose steroids. She said it has changed her life and has no side affects. When I say low, I mean like 10 to 15/20 mg. daily. You may not want to go this way and try a more natural route. I haven't made up my mind yet. Have you ever noticed that you react to scented hand cream or a new plastic tarp - new vinyl blinds??? Any of these things fall into the chemical sensitivities. I have problems with the fabric in the vehicles! I spent so much time with other specialists that now I'm finally getting around to try and get help for the chemical sensitivities. I sure hope this helps. I know how miserable it is to be reacting to almost everything! Dawn2

dawn2 08-30-2002 02:15 PM

If you have mold in the house and react to a lot of chemical, you most likely will react to the mold. I knew one lady who had high exposure to mold and got very ill. She now exhibits muscle problems, headaches, flu like symptoms., etc. One trick I do to bring in fresh air (as long as it's not a high mold/pollen count) I cracked windows and put my filter on and it draws in fresh air. It helps me a lot. If the pollen/mold levels are high, I use filtered allergy screen on my windows. Renovating can be very difficult for one who is sensitive to chemicals. Even pre-treated wood may affect you (plywood) and paint. Hope you and your family keep the fresh air flowing. Good luck. Dawn

Kamden 08-30-2002 08:37 PM

Hi Mel and Dawn, it is so nice to be talking to somebody else who knows what chemical sensitivity is. Mel, since you are redoing your home right now, I hope you can keep the windows open as much as possible for the flooring to outgas, because this is a major culprit with chemical problems. It is actually a major reason people develope them. New furniture is also. I also have headaches alot. Untill all these new items outgas, you could try wearing a painters mask ** your mum too } to see if this helps with the headaches. Usually whatever is bothering you, you will smell the minute you walk into the house. My brothers couch made me very ill, the chemicals in it were very strong, I could smell it the minute I walked in, yet nobody else could. And Dawn, I didn't know this was connected to adrenal fatigue, I am learning more all the time. No wonder I feel like I am falling apart. Ever since my first exposure, ** when our bathroom was redone } I have had one thing after the other wrong with me. I have never felt very good since then, and it's been about 3 or 4 years. Everything seems to pile on top of each other, and i am tired all the time, my allergies are way worse, I have brain fog, trouble understanding etc. Are you saying I should go to an allergist and not an endo because my symptoms were most likely brought on by the chemical exposure? I am going to read up on the gulf war syndrome also. Handsoaps and lotions don't seem to bother me, but I think it is because I have been overexposed for so long, that my body has quit trying to fight it off. I am just tired of being tired, and confused, and no memory. New plastic bothers me, new rubber items, some sprays. Anyway, thanks for the information, and keeping writing, both of you. I will go read up on this some more. Kamden

dawn2 09-02-2002 09:50 AM

Chemical sensitivities is still an area that is being researched and doctors really don't know what causes this. The doctor I'm going to has the belief that in my particular case, it's a connection to adrenal dysfunction. This may not be the reason why you or others may have it. Another reason(according to CFIDS - Chronic Fatigue Immune Deficiency Syndrome) may be long term exposure to toxins. The body then becomes sensitive to chemicals, then a phenomeon known as "spreading" happens - where you become sensitive to many chemicals. While other studies show, even low levels of exposure to chemicals/toxins, people get MCS. So, they really do not know why some people get MCS while others who may have the same exposure do not. I attended a seminar on CFIDS and this is what they said. If you research chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia, you will see that many also have MCS. Since they know very little about CFIDS and Fibro - MCS is in the same category. I'm not allowed to give out websites, but do a research for chronic fatigue and if you find their main web page, they may have a list of many of the things that MCS people tend to react to. They talk about a "safe home" for the MCS person; it is expensive and a lot of searching for "natural" products. I have been doing a little at a time, trying not to let it overwhelm me. I react severely to the smell of food cooking. I get the headache, dizzy, spacey feeling and fatigue just from cooking many foods in my stove. That's why I cookout as much as possible and use my crockpot in the garage! You will learn what you are most sensitive to and ways to avoid it. I note on my list that upholstered furniture, carpeting, stained cabinetry are some of the things MCS people react to.Also according to CFIDS, many MCS people report food intolerances. When I have a chance, I'll try and look for your state to see if they have a place where they test for MCS. It usually ends with edu and I'm allowed to post that site. Dawn2

Nicksmom 09-02-2002 11:10 AM

I just want to say that I understand what everyone is going through. I have a son who has autism and suffers from enviromental toxins. I cannot clean my house with regular cleaning solutions that you can buy at the store....I make my own, other wise my son becomes hyper active and screams. Hair gels can even set him off and even a trip to the gas station. I bought a book called "brain allergies" and it really explains alot on this topic. I also take my son in for naet treatments (nambudripad's allergy elimination techniques)which will actually cure allergies including enviromental. The naet treatments seem to work....but my son just has so many so it's going to take months to get to them all....but he's getting better....he just started using hair gell again without problems. Anyway's, if your not getting anywhere with your doctors, I would strongly recommend trying out this form of alternative treatment.

Kamden 09-02-2002 04:55 PM

Nicksmom, are these treatments covered under regular insurance? I need to find a doctor that understands everything I have and how it is all linked together.
Dawn2, I see you have alot in common with me. I don't know where you are from or how you found your doctor, but I would like to find one at the mayo clinic in Rochester who recognizes all these things I have as being related ** hypothyroid, allergies, CFS, MCS etc. }. I am still taking my time though, need a break, and will go after my son goes back to school.
Thankyou everybody for your help. Kamden

dawn2 09-04-2002 05:17 PM

I'm sure the Mayo Clinic will have something to offer you in help for MCS. I know what you mean about taking a specialist to another. I feel like sometimes my life is one big doctor appt! I wish you a chemical free day! Dawn

I'm glad to hear that you are able to seek help for your son. Anything that can make him feel better. Can you explain more about"naet" treatment" and how it works? I'm curious too, if regular insurance will cover it. My insurance does not cover anything for alternative medicine. Thanks! Dawn

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