Multiple Chemical Sensitivity: Symptoms Part 5 of 7


It should be stressed again and again— we do not all react in the same way to the same substance. One person may faint while another may have a slight headache and someone else develops a migraine and yet another gets a rash. You have to be mindful of how your body reacts. You can’t judge by how someone else reacts.1 Although symptoms are not limited to one physiological system, chemicals primarily affect the respiratory and nervous systems. Common symptoms are headache, fatigue, weakness, difficulty concentrating, short-term memory loss, dizziness, irritability and depression, itching, numbness, burning sensation, congestion, sore throat, hoarseness, shortness of breath, coughing, and stomach pains. 2 The most common symptoms are tiredness/lethargy, difficulty in concentrating, muscle aches, memory problems and long term (chronic) fatigue (CFS)." 3

Another common symptom is a heightened sensitivity to odors, including a stronger emotional reaction to them. A 2002 Japanese study reported “patients diagnosed with MCS can identify common odors as accurately as most people, but regard a greater number of them as unpleasant. ”4 In addition, any organ can be affected: respiratory, digestive, neurological, endocrine, urinary, cardiovascular, or immune. 5

Below is a list of symptoms compiled by SafeWork in Australia 6

Appetite loss

Headache

Depression

Drowsiness

Thirst

Convulsions

Weakness

Psoriasis

Tremor

Twitching

Lack of co-ordination

Reflex abnormalities

Impaired color vision

Night blindness

Increase olfactory and auditory threshold

Ringing in the ears

Tinnitus

Equilibrium changes

Dizziness; pain and tactile disorders

Tingling

Numbness

Increased cold sensitivity

Concentration impairment

Fatigue

Memory problems

Confusion

Learning; and speech impairments

Mental slowing; reduced initiative

Delirium

Hallucinations

Sleep disturbances

Excitability

Depression

Restlessness

Nervousness

Sexual activity loss

Tension

Modified from W.K. Arger, 1986, Source: International Labour Office; Encyclopedia of Occupational Health & Safety. 7

The following symptoms have also been reported:

Swelling of different parts of body

Sweating unrelated to weather, exercise or menopause.

Fatigue

Racing pulse

Food cravings

Hay fever

Rashes

Headache, including migraine

Asthma

Mouth ulcers

Bad breath

Nasal catarrh and throat clearing

Bloating

Irritable bowel

Aching muscles and joints

Fainting and blackouts

Panic attacks

Overactivity

Inappropriate anger and violence

Nervous tension

Mental confusion

Delusions

Hallucinations

Anxiety 8

Additional symptoms as reported by Dr. Myhill, a leading physician specializing in MCS in the United Kingdom 9 are:

Chest pain

Shortness of breath

Muscle twitching or cramp

Irritable bowel syndrome (abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhoea/constipation, etc.)

Sweating

Poor balance and dizzy spells

Numb patches, clumsiness

Tendency to pick up infections

Little known to most is that “many patients with MCS suffer from comorbid depression and anxiety…, and have high rates of mood disorders compared to asthma patients as well as normal test subjects.“10 This may include mood swings, increased tearfulness, irritability, aggression, rage and impulsive suicidal thoughts. 11 In fact,“one fifth of 305 people with MCS (in a 1996 study) had seriously considered suicide, while 3.3% had made suicide attempts." 12

  1. http://www.oocities.org/emrsafety/information.htm

  2. http://www.encyclopedia.com/topic/Multiple_Chemical_Sensitivity.aspx

  3. http://www.oocities.org/emrsafety/information.htm

  4. http://www.encyclopedia.com/topic/Multiple_Chemical_Sensitivity.aspx

  5. http://www.oocities.org/emrsafety/information.htm

  6. http://library.safework.sa.gov.au/attachments/60407/Multile-chemical-sensitivity.pdf

  7. http://www.oocities.org/emrsafety/information.htm

  8. Ibid

  9. http://drmyhill.co.uk/wiki/Chemical_poisoning_-_general_principles_of_diagnosis_and_treatment

  10. http://www.encyclopedia.com/topic/Multiple_Chemical_Sensitivity.aspx

  11. http://drmyhill.co.uk/wiki/Chemical_poisoning_-_general_principles_of_diagnosis_and_treatment

  12. http://www.mcsresearch.net/Conferencepapers/MCShandout.pdf

#multiplechemicalsensitivity #MCSoverview #environmentalinjury #mcs #MCSSymptoms #MCSpart5of7

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