Multiple Chemical Sensitivity

What is multiple chemical sensitivity?

Multiple chemical sensitivity, also known as multiple chemical syndrome, is a chronic disease, whose treatment is very complicated, because the affected person loses tolerance to chemical substances that are present in the environment and that are generally tolerated by people.

These chemical substances are usually: laboratory products, gasoline, detergents, cleaning products, soaps, perfumes, pesticides, carbon monoxide and organic solvents, among others.

Prognosis of the disease

This disease does not have a good prognosis, because people suffering from multiple chemical sensitivity have a very high risk of developing other autoimmune diseases such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia or multiple sclerosis, among other pathologies.

Symptoms of multiple chemical sensitivity

Multiple chemical sensitivity syndrome is usually associated with the following symptoms:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Allergies
  • Itching
  • Nausea
  • Fainting
  • Cardiovascular disturbances
  • Muscle pain
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Memory problems and lack of concentration
  • Dermatological problems
  • Headaches
  • Visual sensitivity
  • Hearing sensitivity

Medical tests for multiple chemical sensitivity

There is no specific diagnostic method or analytical test to detect multiple chemical sensitivity syndrome. Thus, the diagnosis is clinical, based on the symptoms reported by the patient and the patient’s history of exposure to chemicals to rule out other diseases.

Generally, a questionnaire is used that measures environmental and non-environmental intolerances and exposures, and quantifies the severity and consequences on daily activities.

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What are the causes of multiple chemical sensitivity?

At present, the specific causes of this chronic disease are not known, but there are two different schools of thought. On the one hand, there are specialists who relate it to a cause of organic origin, and on the other hand, there are experts who believe that it has a psychopathological origin.

Can it be prevented?

To prevent this disease, the cleaning and hygiene products we use must be taken into account. In this sense, one measure to prevent multiple chemical sensitivity is to implement previously studied cleaning plans that include products that comply with the regulations.

On the other hand, people working with chemicals should wear appropriate protection, such as gloves, goggles and masks.

Treatments for multiple chemical sensitivity

There is no specific treatment to correct multiple chemical sensitivity, but the symptoms of multiple chemical sensitivity can be improved and controlled.

This can be achieved by environmental control. That is, avoiding the use of products to which the person is hypersensitive. It can also be achieved by avoiding humid environments and exposure to irritating environments.

In this sense, one should not enter establishments with penetrating aromas and it is important to make use of air purifiers and masks. It is also recommended to seal doors and windows, as well as to try to reduce electromagnetic pollution.

Which specialist treats it?

The specialist in charge of the treatment of multiple chemical sensitivity syndrome is the expert in Family Medicine.