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Chemical Sensitivity

Call it sensitivity, call it allergy—regardless of what you call it, it can be treated the same way as other allergies are treated. Examples of chemical sensitivity effects are coughing, headaches, difficulty concentrating, rashes, nasal congestion, watery eyes and all the symptoms usually associated with seasonal allergies. Some examples of offending agents are perfumes, deodorants, hair sprays, after shave lotions, scented candles, scented soaps, wood burning fireplaces, upholstery, rugs, stay-pressed clothing, cleaning materials and many petrochemical products.

There are many odors, which, while being pleasant to some, cause great discomfort to others. The most notable of these are the fragrances found in perfumes, after-shave lotions and other cosmetics. There are other chemicals, which are used for cleaning purposes, giving color and strength to fabrics in clothing, rugs, draperies, etc, which are offensive to some. Most of these chemicals are from organic compounds, meaning that they were once produced from something that had been alive in the past and which contain a carbon atom. Organic compounds are made up of straight chain atoms called aliphatic compounds and compounds with a benzene ring are called aromatic compounds. There are also sulfa, ammoniated and chlorinated compounds which may cause allergic reactions.

Usually, the simplest form of these compounds can be used to effectively treat individuals with chemical sensitivity in the same way that individuals with pollen allergies are treated. Occasionally, there are other chemicals such as those containing nitrogen, chlorine or fluoride, which we also treat. A solution can be made to protect these chemically sensitive patients against these offending agents and eventually develop a tolerance to these chemicals. A neutralizing solution so dilute that it can be safely administered by an injection or by drops under the tongue is prepared. This latter method has the advantage of taking the drops with you and taking extra drops when an offending chemical is encountered. Since no refrigeration is required, they may be carried by the patient and used when this occurs.