Zap Allergies with a Chemical Holiday

People who suspect they have chemical sensitivity should organize a chemical holiday, i.e. a fortnight away from chemicals. This involves considerable upheaval in our modern world. The aim of the ‘holiday’ is to see whether symptoms disappear or not. If they do, chemical sensitivity is a real possibility; if they don’t, it’s not. The ideal holiday involves admission to an Environmental Control Unit. This is a highly specialized hospital unit which ensures a chemical-free environment. All of the materials used in the construction of the unit are chemical-free, and all of the air is filtered to prevent the entry of pollutants. The unit is kept under positive pressure, which means that there is a draught from the inside out, rather than the converse. Staff and visitors are careful not to bring chemicals into the unit by means of freshly polished footwear, dry-cleaned clothes, perfume, aftershave, hair gel, and so on. Visitors who appear with chemical smells are offered a shower and a change of clothes before they are allowed in. If they refuse, they are politely asked to return another day more suitably prepared! Symptoms of chemical sensitivity quickly disappear in such a unit. Patients are then tested in a special booth for their sensitivity to individual chemicals. (This is part of the research being carried out on veterans with Gulf War Syndrome.)

However, such units are expensive and are reserved for those who can afford it, and those who really need it. In practice, most chemically sensitive patients get away with arranging their own chemical holiday. The first requirement is a house not polluted by petrochemical heating fumes: in other words, a house free of gas, oil, kerosene, etc. An all-electric house is ideal, or one where the heating boiler is in a separate shed. Stay with a co-operative friend if you need to – we did! Rid the house of everything that smells. You will need to recruit the co-operation of all household members to achieve this. Do not use cosmetics, air fresheners, polish, etc. Keep all windows and doors open to ventilate the house, weather permitting. If all symptoms disappear, return home and follow the instructions for the chemically sensitive. These measures will increase your tolerance to small amounts of chemical. If you find that symptoms are still too easily provoked, consider a course of Enzyme Potentiated Desensitisation. This will increase your tolerance further.

1. American Lung Association Family Guide to Asthma and Allergies by Norman H. Edelman

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