Chaos to Cosmos
The path from chaos to cosmos was discovered by telling one's life story

Friday, 7 November 2008

Aerosol sprays, allergies and multiple chemical sensitivity

When I was a teenager, I'd had to have Kenalog or Cortisone injections for my severe allergies (now out of favour because of the significant risks - side effects of developing diabetes, weight gain, and osteoporosis - associated with them). As this says, "... corticosteroid injections are a last resort. They are prescribed when other treatments don’t work and symptoms interfere with everyday activities."

Which was certainly the case. Over the years, I've developed some tolerances - I'm still allergic to cats, but it's under control as long as I remain exposed to them - but there are some things, mostly household chemical products, particularly aerosol sprays, that I just have to avoid. They cause not just allergic reactions, but provoke Multiple chemical sensitivity and an exacerbation of Myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) symptoms of fatigue, headaches, nausea, and dizziness and I immediately become breathless and start coughing - it provokes chest pains too - when I'm exposed to these substances.

My mother knows all about this, because it all began when I was young enough that she took me to the many appointments with the doctor herself, but has been "conveniently forgotten", because she is not about to change the way she does anything. The other day, she was spraying an air freshener, for a very long time, all around the house. I asked her not to and reminded her about the injections and my allergies. She merely snapped back that "it wasn't much", as though I was being ridiculous or exaggerating. I can actually hear: that spray was going for what would be considered an excessive length of time, even in "normal" circumstances. Even if she had forgotten my allergies – she hasn’t, because on other occasions she’s mentioned them - there's no excuse for attempting to justify this. 

I've heard the spray and smelled air freshener early in the morning when she's thought I was asleep and that alone suggests she knows she's doing wrong.

One time this was broached, she just snapped back that she was "fed up of having to live like this", i.e. asked to make concessions (that she never made), because the tiny inconvenience (for the benefit of the planet too) was just too much.

Yes, she's the same with polish, air freshener, perfume, hairspray ... and I'd be [justifiably] pissed off it it was just the environmental issue I was concerned about. FFS, it would be enough if I just didn't like them, but what sort of person does this - obviously knowingly - when it causes someone such a reaction?