J Clin Nurs. 2009 Jan;18(1):72-81.
Sickness-related dysfunction in persons with self-reported multiple chemical sensitivity at four levels of severity.
AIM: To examine quality of life outcome for persons who self-report chemical sensitivity, often referred to as multiple chemical sensitivity.
BACKGROUND: Multiple chemical sensitivity is poorly understood with few providers specialising in its treatment. This lack of treatment and the ubiquity of chemicals engender severe life impacts such as job loss, financial loss, social isolation and even homelessness for persons who experience these sensitivities.
METHOD: We examined chemical incitants, symptoms and sickness-related behavioural dysfunction as measured by the Sickness Impact Profile in 254 persons self-identified with multiple chemical sensitivity.
RESULTS: Chemicals rated as causing the most symptomatology in respondents were pesticide, formaldehyde, fresh paint, new carpet, diesel exhaust, perfume and air fresheners. The five highest rated symptoms in this sample were tiredness/lethargy, difficulty concentrating, muscle aches, memory difficulties and long-term fatigue. Overall mean Sickness Impact Profile score was 25.25%, showing serious impairment, with the most serious dysfunction in the categories of work (55.36%), alertness behaviour (53.45%) and recreation and pastimes (45.20%).
CONCLUSION: Multiple chemical sensitivity is an important health care issue because it often includes serious dysfunction, is poorly understood by providers and poses extensive financial and treatment obstacles for those who experience it.
RELEVANCE TO CLINICAL PRACTICE: Persons with multiple chemical sensitivity seek medical treatment in a variety of contexts and informed providers can both avoid iatrogenic harm due to medical exposures and provide any possible treatment for the chemical sensitivities. Understanding the impact of the health condition is crucial to communicate with and treat persons who experience the sensitivities.
PMID: 19120734 [PubMed - in process]