As our dependency on electronic devices continues, there are people who have come down with some very troubling symptoms believe to be caused by EMF exposure. The issue seems to have gotten worse for some, especially as WiFi has become more widespread.
WiFi is just about everywhere these days, whether out shopping, eating in a restaurant, in schools, and at home. We’re surrounded by EMFs. However, is it really possible to be allergic to WiFi?
Science has yet to show a definitive connection between electromagnetic energy and its effects on human health. People are having symptoms that medical doctors are unable to explain. This trend is only becoming more troubling.
What is EHS?
EHS stands for Electromagnetic hypersensitivity, which is the term used for allergic reactions to electricity. The World Health Organisation (WHO) describes EHS in these words:
“EHS is characterised by a variety of non-specific symptoms, which afflicted individuals attribute to exposure to EMF.”
The WHO does not call EHS an allergic reaction. Instead, their definition more specifically says EHS is caused by an environmental reaction. Of course, an environmental reaction may be an allergic reaction; however, the EHS reaction is different.
An allergic reaction is caused by proteins in the environment. When a sensitive individual comes in contact with these proteins (also called allergens), their immune system reacts as if the allergen is an intruder that must be attacked. The immune system then starts up a process to rid the body of the allergen, which leads to allergic reactions.
So, in the strictest sense of the term “allergic reaction,” EHS is not an allergic reaction. However, the body is definitely experiencing a type of reaction to electromagnetic fields in the environment.
Some of the most common physical symptoms of EHS include:
- Skin prickling
- Sleep disturbance
- Burning sensations
- Achy muscles
- Concentration problems
- Heart palpitations
- Digestive issues
- And more
The problem, for doctors and scientists, is that these symptoms are too diverse and non-specific. The symptoms are real, but the cause is not explicitly determined or diagnosed. Yet, people who experience these symptoms say they feel worse when they’re exposed to EMFs, including WiFi.
The WHO places these symptoms in the same category as multiple chemical sensitivities (MCS). MCS is a disorder caused by low-level exposure to chemicals in the environment. This condition, too, has non-specific symptoms. It’s also not definitely tied to a specific cause.
All of this makes it very difficult for patients and doctors faced with a problem that isn’t easy to solve. Here, the WHO recommends patients have a complete physical, a mental health evaluation, and their environment checked for any overlooked issues. That’s about it.
What Does Science Say?
Here, again, researchers have not been able to precisely find a cause. In other words, they’ve had trouble trying the symptoms of EHS with exposure to EMFs.
Many studies have been conducted in recent years. In those studies, individuals with EHS were exposed to EMFs that are similar to those that have caused their symptoms. The results of the studies showed that those with EHS were not able to accurately sense when they were exposed to EMFs. They were no more accurate than those who don’t have EHS. As a result, positive results were seen solely as chance.
Other studies have shown that exposure to EMFs did not produce symptoms. The experiments were double-blind, controlled studies. When the symptoms didn’t arise after exposure to EMFs, the conclusion was that the individual’s symptoms must be caused by other environmental factors.
Researchers suggested these environmental factors could include exposure to fluorescent lights (they tend to flicker), glare from computer monitors, along with poor ergonomic design of chairs and desks. Other conditions included poor indoor air quality, heavy workloads, stress at home & work, and more.
It was also determined that some pre-existing health conditions could play a part in EHS, as well as known or untreated psychological issues (including a psychosomatic reaction).
Research and studies by scientists and the WHO have reached the conclusion that EHS is not caused by exposure to EMF signals. However, they’re also not sure what’s causing the symptoms.
Are the Symptoms Real?
The consensus is that yes, individuals with EHS do have real symptoms and are truly suffering. The problem is doctors and science haven’t found a way to diagnose the cause of their symptoms.
Another problem is that the symptoms vary so widely between individuals. This is why the WHO and others have called EHS symptoms “non-specific.”
The NOCEBO Effect
The nocebo effect is another way used to explain EHS symptoms. The nocebo effect is the opposite of the placebo effect. With the nocebo effect, someone is given a sugar pill and told it would make them really sick. As a result, some people will develop bad symptoms. This is the power of suggestion at work.
Some scientists and doctors believe the nocebo effect could also be working in EHS patients. They believe it’s possible these individuals have heard that EMFs are harmful and so develop symptoms when exposed to EMFs.
Summing It Up
Researchers and doctors believe individuals with EHS are truly suffering and experiencing physical symptoms. The problem is they are not able to determine the cause of the symptoms. So far, the consensus is that EMFs are not the cause.
Instead, the symptoms may be caused by underlying health issues, problems in the environment, or psychological issues. It’s also possible the symptoms are caused by a combination of these issues. But no one knows for sure.
Science may not yet have the tools to make a definitive diagnosis of the cause. This is another option that’s not often mentioned.
One thing is certain, however. Many people are suffering and have real symptoms. The cause of their symptoms has to be determined. It may be that more research is needed to find what is causing these people to suffer.
Until science has found an answer, many people continue to suffer. The only way they’ve found to manage their symptoms is by avoidance of EMFs.