Is it possible to be allergic to WiFi? That’s the question we’re dealing with in today’s article.
WiFi and other electromagnetic waves and their ill effects on health have been a subject of contention for years. Some people seem to experience physical symptoms when in the presence of WiFi signals and other free to air electromagnetic signals.
What is EHS?
Allergic reactions to WiFi has a name: EHS (Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity). The World Health Organization (WHO) defines EHS as:
“EHS is characterized by a variety of non-specific symptoms, which afflicted individuals attribute to exposure to EMF.”
In other words, you could call this a reaction to EMFs (electromagnetic fields). EHS has many symptoms which vary widely between individuals. Physical symptoms to EMFs can include:
- Sleep disturbances
- Skin prickling/itching
- Burning sensations
- Achy muscles
- Concentration issues
- Heart palpitations
- Digestive issues
- And more
These symptoms are not considered a recognized syndrome. Instead, the WHO views them as something similar to multiple chemical sensitivities, which is a disorder associated with low-level environmental exposure to chemicals. Both conditions have non-specific symptoms, and neither are attributable to what some see as the apparent causes (EMF and chemical exposure).
High Profile Cases of EHS & Physical Symptoms
In a recent case, the family of a 15-year old girl claims she committed suicide due to her exposure to WiFi signals. The family said the signals at her school made the girl physically ill, and that she suffered with blinding headaches. These were so bad that the girl had a hard time concentrating. This case was reported by the Daily Mirror.
In another case, a 12-year old boy, in Massachusetts, said he was having symptoms of EHS, but also claimed that EMFs led to nose bleeds and heart palpitations. The symptoms apparently only showed up during school hours. The parents filed a lawsuit against the school because they said the “industrial capacity Wi-Fi” system had led to the boy’s health issues.
The school had the WiFi system evaluated and the tests showed that the WiFi signals were well within the safety parameters set by the FCC. The case was dismissed.
In a French case, a woman claimed she suffered EHS. She said her symptoms were so bad that they were disabling. In fact, she said her symptoms were so bad that she had to live without electricity in a renovated barn in the mountains in order to protect herself against EMF signals. She tried to request disability and her case wound up in court. The court ruled that her symptoms did indeed qualify her for disability, but they did not formally say her condition was caused by EHS.
These and other similar cases have led to some scientific surveys into the matter of EHS allergies.
Studies on EHS Health Issues
Participants in one survey claimed to be suffering symptoms from EHS. They described physical symptoms that included headache and fatigue, saying these symptoms appeared when they were close to devices that emit electromagnetic signals including WiFi routers, cellphones, and even computer screens. Participants went on to say that if they insulated themselves or moved away from the signals, then their physical symptoms improved.
However, in scientifically controlled tests, people were exposed to EMFs; however, they were not told when the signals were turned off or on. In the studies, participants were not able to discern when the signals were on, according to a 2009 review of 46 studies published in the journal Bioglectromagnetics.
Are the Symptoms Real or Not?
According to Dr. James Rubin, a senior lecturer in psychology at King’s College London, the people are truly ill; however, science has not been able to attribute their symptoms to EMF exposure.
The issue is that people with “WiFi allergies” tend to show such a wide variety of symptoms. According to the WHO, these symptoms are non-specific. They’ve also said that EHS is not a medical diagnosis.
The wide variety of symptoms attributed to EMFs or EHS are wide and variable, making them hard to diagnose. For instance, a headache could be a sign of a sinus infection developing, or possibly a sign the individual is coming down with a cold. Dizziness can also be caused by numerous health issues, such as stomach flu or being extremely tired. These varied symptoms make it difficult for doctors to pinpoint the cause and/or identify the reason and source of the problem.
The symptoms these people are suffering do indeed appear to be real; however, the cause of their symptoms remains a mystery.
The Nocebo Effect
According to Rubin, WiFi may not be responsible for these symptoms, but something else may be the cause. The symptoms could be caused by specific health and environmental conditions that are different for each individual.
Another cause could be the “nocebo effect.” The nocebo effect is the opposite of the placebo effect. With the placebo effect, you’re told a sugar pill will make you feel better, and it does. However, the reality is that the sugar pill was a fake, and it was your mind that helped you feel better by believing in the “cure.” This is called a psychosomatic reaction.
With the nocebo effect, just the opposite happens. If you’re given a sugar pill and told that it has horrible side effects. In this instance, some people begin to exhibit these bad effects. The power of suggestion has the ability to determine how you feel.
With EHS, this could be the case, too. EMFs have been in the news for years, with stories attributing horrible symptoms due to EMF exposure. As a result, many people have this in mind. When they begin to experience unusual symptoms, which their doctors aren’t able to diagnose, some people will attribute their causes to WiFi allergies and other issues.
While their symptoms and suffering are real, so far science has not shown that EMF or EHS are responsible for causing physical illnesses in people. The symptoms could be due to some other causes, such as environmental pollutants, or could be caused by the nocebo effect. It’s difficult to tell at this point.
It will take more scientific studies to determine if EMF or EHS exposure cause illnesses such as “WiFi allergies.” In the meantime, people who experience real symptoms are left with a mystery as to the cause of their conditions.