Ways To Reduce Chemical Sensitivity

Today, I want to share with you how I’m finding ways to reduce chemical sensitivity to perfume and other volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

Our modern society has unfortunately gone cuckoo for chemicals to the point where toxic chemicals are everywhere. We’re drinking them in our water. They’re in our food. We’re even breathing them in our air, and wearing them on our bodies. Some of the most toxic chemicals we encounter are VOCs.

What is a volatile organic compound, or VOC?

A VOC is any chemical compound that outgasses or creates fumes that are usually associated with a scent. Some VOCs are more stinky than dangerous, like sweaty boy socks. Some are more dangerous and less stinky, like natural gas. Natural gas has to have a stinky compound added to it so that we can smell it and realize that there’s danger. And then, there are those VOCs that fall somewhere in between, like, bleach, perfume, laundry soap, and air fresheners. VOCs can also be all natural, like the fragrance of roses or the scent of basil.

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The older we get, the more our bodies struggle to handle VOCs. Finding ways to reduce chemical sensitivity can be the key to improving our quality of life.

Hi, my name is Krystine Kercher, and I’m an artist and author, and–I have chemical sensitivities… Unfortunately for me, there isn’t any ‘Chemicals Anonymous’ support group that I can join to get support for this.

Most people do not have chemical sensitivities to the extent that I do, which is a very good thing–for them!

But I do happen to know a lot of people who are sensitized, especially to perfume. You might be dealing with chemical sensitivities if, when you encounter someone who’s used too much perfume, it makes you nauseated or gives you a bad headache. Or, if your laundry detergent or bath and body products give you a rash.

Reducing chemical sensitivity to perfume and other VOC’s is a process

If you’re sensitized to VOCs (volatile organic compounds), and you’d like to know how to reduce your sensitivity to perfume and other volatile organic compounds (VOC’s), here are some helpful hints.

Make changes to your living environment:

  1. Go fragrance-free! You can’t change or stop what other people are going to do most of the time, but you can limit your personal exposure by intentionally using products that don’t aggravate your sensitivity. Here’s a list of frequent offenders:
      1. Shampoo, conditioner, body wash, hand soap
      2. Laundry detergent, dish liquid, dishwasher detergent
      3. I recommend a switch to non-toxic cleaners (vinegar, baking soda, and a good dish liquid will clean and disinfect just about anything)
      4. Toilet bowl cleaner: after years of using vinegar, dish liquid, and baking soda (this works!), I’ve switched to a soy-based cleaner that is effective, smells a little minty without being overwhelming, and has no bleach in it
  2. Store all household and industrial chemicals safely in a building that is not your home.
    1. motor oil, car fluids, car care products
    2. paint thinners, spray paint
    3. strong cleaners for cleaning up paint or oil
    4. Bleach, ammonia, other household cleaners
    5. All of these things tend to out-gas or leak, and should never be stored indoors in your home where you have to breathe 24/7
    6. Only use where there is adequate ventilation.
  3. Always read and follow the directions when working with chemicals. If the job requires safety goggles and heavy rubber gloves, it’s better to wear them and be safe than sorry.

Make changes to your diet:

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  1. Certain vitamins and other supplements can be a real help, especially milk thistle which supports liver health and helps detox.
  2. Eat (organic) root veggies! Celery, beets, other root veggies are very helpful for detoxing.
  3. Dark green (organic) leafy plants like kale, Swiss chard, Chinese cabbage, and dandelion greens all promote good health and support the ability to detox more effectively.
  4. Stop eating GMO grains and soy and go 100% organic. Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) have been created specifically to survive toxic weed-killers, but humans and pets get sick from ingesting them.
  5. The water that you drink and bathe in can fuel your sensitivity.
    • Put a filter on your showerhead.
    • Filter your drinking water. Any filtration is better than none, but some filters are a lot better than others, so it pays to do your homework on this.
      • A good, reverse-osmosis filter takes the chemicals out of the water while leaving in some of the natural acidity which can be beneficial to your overall health.
      • a Kangen filter makes the water alkaline and breaks down toxins that other filters let through. Our Kangen filter saved my life at a time when I was having bad reactions that were causing my throat to close up). But Kangen filters aren’t for everyone. After a while, I had to stop using it because it was too much alkalinity for me.

First Aid for toxic exposure:

While seeking ways to reduce chemical sensitivity, I realized that I needed to come up with a set of first aid tools for addressing toxic exposure. I was assisted in this project by a dear friend, Sue, who has now gone home to heaven and is greatly missed. Her wisdom and advice has contributed greatly here.

I am not a medical professional. This info is based on my personal experience of what works and what doesn’t. This regrettably includes the discovery that most medical professionals don’t have the first clue on how to help patients who are suffering from a bad chemical reaction to environmental toxins. They even insist that if a therapy is not on their approved list, they aren’t permitted to offer it. Since they don’t have approved ways to treat chemical exposures that neutralize toxicity, going to them for help can sometimes be quite futile. Even worse, with all of the cleaners and disinfectants used in medical settings today, one of the most dangerous places for someone like me to go for help is to a medical building of any kind.

My First Aid kit:

  1. I squeeze anywhere from 1 tsp to half a lemon into 4-6 oz of water. Then I drink it all and wait 20 minutes before drinking another 12-16 oz. of water. Sometimes, I’ll squeeze and add the entire lemon. Limes work too, if you can’t find a lemon.
  2. Or, I used to dissolve up to 1 tsp baking soda in 4-6 oz of water and drink it. After 20 minutes, I would drink 12-16 oz of water and wait 20 more minutes before eating or drinking anything else.
  3. If it’s a severe reaction, it’s possible to alternate between these two.
    • Please be aware:
      • Baking soda is not a good option for people who are having serious liver and kidney issues  or issues with sodium. (I can’t do this anymore)
      • Please also be aware that baking soda strips Vitamin B from your body. You need Vitamin B to live, so it isn’t wise to do this too frequently. The more toxins you can avoid being exposed to altogether, the better.
      • Minding your diet and avoiding unnecessary exposure to VOCs is safer and far more effective in the long run.
  4. Soaking in a warm bath with 1 Cup Epsom salts and 1 Cup baking soda detoxes your skin. After your liver, your skin is the organ that your body uses most to break down and get rid of harmful substances. Expect to need a long nap afterwards while your body recharges.
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