Very much so. Some patients are forced to live in remote
areas, possibly with no electricity in the property. Some
just take measures within the house to avoid ‘hot spots’
where there is a high field, and there are some who just
notice a mild symptom, such as a slight headache, after
prolonged exposure to a mobile phone or a computer. It is
likely that a proportion of patients with mild fatigue have
ES, but they have not made the link to EM exposure.
Is there a known cure?
At present, not a cure as such. Treatment depends on
detection, avoidance and protection. However, if exposure is
reduced by avoidance and protection measures, the
sensitivity appears to lessen.
What treatments are available?
1. Detection. Meters are available to measure EM fields in
the patient’s environment. Action can then be taken to avoid
being in areas of high EM fields for long periods of time,
such as rearranging furniture etc.
2. Avoidance. Patients should be advised to avoid exposure
by not using mobile phones or digital cordless phones (the
latter are more of a risk. They should not use electrical
items which are close to the body such as hairdryers,
electric blankets etc., and to maintain a distance from such
items as computers, TV’s and so on.
3. Protection. It is now possible to obtain materials which
block EM fields. I have known patients make a mosquito net
structure over their beds to provide an EM free zone when
sleeping, or incorporate the material in clothing.
How can I stop my patient panicking at the diagnosis?
1. They are not alone and there are self help groups and
2. ES is not fatal, except insofar as it impairs judgement.
3. Provided the measures mentioned above under treatment are
initiated, there is every chance that over time the
sensitivity will lessen.
Who is most at risk of ES?
Patients who are occupationally, or at home, exposed to high
levels of electromagnetic fields. So workers in the
electronic industries, communication industries and on power
distribution systems will be at risk. Those who live in
homes near high voltage power lines or in line of microwave
transmitters will be more susceptible to developing ES.
As mentioned before, there will be less risk in countries
such as Switzerland where a more cautious approach to
permitted levels of exposure has been adopted.
Does a predisposition to ES run in families?
Difficult to answer. If several members of one family are
affected it is probably more likely that there has been
excessive exposure to all of them, say in the home
environment, rather than any genetic predisposition.
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