A prison of allergies
Imagine being allergic to almost everything.
Unable to give someone a hug because they’re wearing perfume, have to take a shower after a trip to the supermarket and find it hard to find a suitable home.
This is what Auckland resident Sabrina Paige has suffered from for almost 20 years.
Paige has multiple chemical sensitivity syndrome (MCS), a disorder triggered by low level exposure to multiple chemical substances commonly found in the environment.
Her symptoms started around 1996 while she was living in Glendowie where she believes she was exposed to white moth tussock spray. ‘‘I was healthy before then and I came out in a rash, found it hard to breathe and for three months I couldn’t use soap as my whole body was burning.’’ Over time Paige became sensitised or allergic to a number of common chemicals.
When the 41-year-old comes into contact with these products she finds it hard to breathe, her eyes burn and has dizzy spells.
‘‘I’ve lost contact with friends because it was too hard for them to not wear perfume, it’s isolating,’’ she says.
Paige’s condition has deteriorated and four years ago she also developed fibromyalgia, a chronic muscular pain and common among those who have MCS.
Dr Sandi Roberts is the chief executive at the National College of Traditional Medicine in Australia.
She says many people are present with MCS symptoms. However it is a syndrome, not a condition, that can be rationalised.
Roberts says the reactions can be varied from mild to extreme.
‘‘I have seen people faint when a certain perfume was sprayed and many other examples.’’
For Paige, even the simple task of going to the supermarket is tough. She has to return home and shower so as not to contaminate herself or her home.
The task of finding a home is hard as she has to constantly move around due to becoming sensitised to different environments.
Paige had to give up her job and is unable to find work as most work involves human interaction.
Paige has corresponded with others overseas and is keen to hear from sufferers in New Zealand.
Sabrina Paige has multiple chemical sensitivity syndrome and has been left isolated with limited human interaction.