When used as a broad classification in medicine, this term means illness that was not caused by genetics. Specifically, it refers to any illness caused by things one encounters in one’s everyday surroundings. It includes allergies, chemical and lead poisoning, cancer and breathing problems from smoke, and diseases caused by unsafe drinking water. The symptoms of such problems can be similar to a cold or flu, that just doesn’t go away: headache, fever, nausea, chills, cough, and muscle aches. This is why it is important to check appliances, chemicals and ventilation systems in your home and work for safety, and it’s also why doctors may ask you questions about your house or place of work.
One of the most widespread environmental illnesses is Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, which means that many artificial chemicals in today’s products can set off a reaction in a person, sometimes severe. Others consider this to be too vague a symptom to be considered a real condition, and suggest that it is partially or totally psychosomatic (in the individual’s head). But it is widely accepted that too many chemicals do cause some of the “random” headaches people experience, and that getting rid of toxins in your environment is always a good move.
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