Isn’t it funny how our life experiences make our vernacular change? When I first entered the Weston A Price & Paleo food world I learned all kinds of new words. Then again as I began the foray into minimalism and tiny living. Even more new words have come as I study holistic medicine. I hope you’ll learn some new words from my blog too.
What a “Hit” Is
Today I’m going to give you tips for recovering from a “hit.” Now I know that in some circles this \word has a TOTALLY different connotation. In the mold/MCS world, we call exposure a hit. Sometimes it’s almost as if we’re literally being hit with the substance. I have had experiences being exposed to something which physically made my body reel backward as if I’d taken a punch to the face. The word “hit” however funny it may sound is a pretty accurate word to describe this experience.
Unfortunately, unlike a punch, we can’t see these things coming. We’re on a nice hike and the lady passes by us wearing a noxious perfume and our hike is ruined with a migraine and nausea. I run into what looks like a clean building to feel the sensation telling me the HVAC system is moldy. I often joke with people that mold, chemicals, and biotoxins are great proof for God. You can’t always see them but you can feel them there!
What happens when a sensitive individual gets “hit”?
Everyone’s reactions vary from person to person and exposure to exposure. Most of us who have mold, chemical, EMF and/or biotoxin sensitivities know what to expect when we’re exposed. I have tell-tale signs of when I’ve been exposed to mold. I exhibit different symptoms if I’m around a strong EMF field. My chemical symptoms also tend to vary depending on the type of chemical and length of exposure.
Most of us experience a combination of physical and emotional symptoms from exposure. The severity and length of our symptoms vary as well. I’ve had symptoms disappear as soon as I moved to a different area and other symptoms that have lingered for months.
Symptoms I typically experience are:
- Itching in my ears
- A Distorted sense of smell
- Brain Fog
- Lack of ability to recall words or spell properly
- Memory issues
- Stomach pain
- Numbness in my left foot (especially around EMFs)
- Excess mucus in my throat
- Joint pain (sometimes debilitating)
- Pain in my jaw
- A physical sensation in my legs to run away
- Back pain
- The feeling of being extremely dirty (especially after exposure- I can’t shower off enough!)
- Racing thoughts or the inability to shut my mind down
- Ringing in the ears
- Sheer panic
- The sensation as if there’s a wall in front of me
- Weakness in my knees
- Rashes … I think there are probably others I’m missing but those are the main ones I can think of now
My son has the tendency to get EXTREMELY hyperactive (for those who know him, you know this is not his behavior at all), depressed, an upset stomach, headaches, nosebleeds, or experience the sensation of someone watching him
How we handle being exposed
If at all possible, we remove ourselves from the area immediately after exposure. Having a house on wheels is helpful. We’ve had to physically move our home because of a chemical issue in the are a couple of times.
A few things I do to clean any of my belongings are:
- Wash my laundry with soap nuts- these seem to do a great job removing unwanted things from clothes. Although I have had to get rid of a couple things after a particularly bad exposure. We also add baking soda and vinegar to our laundry.
- Sun, sun, sun! The sun is excellent at killing and removing things. It’s magic 🙂
- Boiling water and heat- Boiling water + soap nuts have saved many clothes
- Branch Basics (I am still using the old formula so I can’t speak to the new formula). This is a concentrate that can be made into cleaning spray or used in laundry (among many other uses)
- I try to avoid the use of biocides as much as possible. I believe they overall weaken our systems and can create superbugs. Biocides are things used to kill bugs/germs – even natural things- such as tea tree, neem, grapefruit seed extract, colloidal silver, etc. Homeopath Mary Aspinwall has presented some fascinating information about biocides and we stopped using them almost 2 years ago and have seen incredible results. But I have used EC3 on a few non-porous things to save them from exposure. It’s always a last result.
- Vinegar and baking soda- Sometimes I clean with diluted vinegar or a mix of baking soda and water.
- If I can’t save it, I part with it. This whole thing has made me realize how silly attachments to stuff are and how much I value my family and friends vs my belongings.
Multi-step process: Here’s what things usually look like when I have to clean belongings:
Step 1: Clean with HOT water (this either involves dumping boiling water over items or using a spray bottle with hot water on surfaces)
Step 2: Baking soda rinse (I don’t have a great ratio for this… if it’s clothing I put in a heaping scoop, if it’s a surface I add enough to water for it to dissolve and wipe the solution on the surface)
Step 3: Another round of hot water
Step 4: Vinegar rinse (usually a ratio of 1 pt vinegar to 4 pts water). (Sometimes I skip step 3 and let the baking soda and vinegar make their bubbly magic- I’ve only done this twice on textiles)
Step 5: Hot water again
Step 6: Branch basics or soap nuts
Step 7: Water rinse
Step 8: Rpt step 6 as needed, sometimes using the other item
Step 9: If possible, dry in the sun
I have had to go through this multiple rounds for a few chemical exposures.
To support our bodies and bring about recovery more quickly:
- Diet– we are very careful about our diet. Only organic, local and in season as much as possible. I am slowly adding foods back in, I’m up to about 25 foods. When we’ve had a bad hit we focus on meat stock and bone broth, greens, foods high in Vitamin C and we listen to our body for what it needs.
- Water, water, water. I try to drink 6-8 oz every hour after an exposure to flush my system. I like to get 1907 brand alkaline water if I can afford it or after a particularly bad hit.
- Homeopathy- I work closely with my homeopath anytime I have an exposure. I give my husband and son the appropriate remedy matching their symptoms. I feel this has brought about the biggest change for me.
- Flower essences– I use the appropriate Bach flower remedies for our mental/emotional symptoms.
- Wash up- Sometimes I need to shower off a few times after I’ve been exposed.
- Nose rinse- Every home with residents that have any type of allergy or sensitivity need to use a Nasopure. They’re super easy to use and wow what a difference they make. After I am exposed the first thing I do is shower, change and rinse my nose. Sometimes that’s all I need to do. I try to breathe only through my nose when I’m out because our nose is an excellent filter. Gotta clean that filter out when it’s been exposed to something my body doesn’t want!
- Be prepared- I pretty much always have a change of clothes, something to cover my hair, and a way to wipe my skin off in the car with me. I can take care of things right away and not contaminate my vehicle that way.
- REST- Our bodies need rest to heal. I give myself permission to sit around and read and relax after I’ve been exposed.
- Pray- Prayer helps calm my racing mind and heart and reminds me that God hears my worries.
- Stay offline- EMFs make everything worse for me. I stay offline as much as I can after an exposure.
- Foot soak- I love to soak with Redmond Bentonite clay to help my body remove toxins. I sure miss having a bathtub!
- Journal– This can be really beneficial. I can express my frustration, document how my reactions have changed, and reflect on my healing.
- Sun- The sun is such a great healer and helps our bodies remove toxins. I soak up as much as of it as I can whenever I can. (feeling nervous about my first PNW winter without much sun!)
- Stay calm- Sometimes I get such intense emotional and mental symptoms this is the hardest to do. I have to remember that it’s not going to last forever, my body is going to heal and brighter days will come. I often look at pictures from happy memories or try to spend time with friends who will help hold me and support me when I struggle.
- Grounding- spending time barefoot on the Earth. I love the beach especially. Grounding has remarkable benefits, especially with EMF exposure and sensitivities.
I hope this helps shed some light on what exposure can be like for me and I how I cope with it. This is a question I get often from loved ones who are trying to understand more about what life is like for me. Honestly, the mental and emotional symptoms can often be much much more difficult to cope with than the physical. I always start with cleaning myself off- it helps clear my head / less than 15 minutes I can shower, change clothes, and rinse my nose. I give it about 30-60 minutes before I decide if I need to do anything else. Occasionally my reactions will be delayed and I may not show symptoms for a day or two. These are usually a little more difficult to troubleshoot but I have my docket of things I try.
My treatment with my homeopath is definitely helping my body recover and be able to handle things much better. As I said above, reactions can last a few hours to a few weeks so I never really know what’s going to come I had a pretty major exposure a few days ago and I followed my steps above. I had some pretty intense and scary symptoms, including a couple things I’ve never had before. After I got cleaned off I knew I was going to need more help so I reached out to my homeopath who had me take another dose of my constitutional. I’m feeling almost back to normal today. As my body heals, my reactions will become less and less intense.
For my fellow moldies/MCS/biotoxin people- what else do you do to get feeling better?
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