The condition identified as sick-house syndrome or chemical sensitivity has been attracting attention recently. People who have moved into newly built houses complain of irritated eyes, tears, a runny nose, and an irritated feeling on their face. These are symptoms of sick-house syndrome. The causes are thought to be the glue used to hang wallpaper and formaldehyde contained in synthetic boards. Toluene contained in paint, insect repellent commonly used to treat wood and carpet, and termite-exterminating chemicals can also be causes. Some people are sensitive to mothballs, furniture treated with insect repellent, bathroom deodorizers, vinyl chloride, and insulation. The term ‘sick-house syndrome’ means that the newly built house is harmful to the health. But chemical sensitivity has a much broader meaning than sick- house syndrome alone. The term chemical sensitivity describes any situation in which a chemical substance causes some physical change. Recently, electromagnetic waves have been suspected to be a cause of chemical sensitivity. Chemical sensitivity does not do much harm to otherwise healthy people, but causes dermatitis on the face of those who have atopic diathesis. I believe that the red face of atopic dermatitis can be explained as a contact dermatitis due to chemical sensitivity.
Case 1: male/age 27
The onset of atopic dermatitis occurred when he started working at a computer company. He complained of an irritated feeling on his face whenever he entered the office.
Case 2: male/age 22
He works for a discount store. When opening cardboard boxes and plastic bags, he felt something strange and irritating on his face.
Case 3: female/age 32
She works in a supermarket. Standing in front of the register, she felt something strange coming from the bar code reader, and had an itching sensation on her face.
These cases were diagnosed as atopic dermatitis with uncertain causes. My diagnosis is that this is a contact dermatitis due to chemical sensitivity. I think that eruptions on the body should be regarded as a kind of auto sensitization dermatitis. The causes of atopic dermatitis need to be further investigated, including the part of chemical substances. Exposure of the skin to irritating chemicals should be avoided as much as possible.
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