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Do you suffer with unexplained symptoms such as headaches, sleep problems and dizziness following exposure to electromagnetic fields? You could be suffering from this condition.

Electrosensitivity - A Personal Story - Dr Andrew Tresidder MMBS MRCGP

I've always considered myself healthy, but had mumps as a junior doctor. This hit me so hard that I had to take three months off work, for it took some this long to recover my energy - a post-viral fatigue (with the virus being mumps). As a result, I have always been more sensitiveto things than many people - for instance for years after the mumps coffee and tea would give me a headache.

One year, I returned from holiday to find the computer screens changed. My black and white monitor had been changed for a colour cathode ray tube monitor. Within hours of sitting in front of this, I felt sick and unwell. The same happened the next day - so we changed the cathode ray tube for a flat screen monitor (at a time time when they cost £700), and I felt well again. (Aflat screen works on just a few volts, whereas a CRT bombards your body with charged particles if you sit too close (children are always told not to sit to close to the television...)

The next electromagnetic insult was the first time I used a mobile phone - I developed a marked headache and slurred speech within seconds. Ever since, I have used mobiles and cordless phones (which have a similar, though less intense effect) as minimally as possible. Instead, I use a corded phone on a landline whenever possible, and ring people back using one of these. Each time I use a mobile phone to my head, I still get a headache. So I use an earpiece and have the phone several feet away from me. (Remember from physics that the intensity of the field diminishes with the inverse square of the distance - so a phone say 1cm away from your head has a field 10,000 times stronger than when it is a meter away.)

At work, I have changed the fluorescent tubes for spot lighting, as this is softer and feels more comfortable. I am also able to look out the window at some plants, which is very calming.

With our last photocopier, I was unable to sit near it, especially if the computer a few feet away was on - the combined effect was most uncomfortable. The current photocopier has a less intense effect, but I still avoid being near it.

More recently I develop mild headaches on the motorway or road when approaching mast - the symptons abate as I drive away again.

Bluetooth in a car gives me an intense headache immediately, as the phone and device are in constant wireless contact.

Most recently we changed internet service provider to a large British one,who sent a wireless Home Hub. 30 seconds after switching this on, I developed an intense headache, situated as it was a few feet from me where I sat at the computer. So I have returned to a wired router and a Local Area Network that uses the mains wiring system of the house.

I have a device that detects mobile phone, cordless phone and Wi-Fi and mast frequencies - needless to say it goes off very loudly with all of these.

At work, when the building was extended, we changed the alarm sensors from passive to active/passive. By the end of the first day I had a headache and felt irritable - but it took a few days for me to realise that the new sensor was the cause.

And in another workplace, one day I felt a headache developing within minutes of sitting at my desk. And then I opened the email that said how the WiFi system in the building had just been upgraded. Fortunately, an understanding manager has recognised that Wi-Fi is not actually needed at this end of the building, so we are avoiding exposure again.

Putting all this together, I would diagnose myself as electro-sensitive.

I have been fortunate in all these cases to recognise the cause - and eliminate it, thereby stopping myself feeling ill. Unfortunately, there is a phenomenon called tolerance.

Tolerance is when your body has an alarm symptonto a nasty stimulus - but if the stimulus is continued, it downgrades the symptons so you don't notice - but damage is still happening under the surface. Many people feel quite ill with their first cigarette - but as they continue to smoke, they get used to it... This explains why when I was explaining this to a doctor friend recently, she said - yes - I got a headache when my husband put in WiFi - bit it wore off after four days. Classic alarm symptons followed by tolerance (but with long term effects likely). The General Adaption Syndrome of Prof Hans Selye neatly explains the mechanism of tolerance.

There are lots of people who have developed a level of tolerance, or resistance - but this is actually resistance to an ongoing harm, which will (like being exposed to other noxious stimuli longterm) cause immune system dysfunction and other adverse effects on the body, leading eventually towards illness.

One of my patients was getting three migraines every week - awful for her and expensive in time off and medication. Simply moving the cordless phone base station away from the bedside table (near her head) cut the frequency down to just one or two a month, as a menstrual migraine. Her husband subsequently sent me this letter:

Dear Dr Tresidder

Here is the link to the slightly alarming video of mobile phones popping corn, which I received from a friend last week. I hope it proves useful and informative to anyone doubting the potential harm such devices can do with prolonged use.

Once again, thank you for your continued help and support.

Kind regards...

In another case, a 22 year old woman developed headaches over a period of 2 months. She already had a good diet, with no additives and minimal coffee, and had previously cut out dairy products (this had cured her irritable bowel syndrome of abdominal pains, bloating and loose stool). She, like many women, is intuitively sensitive and can often feel the emotions in a room, or in someone else. She used a mobile phone, but mainly for texting and had no hands-free phone in the house. However, she did keep the mobile on charge next to her head every night, and also often on her person during the day. I asked her to change this and this was her comment:

"Hello Dr T, I just wanted to email you to say I am feeling much better not having my mobile on me. I always turn it off at night and put it in a different room. I have also noticed that turning my digital box on my tv in my bedroom off at night helps and not going on the internet just before going to bed gives me a much better night's sleep. I have noticed a huge difference in my stress levels at work since I have not been having my mobile on me I feel a lot more relaxed. Even now while writing this email I can feel the pressure building in my head from being connected to the internet. Thank you for helping me solve my headaches even though everyone thinks I'm mad when I say my mobile makes me ill. I certainly notice a difference. Thank you. See you soon from N"

One child of 8 had developed headaches just six weeks before I saw him. When I asked it became clear that the headaches had started very soon after a television was placed in the room next to his bedroom, close to his head. Disconnecting it stopped his headaches immediately.

The Healthy House website has this useful info

What causes electromagnetic stress

"It must be remembered that ALL items connected to the mains electricity supply will give off both electric and magnetic fields when working. At low frequencies (usually the frequency of our mains electricity supply which vibrates 50 times every second), the electric and magnetic components of the fields are not related mathematically to each other and so it is necessary to think about them seperately." When an electrical appliance is plugged into a wall socket, it will give off an electric field, even when it is switched off at the appliance. The further you are away from an appliance, the weaker the field will be, as electric fields decrease with distance." 

This means that although most people are completely unaware of it, during most of our days we are passing through electrical fields. For some people this causes no physical symptons but it is not good for anybody to be exposing themselves to this kind of stress.