Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity is a largely contested condition that has raised more than a few eyebrows in the medical community as of late. It is a condition that most people have never heard of, and is often referred to as the ‘Wi-Fi allergy’ as it is associated with a negative reaction to an ‘over-exposure’ to Wi-Fi. Despite the ‘legitimacy’ controversy and pseudoscience accusations surrounding Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity (EHS), it is slowly but surely being recognised by various medical experts worldwide as a legitimate and soon-to-be established medical condition.
So what does Electromagnetic Sensitivity actually mean, and how does it occur? EHS is defined as a medical condition in which a person is allergic to Wi-Fi. It is associated with a set of medically manifested symptoms that have an electrical origin. Recent studies have shown that electromagnetic fields (such as Wi-Fi and radiation from Microwaves) can have noticeable physical effects on the body. EHS is also interchangeably known as Electrical Sensitivity (ES), Microwave/Radiation Sensitivity or Sickness as well as referring to the sufferer as EMF ‘injured’. Electromagnetic Sensitivity is seen as a direct result of an environment which is saturated with wireless electronic devices including cellular devices, tablets and computers. Symptoms of the condition range in severity from almost undetectable to unbearable and include mild insomnia, headaches, chronic fatigue, nausea, concentration and memory problems, heart palpitations, tremors, depression and vertigo.
While research into EHS is still in its preliminary phases, it appears that the global prevalence of EHS is on the rise. However, the exact population percentiles are not yet known, but are estimated to range anywhere from 1.2% to 13.3% of the population that are affected, though this only accounts for the reported and recorded cases of EHS. Most cases of EHS will go unreported and undiagnosed as the majority of the symptoms associated with the condition can be attributed to many other, well-known and established medical conditions and are therefore likely to be overlooked; also many medical professionals consider EHS’ potential classification as a verifiable medical condition contentious.
So what preventative measures can be taken? Unfortunately there is not much that can be done to avoid EHS in some capacity as our daily exposure to electromagnetic fields including Wi-Fi is almost constant. Therefore, its starts with small changes that help diminish our contact with Wi-Fi saturated environments, such as avoiding direct exposure to wireless frequencies and networks as much as possible by opting for cabled connections instead. Another preventative measure includes limiting the amount of time per day spent with wireless devices such as cell phones, laptops and tablets by switching such devices off when they are not being utilised. Lastly, an appeal has been made to the World Health Organisation imploring them to recognise EHS as a serious issue, and in turn promote the regulation of wireless technology in order to reduce the risk of contracting EHS and its growing pervasiveness in today’s society.