- Last Updated: 15 November 2015 15 November 2015
What are the signs and symptoms of MCS?
The symptoms of MCS are remarkably similar to those of CFIDS/ME. They include rashes and skin irritation; burning, watering, dry or itchy eyes; earaches or ringing in the ears; sore throat; headaches; runny nose or congestion; muscle pain and/or weakness; pain and tingling in the extremities (hands and feet); gastro-intestinal problems (stomach ache, gas, diarrhea); nausea, dizziness; fatigue; brain "fog"; lack of coordination; difficulty concentrating; anxiety or mood swings; vomiting; fainting; seizures; and many other symptoms.
Because of the great range of MCS symptoms and their similarity to CFIDS/ME symptoms, other indicators are usually necessary to suggest MCS.
Here are some additional indicators that might suggest a PWC has MCS:
Gradual onset of illness (as opposed to acute onset)— the patient got sick over a period of weeks, months or years.
Onset of illness triggered by an accident or chemical exposure. Examples are a medical procedure, especially if it involved getting general anesthesia or injection of dyes, or other exposure to chemicals; a new house, a new school or workplace, and/or new carpeting, furniture, or heating system; use of, or proximity to, paints, pesticides, industrial cleaners or solvents, adhesives, or other construction materials; exposure to polluted water or air (whether acute or long-term).
Any known or suspected food allergies, inhalant allergies (such as dust, pollen, mold, animal dander, etc.), or chemical sensitivities (such as perfume or tobacco).
A worsening of symptoms over time (both in number and severity).
Sudden onset or cessation of symptoms without apparent cause or explanation. Examples: someone comes to visit and you realize that you've developed a headache and sore throat that you didn't have before; or you walk into the kitchen and suddenly you have a horrible "brain fog", or you go outside and after a half hour you feel better (or worse) than you have all day.
Sensitivity (bad reactions) to medications.
Note: Because a person with CFIDS fits more than one of these categories, it does not mean that s/he necessarily has MCS—many of these can be true for people who just have CFIDS—but it may suggest that a PWC would want to at least have MCS ruled out.