Daily Gasp 10.10.16

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BAC and your health

An eye examination or the use of artificial tears should not end in a condition worse than before the supposed protective activity.  But many times this is just the case.  Eye drops – regardless of their chemical makeup – contain preservatives to keep them free of bacteria. These preservatives can and do cause many people a great deal of suffering.  The good news is, this suffering is avoidable.

If you are a sufferer of Chemical Sensitivity, then this post will be much more than simply, an article ‘of interest’ to you. The information here will spare you some serious suffering; some of it potentially life-threatening.

As I write this article, my right eye is puffy, red, irritated, itchy, watering and inflamed.  I had an eye exam 3 days ago, in which my regular ophthalmologist used an examination eye drop containing one of the most common preservatives used: BAC.

BAC is a widely used chemical preservative. BAC is used in a wide range of commonly used products, such as soaps, cosmetics, cleaning products, ophthalmic preparations, disinfectants, and spermicides. BAC inhibits bacterial and fungal growth. Thereby rendering the solutions, in which BAC is found, safe from bacteria-borne infections.  A very useful commodity for sure.

However, most such solutions (read: ALL!) come with a price. BAC is NOT an exception to this rule.

With BAC, that price is paid in your health.

Yes, the very premise upon which it is intended to protect; at least in the publicized intent of the manufacturers of the products in which it is found. But in reality, BAC is more dangerous than most of the chance infections it is intended to prevent.

BAC is one of four (4) acronyms used for Benzalkonium Chloride [1]. BAC is a highly hydrosoluble bipolar compound with surfactant properties; which means it acts like a detergent.  When BAC is in concentration between 0.004 and 0.02%, topical products (liquid products) do NOT allow bacterial cell walls or membrane to attach to any part of the products cellular structure. BAC’s use is focused on stopping what is called, Gram-positive bacteria; those who are known to be serious causative agents of infection.

Simply put, BAC makes the liquid environment ‘too slick’ for bacteria to colonize. If bacteria cannot colonize, they die.  With no bacteria in the solution, then the solution drops to an industry standard level of ‘unlikely infection potential’.  That is, for manufacturers and medical professionals, a sought-after acceptability.  Products then can be promoted, sold and used, on humans, for an often broad-spectrum of needs, by the millions of units.

Underneath all this euphemistic jargon, it simply means the product will become profitable. Those who make it can make money; usually a lot of money; from it.  Score. Point. Game.

For the most part, this kind of logic is also based upon a reasonably scientific rationalization. A product that ‘stops or interrupts’ infection is a good thing; especially in the medical professions.  So why would this not be a good thing?  Well, it is, in concept, for the most part.

For the most part.  That is until you look into what Benzalkonium Chloride does to the cells of the human body.  Then the value of its use comes into serious question.

Animal studies have shown that BAC has toxic effects, even in a single dose, at low concentrations, on the corneo-conjunctival surface (cornea: clear covering over the iris; conjunctiva: the clear mucous covering of the eyeball).

It has been long known to ophthalmological professionals, that BAC, during prolonged usage in topical drugs, that damage will occur and the rise in allergic response is exhibited.

I address BAC (Benzalkonium Chloride) here because it is the most popular preservative used in topic pharmacology for the eyes.  But as this one study [2] clearly shows, ALL preservatives have either a toxic or allergic danger (or both) in their use; especially prolonged use. Or to quote them:

“…study confirms that most preservatives used in ophthalmic eye-drops may similarly induce strong histopathological and inflammatory changes in the ocular surface after short-term use.”

Alright. I have addressed the problem.  I said there was a path to avoid this suffering. And so there is.

Preservative Free Eye Drops   

UPDATE:  My eye doctor suggested I use the Refresh PLUS artificial tear because it is ‘preservative free’. And it may be – BUT – it is not free of chemicals harmful to hypersensitive people.  Thus I cannot recommend any OTC or prescription eye drops either. What my MCS facilitator told me today – when I went in to be cleared of the chemicals that caused the MCS FRAGG event, was to use highly diluted baby shampoo to wash your eyes. People who are hypersensitive to chemicals should NOT use Refresh PLUS or any kind of eye drop.  Even though the package and product are marketed as ‘Preservative Free’, it still contains far too many chemicals that would be detrimental to the hyper-sensitive.

Refresh Plus (Preservative-free) eye drops

Refresh Plus Eye Drops – the only Preservative-free eye drops I can honestly recommend because I have used them without negative incident. – YOS

Never assume a medication is OK.  You do not know until you try it. And that could be a very painful – possibly destructive – experience.  In this case:  “The more you know the better off you will be.”

– YOSAKIME

 


References

[1] Benzalkonium chloride – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benzalkonium_chloride

[2] Histopathological effects of topical ophthalmic preservatives on rat corneo-conjunctival surface – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9561834

[3] Refresh Plus (corporate info) – http://www.refreshbrand.com/Products/refresh-plus

[4] What is: Carboxymethylcellulose sodium  – http://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-18521/carboxymethylcellulose-sodium-ophthalmic/details

[5] Drugs.com on preservatives in eye-drops – https://www.drugs.com/otc/108027/refresh-plus.html

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Daily Gasp 03.18.13

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Wood Smoke…
beware it can be quite harmful

I sit here on the couch writing this latest Daily Gasp, doing just that, gasping.  I have had light chills and fever, body aches, a nasty headache and a most unusual sore throat, for the past 48 hours.  All due to wood smoke.

But I’m ahead of the story.  Let me take you back to where it started; Why and How I got here and most important, HOW to prevent the same situation for reoccurring.

Over the past couple of months, we have been noticing a disturbing smell in our house.  The smell of hot dust. You know the smell. The one you get when you turn on a lamp – that has set undisturbed for some time  – after the bulb warms, the collected dust heats us creating a distinctive odor without any smoke or flame.  Because the odor diffuses quickly it is very difficult to track down the origin.

Each time I sensed the odor – and I did so quickly – I would rush between outlets, feeling each cover and equally feeling all the areas of wall around each outlet for warmth. Nothing. Grabbing up power strips to smell and touch.  Nothing. Only the pungent smell. The more we sought to find the source, we were able to determine that the source had to be downstairs, but that was as far as our investigation went.

A most annoying and frightening mystery.  The premonition of the condo burning was not pleasant.

We awoke as normal on Friday morning last, to a cooler than normal house. The furnace, we found out, was not working.  I called and was able to get a repairman out that morning.  After a couple of hours of troubleshooting and repair, he announced, ‘it should work’..  And it did all day Friday.  But again we awoke Saturday morning to no heat.

It wouldn’t have been too bad, had the weather report held with what was forecast at midweek. But, alas, it didn’t! The weather and temperature took a very seasonally strange turn toward COLD!  Wind. Temperatures with highs in the low-20’s and windy, made for a rather miserable time.

We were not going to be home, so we just ignored the cooling house and figured we could ‘hold-out’ until Monday; in order to keep from paying for ‘weekend HVAC repairs’.  Besides – we had the little fireplace to ‘knock-the-chill-0ff’.  It wasn’t a problem since we’d it for the last couple of years – off-and-one – with no negative problems.  Cool ..! We’ll just light-up the fireplace and enjoy some romantic, old-time comfort.

Famous last words ….

The Turn of the Tide

I did just that. Prepared the fire, as I had done many dozens of times before.  I grew up on a farm. For years we heated with wood heat, from a stove.  My parents moved from the farm and built a new house with a fireplace and woodstove insert. I knew all about building a fire and what wood to use.  What I was not prepared for was the result of inhaling wood smoke as an MCS sufferer.

The fire started and the heat was rolling out.  Ohhhh! It was nice and welcome.  For roughly 6 hours we enjoyed the familiar and cozy warmth of a wood fire.  Then the wind began to blow.  By 10 PM the wind was blowing about 20 mph with gusts to 40+. That was when I noticed the puffing of smoke out of the fireplace doors.

This wasn’t something of too much concern, since most fireplaces have ‘backdraft’ problems when wind gusts get too strong. Past experience told me it would be ‘smokey smelling’ but that would dissipate rapidly and then we’d be back to normal.

But it didn’t work that way.  Shortly after the smoke began to roll out the doors, I began to become quite congested.  Soon after a headache began. Within an hour I was into full-blown MCS FRAGG!  Fibromyalgia. Chills. Headache. Cough. Rash. Foggy-brain. The whole shebang!

By this time I had managed to extinguish the fire. But the damage was done.  And we had to open the windows and doors in an attempt to air the condo out.  Well after about 2 hours, my wife could no longer stand the cold and we had to shut the windows.  For her the smell of smoke was gone. For me it was imprinted upon my olfactory like an indelible tattoo.  The saga had begun.

Sunday I awoke more in the realm of the dead-walking, than in the living. I could barely move – and chose not to.  Bedridden except for mandatory bathroom trips.  My wife was both angry and perplexed.  We had never encountered this reaction before.  And what were we going to do, if the furnace could not be fixed soon and the temps -constantly falling- were not looking to warm up for several days.

Showering would have been an exercise in masochistic insanity.  But since my wife had to go to work on Monday, we needed heat! But the fireplace was a total ‘NO WAY’.  I was in bed all day; in and out of a state of pain induced confusion.  I was no help and going south fast.

Fortunately the HVAC pros were able to come early on Monday and finally fix the furnace.  As it turned out the cause of the problem was ‘factory-based’ – so the repair was covered under warranty. But that was the only good part of the whole ordeal.

I don’t know how I will react to wood smoke from this point forward, but I can say for sure, I will be avoiding it at all cost.

UPDATE  04.20.13 —-

Over the past month I have encountered wood smoke:  a) outside the condo from others burning wood in their fireplaces;  b) while walking;  c) driving down the road – in each case, the reactions – thought not as severe, have all had the same results: it make me sick.  Just the slightest smell is all it takes to set the MCS FRAGG into motion.  In this case.. it may be a pseudo-MCS; smell induced memory, in which neuroplasticity is at play; that is the true culprit. Regardless, the smell-of-woodsmoke induces an MCS FRAGG reaction.  I have not allowed myself to go far enough into a FRAGG incident to see it the results equal that night with the fireplace. And frankly, I am not that self-experimental and don’t have that much desire to know.  It happened once – and that was enough for me.

More ‘casual-causal’ observations will be needed to draw a full conclusion. In the meantime… I am avoiding ALL wood smoke.

Just one more thing, which I enjoyed before-MCS, I have now lost.   MCS is a tragedy to life.

YOSAKIME

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