Whoa, it may be possible to be allergic to Wi-Fi
Most of us would give up a lot for a good Internet signal, but our health is not an acceptable risk. Debra Fry, the grieving mother of a British teen who took her own life last June, sees her daughter’s death as the price paid for a world of modern technology.
Jenny Fry, 15, battled with severe headaches and debilitating fatigue for years, and according to Debra, her symptoms may have been caused by a mysterious illness known as Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity (EHS), or as a some call it, an allergy to Wi-Fi.
EHS is a more extensive than just a sickness caused by checking your email, however. People who have the illness claim to experience symptoms in the presence of electromagnetic fields- which are just about everywhere. Electromagnetism is one of the core technologies of the modern world, and thus people with EHS are in danger pretty much wherever they go.
For Jenny, that meant that her symptoms became worse at school, where she suffered from a variety of symptoms that her mother believes were caused by multiple Wi-Fi connects and other electromagnetic fields throughout the area. While Debra with the head teacher of her school to provide Jenny with some safe spaces, she was met with resistance. Speaking to Seventeen, Fry said, “I took lots of information into school to show the headteacher, Simon Duffy, but he said there was equally the same information available claiming Wi-Fi was safe.”
However heartless it might sound, Duffy was actually acting on a reasonable belief that many doctors and researchers hold: that EHS doesn’t actually exist at all. Multiple studies have shown no correlation between symptoms and exposure to electromagnetic fields, and as Dr. Jean Kim, professor at George Washington University, told Teen Vogue on the matter, ““There is no scientific evidence at this time that says Wi-Fi or electromagnetic waves can cause physical or neurological symptoms.”
Instead, many suggest that the illness is what’s known as a somatic illness, or a series of very real symptoms caused by an underlying psychological issue. It isn’t a cut-and-dry rejection of a Wi-Fi allergy, however: the matter is complicated by several studies also showing patients that did see an increase of symptoms when exposed to electromagnetic fields in a double-blind test.
Unfortunately, like many idiopathic illnesses, science and medicine just doesn’t have the answers for patients who believe they have EHS. One thing is for sure, whatever the cause, this syndrome results in painful and inescapable symptoms. We hope that research puts the dollars and time into figuring this one out, what happened to Jenny is too tragic, and those who suffer like Jenny did deserve answers, treatment options, and, in a dream world, a cure.
(Image via Shutterstock)