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Unmet health care needs for persons with environmental sensitivity

Authors Gibson PR, Kovach S, Lupfer A

Received 1 February 2014

Accepted for publication 10 November 2014

Published 23 January 2015 Volume 2015:8 Pages 59—66

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/JMDH.S61723

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Scott Fraser

Pamela Reed Gibson, Shannon Kovach, Alexis Lupfer

Department of Psychology, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA, USA

Abstract: Studies of unmet health care needs have shown that women, people with poor health, and people with lower socioeconomic status are more likely to report having unmet health care needs. In this study, we examined the types of and reasons for unmet health care needs in 465 people with environmental sensitivities. A second area of inquiry involved negative reactions to general anesthesia. Results showed that the most common barriers to receiving care were the inability to find a provider who understands environmental sensitivities and a lack of accessibility due to chemical and electromagnetic exposures in health care environments. Lower income and poorer health (longer illness, a worsening or fluctuating course of illness, and a higher level of disability) were significantly correlated with the total number of reported unmet health care needs. Some people with environmental sensitivities reported having negative reactions to anesthesia of long duration; most common were nausea and vomiting, fatigue, and reduced cognitive ability.

Keywords: environmental sensitivity, chemical sensitivity, electrohypersensitivity, chemical hypersensitivity, chemical intolerance, contested illness

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