Does working on the computer make you sick?

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by Tawra, Apr 11, 2007.

  1. Tawra

    Tawra New Member

    I've had CFS and FM for 18 years. Every day around 3p.m. I start getting really sick and have a bad flare up until about 7p.m. after the kids go to bed.

    It thought that it was just all the commotion from having 3 kids.

    Well, I went on vacation all by myself and just sat in the mountains for 2 weeks. (I have a wonderful hubby, mom and in-laws who let me use their rental house)

    I wasn't on the phone but once a day and not on the computer at all. Well, I noticed that I didn't get sick once at 3p.m. on any of those days. I wasn't healed but it wasn't the horrible "I can't get off the couch, I wish I could just die" kind of flare.

    I've always had problems with talking on the phone making my CFS flare but after being home for 3 days and working on the computer again I am getting really sick again. I just realized that I think it's from working on the computer that is making me do that. I start about noon when my 3 year old takes a nap and get off about 2:30 before I go get the kids from school.

    I never did this before I had kids, they are 9 and under. I thought it was the kids but I didn't start working daily on the computer until my kids were born.

    I became an author while pregnant with #1. I now work 1-3 hours a day on the computer working on our website and books.

    Anyway, does anyone else do this? Am I crazy? If so what can you do to help with it other than giving up the computer all together? I hate to do that because we have a good small business going but now I'm not sure what to do!

    Thanks for any advice! Tawra
  2. Tawra

    Tawra New Member

    Unfortunately naps don't do anything for me. Plus it takes me 20 or 30 minutes before I can fall asleep which is completely frustrating!

    Anyway, thanks for the idea. I am thinking of maybe doing my work in the evenings instead. Usually I'm dead tired by the 7 p.m rolls around. Even the worst of the flare seems to be over by them I'm just exhausted.

    I am wondering if I worked in the evening and then went to bed if that would help. Thanks for the idea!
    Tawra
  3. Waynesrhythm

    Waynesrhythm Member

    Hi Tawra,

    I am also sensitive to EMFs and find it difficult to work on the computer. I get sick being on the computer or on the phone too long. To help with this, I restrict myself to LCD screens which give off far less EMFs than large desktop-type monitors. I also try to pace myself and not do too much of either at any given time.

    I do know there are many different types of products that claim to help protect from EMFs. I tried a couple of them years ago, and found them wanting. I have heard from friends however, that they have found products that work really well for them.

    Something I heard recently that may help. Apparently, EMFs in the house fluctuate throughout the day. These fluctuations correspond to the cycles of electrical surges produced by the electrical suppliers. They generally take place in the early morning hours just before people start getting up, and again in the late afternoon hours when people are arriving back home and starting to do evening cooking, etc. It's possible these surges may be happening where you are around 3:00 pm when you start feeling sick.

    A suggestion I heard was to purchase an EMF meter that can measure these fluctuations in various parts of the house at various times of the day. Perhaps if you did this, you may be able to find any "hot spots". This could then allow you to minimize your EMF exposure and maximize the time you can devote to your computer work.

    I've not gotten around to doing this myself. If you or anybody else gives this a try, I would certainly be interested in hearing results.

    Hope you can find a good solution for yourself.

    Regards, Wayne
    [This Message was Edited on 04/11/2007]
  4. merrie

    merrie New Member

    I get sick when I am on the computer for more than thirty min. to an hour. I split my time up to 30 min. in the morning and 30 Min. in the afternoon. I also have chemical intolerance and I think what makes me sick is the electronic smell coming from the computer and the printer ink when I use it. That is just my opinion.
    Merrie
  5. swifter

    swifter New Member

    I don't know if you have had an eye exam lately, but you might want to have one with an eye doctor that understands FM/CFS. Sometimes when I am on the computer my eyes start to cross and it puts me to sleep. Other times if I scroll the screen too fast I get nauseated. Eye problems can do strange things to our systems.
    [This Message was Edited on 04/11/2007]
    [This Message was Edited on 04/12/2007]
  6. Tawra

    Tawra New Member

    I did have an eye exam not too long ago. He doesn't know much about CFS or FM. It's funny because my daughter has problems with her focus. I can't do the exersises that she is supposed to do and I am pretty sure that I have the same thing. We don't have insurance right now or I would look into it further.

    That may be the problem and I didn't even realize it. Thanks for the suggestion! Tawra
  7. Engel

    Engel New Member

    with no stress and commotion. It does make ya wonder about computers and electronics doesn't it?
  8. lorreannhopkins

    lorreannhopkins New Member

    I have hypersensitivity to sounds, smell-especially chemicals, perfumes, etc-I have MCS, drugs, exercise, noise, and the electromagnetic fields from TV, phones-especially cell phones, and the computer. I notice it the most with my hand on the mouse. I can actually feel the charges coming off the mouse. If I keep my hand on it long enough it will stimulate my bowels. So I think all of this stimuli is harmful to anyone-but especially to us. I feel very tired and drained after using the computer and who knows how much worse I am because I use it daily. I too have wondered about products that block the EMF's so if anyone has found success with one I'd like to hear it. I've heard that Salt Lamps placed near the computer put out positive ions that offset the harmful EMF's. I've thought about trying it-it can't hurt.
  9. Tawra

    Tawra New Member

    Ok, what are EMT's and why would they bother us? I can do a search in the archives but I haven't heard of this one.

    I haven't done a ton of research on CFS and FM in the last few years. Every time I do it just wears me out trying to figure out what to try next. I've tried several different supplements and the only thing that has helped a little was NADH.

    I was reading the road to remission post just shaking my head thinking "how is a person supposed to even start?".

    Oh well. I was thinking the computer problem I was having was some sort of brain misfire but the EMT's is something maybe I should research.

    Thanks for the info.! Tawra
  10. Waynesrhythm

    Waynesrhythm Member

    Hi again Tawra,

    EMFs stands for Electromagnetic Frequencies. Anything that runs on electricity gives these off in varying degrees. Desktop computer monitors can give off a lot. Other high EMF appliances include microwave ovens and small clocks that have the red numbers (I think they may be called LCD displays). So often people have these types of clocks next to them as they sleep. I’ve often wondered if some who have sleep problems are too close to these displays.

    One other place where a person can get large amounts of exposure is while driving down the road. Any vehicle can give off varying amounts from the engine’s electrical firings and the displays on the dashboard. Do you notice getting a similar feeling after driving as you do working on the computer? This could be a clue. I get sick after too much exposure and, like you, can also can experience feeling like my brain is misfiring.

    One more point: People with metal in their mouths from fillings, crowns, etc. can experience electrical conductivity inside their mouths, especially if the metals are dissimilar (different types of metals on different teeth). I would hypothesize that people who have this are more susceptible to EMF exposure.

    These types of electrical conductivities inside the mouth and so close to the brain have been implicated in some progressive neurological illnesses. A 60 minutes show several years ago chronicled a woman (I believe diagnosed with multiple sclerosis) who went to a dentist in a wheelchair to have her metals replaced. Besides getting rid of a source of chronic toxicity for her body, the immediate removal of the electrical currents allowed her to walk out of the office.

    I’m a big believer in reducing our EMF exposures to tolerable limits. Everyone’s tolerable limits are going to be different. Some people who are extremely sensitive can feel sick from electrical appliances from a distance where even sensitive EMF meters cannot even detect the EMFs.

    Hope this helps.

    Regards, Wayne

    P.S. I can relate to your frustration about wondering where to even begin with a therapy plan for ourselves. I tend to look at this as a marathon, and try to pace myself accordingly. I also sometimes compare it to a project somebody is using to try to get a doctorate degree.

    It’s not easy for most of us, and it will be a long sustained effort. But with the help of this message board, it can be a collaborative effort with others who are like-minded, most of whom we will never meet. Good luck to all of us.
    [This Message was Edited on 04/12/2007]
  11. grace4u

    grace4u New Member


    Funny I was just thinking the same thing before I logged on to the board I googled the above. sandra
  12. mezombie

    mezombie Member

    Click on my username to the left to check my profile and you'll see what I mean. I suspect you're dealing with sensory overload.

    I think it's part of CFS. The Canadian Clinical Definition of CFS/ME includes photosensitivity (sensitivity to light) and related symptoms (see http://www.cfids-cab.org/MESA/ccpc.html).

    Along with breaking up the time I spend on the computer, I also try to switch to something that is different, like meditation, rest, or physical activity.

    I also wear light blue sunglasses while looking at the computer screen. A tiny bit of Klonopin helps with the symptoms.

    Do you have any form of dysautonomia (Neurally Mediated Hypotension, Orthostatic Intolerance, etc.)? If so, sitting too long may be causing symptoms. Try making sure your knees above your hip level when you're on the computer by using a footstool or anything that is handy.

    I've learned that LCD screens have less flicker than regular screens, so they help. The flicker is imperceptible to the eye, but not to your brain.

    If it's really bad (and it is for me!) you might want to explain your symptoms to a neurologist and get a good exam. I was diagnosed as having "vestibular migraines" which often respond to regular migraine medications.

    Unfortunately, I've already tried without effect all migraine meds on the market for my classic migraines, so that was not a helpful diagnosis.

    We are now considering that something called "photosensitive epilepsy" is causing my symptoms. This requires an EEG with photostimulation to verify the diagnosis. Treatment consists of anti-seizure medications.

    I hope this helps!


    [This Message was Edited on 04/13/2007]
  13. ephemera

    ephemera New Member

    computers & hypersensitivity bump
  14. lorreannhopkins

    lorreannhopkins New Member

    Waynes post was very informative. I must have been tired last night when I posted-I meant to say EMF's not EMT's. Either way, it's still the same problem. I'm surprised that I'm the only one who notices a problem with the mouse. I can't keep my hand on it without it feeling shock waves going through my fingers. I try to use the keyboard instead. It really is hard to get away from all of this but I guess it's one of many things we have to manage with our illness. Environmental triggers as well as everything else.
  15. Waynesrhythm

    Waynesrhythm Member

    Hi Loreeann,

    I wonder if it's possible that you have some kind of short in your mouse? Unless this happens with all "mice", perhaps a different one might make a difference.

    Regards, Wayne

    P.S. As an addendum to my earlier post re: the implications of metal in the mouth. After having all my dental amalgams removed (over a period of 2-3 years), I moved on to having five metal (predominantly nickel) crowns removed. Removing these crowns was a big deal for me. After doing so, my partner commented to me several times over the next 2-3 months, "Sweetie, your brain is working so much better". I noticed it as well, but was happy to have an outside confirmation.
  16. Tawra

    Tawra New Member

    I think my problem may be more of a sensory overload problem but it's funny because I used to get shocked when I was using the stove (everyone else could use it just fine), every time I would change a light bulb it would shatter in my hand and could never wear a watch. I get really sick and agitated when I ride or drive in the car too.

    The sensory overload is a HUGE problem for me. I just can't stand any noise at all and with 3 kids and a husband who doesn't stop talking it's very taxing on my system! I may try the klonopin. I'm trying Prozac right now and if it doesn't help then I will go off and try the klonopin next.

    Thanks! Tawra

  17. mezombie

    mezombie Member

    If you do decide to try Klonopin for your sensory overload problems, remember that a little goes a long way! I chop a 1 mg tablet into quarters and take just one quarter. You may need less or more. You'll know if you're taking too much during the daytime because you'll get very sleepy!

    Good luck!
  18. MsE

    MsE New Member

    Yes, I have to limit the amount of time I spend on the computer. I get very nervous after I've been on it awhile, and it has affected my vision.

    This really bothers me because I've always done a lot of writing, belong to a writing group, and this problem has cut my productivity.

    After ME/CFIDS strikes, nothing is the same.
  19. monkeykat

    monkeykat Member

    Yes, I have been very sensitive to EMF's. I have CFS/ME, FM, MCS and POTS with decreased sweat response.

    I am also sensitive to talking on the phone too long. I used to cough up yellow bloody stuff if I stayed on the phone too long with someone and I'd get extremely fatigued.

    Monkeykat