A British woman has a case of electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EH) so severe that she has had to relocate twice to new parts of the country, and even now cannot leave her house without wearing a shielded bed net.
Kim De’Atta says her condition has been severely socially isolating.
“Most of the time people think I am mad. It is so difficult because people are not feeling it themselves,” she said. “I have not seen friends and family for so long. I have had two visitors for half a day each this year. It’s heart-breaking really.”
Like a laser to the brain
De’Atta is a growing number of what have been dubbed EMF refugees, or people with EH so severe that they are forced to move to increasingly remote areas in search of places not swamped by wireless signals from WiFi, cell phone towers and smart meters.
Although EH is not a diagnosis accepted by mainstream medical science, a growing number of doctors use the term to describe a variety of health conditions connected by greater-than-average sensitivity to electromagnetic fields generated by electric devices. The stronger the signal generated, the stronger people’s reaction tends to be. EH is also known by a number of other names, including electrical sensitivity (ES), microwave or radiation sickness, and EMF injured.
According to the EMF Safety Network, symptoms of EH include headaches, fatigue, sleep problems, nausea, ringing ears, rashes, disruption to memory and concentration, immune dysfunction, heart palpitations, joint pain, facial swelling, eye problems and cancer.
De’Atta’s own symptoms include migraines, fatigue and increased susceptibility to infection. She first became aware of her problem at age 16, when she realized that she felt sick when she sat near televisions. Several years later, she got her first cell phone to be on call while working as an intensive care nurse.
“The first time I put it up to my head it was like a laser going into my brain,” she said. “Every time I put it up to my head I got the pain.”
“After that I was finding I was getting more and more fatigued and my immune system was getting knocked meaning I was getting infections.”
Trapped in her home
After learning more about EH, De’Atta decided to try moving to Glastonbury, a town with little in the way of cell phone towers or other high-emitters of EMF. But a few years later, a cell phone tower was installed in the town center. She began feeling sick again immediately.
“I now realize my health started to deteriorate from that point and I started to experience migraines, fatigue and infections,” she said.
The problem intensified when a 3G signal was installed to continually blanket the whole town. De’Atta started suffering from breathlessness and heart palpitations.
“My head felt like it was going to implode and explode at the same time,” she said. “I was also getting breathlessness, heart palpitations and lower back pain. I had started to suffer from serious ear aches and was becoming really sensitive to light.”
So she moved again, this time to Chard, Somerset.
A period of intense seclusion followed, in which she had almost no face-to-face contact with her loved ones.
“I had not seen my closest aunt for ten years and she didn’t really understand why,” she said. “We were so close before. I could not bear it anymore and she was 91 at the time. I had to wear my shielded bed net over my head and you can imagine I got some funny looks on the bus.”
“It was so tough for me but I’m pleased I did it because she died the next year and if I hadn’t seen her I would never have forgiven myself.”