A woman who says she is ‘allergic to WiFi’ and unable to receive NHS treatment has been forced to move out of her home because of her condition.
Rachel Hinks, of Brideoake Close in Chichester, claims she suffers from electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS) – meaning her immune system is severely affected by electromagnetic fields from WiFi signals, masts and mobile phones.
The 43-year-old wants to help raise awareness for her condition, which is currently not a recognised medical diagnosis in the UK, to help other people who may be suffering with EHS.
Rachel said: ‘At first I had mild symptoms – I noticed when I switched to a cordless phone my ear would burn after about 10 minutes, and when I tried to use my laptop using WiFi I became very fatigued – so I resorted back to using a wired up connection.
‘Then in December 2015 I became suddenly very unwell – violent shaking, severe head pains, disorientation – I couldn’t sleep more than a few hours at a time and felt like I was in a meltdown.
‘I found out later that the mobile phone masts out the back of me had gone up from 2G to 4G and my new neighbour who had moved in was using a BT hub against the wall.’
Despite not being recognised in the UK, the World Health Organisation has acknowledged the condition.
They say symptoms include ‘headaches, fatigue, stress, sleep disturbances, skin symptoms like prickling, burning sensations and rashes, pain and ache in muscles and many other health problems’.
Rachel continued: ‘What if I’m the canary in the mine?
‘What if I’m one of the first to suffer from these symptoms because of my weak immune system, but in a couple hundred years who knows how much more advanced technology will be and how many more people will be suffering as a result of it?’
Since Rachel became ‘severely affected’ she has been forced to make huge changes, including leaving her home.
She said: ‘Socially I have been very limited over the past year in places I can go.
‘I have a few friends who will turn off all their mobiles and WiFi for me to visit, but it’s been very isolating.’
Rachel temporarily lives in a cabin at her friend’s property where she can stay away from WiFi and other signals.
But it is soon to be rented out, leaving Rachel with the very real possibility of homelessness.
‘I never imagined I’d be in this situation when I have a sweet little home I’ve rented for 17 years and good neighbours, yet I have now become too sick to live there,’ she said.
‘Each day I need to drive into Chichester and re-expose myself to feed my cat and I take her out in the car to the meadows where I can give her some company for an hour.
‘I haven’t yet found anyone who could foster her and anyone who has a beloved pet can understand how it would feel leaving an animal alone so much of the time.
‘I would like to break through the taboo of a condition that people have little awareness of, so that anyone suffering from this receives understanding and support from those around them, and that it becomes easier to get a diagnosis.’