Women's Health Matters

Text Size
Jump to body content


People living with chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME) sometimes have environmental sensitivities or intolerances, whereby they experience symptoms when they are exposed to low levels of everyday substances in the environment. If you have environmental sensitivities, the most important thing to do is avoid the substances that trigger these symptoms.

Here are some tips for making your home more environmentally safe. You will likely need help to make these changes. Or try breaking each task into 15-minute intervals.

  • Decrease the number of "dust collectors" in your home by removing knick-knacks, decorative pillows and stuffed animals.
  • Reduce clutter, particularly paper and books, which collects dust. Keep papers in a desk and books in a glass-covered case.
  • Make your own cleaning products using baking soda, vinegar and pure soap or buy cleaning products labelled "non-toxic," "eco" or "safe."
  • Use unscented personal care products, such as deodorants, lotions and shampoos. Avoid perfume and cologne.
  • Reduce the humidity in your house to 30 to 50 percent, to prevent mould growth.
  • Get rid of any mouldy items, such as indoor plants.
  • Do not store items in cardboard boxes – use moisture-proof storage containers.
  • Avoid pesticides and herbicides, both indoors and outdoors.
  • If you have an option, choose hardwood or ceramic flooring instead of carpets. If you have carpets, use a central vacuum or a vacuum with a HEPA filter.

For more information, see the sections on Indoor Air Quality at Home and Environmental Sensitivities.


Jump to top page

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Medical description


Living with CFS/ME

Activity and exercise




Pain relief


Coping emotionally

Discussion Groups

Share knowledge and talk about your environmental health-related experiences with other women.

Environmental Health Discussion Forum

Read personal stories

Read stories from other women and learn from their experiences.

Your stories

How you can help

Visit Women's College Hospital Foundation

  • A publication of:
  • Women's College Hospital