To the editors:

I’d like to thank you for your fine article on Environmental Illness and candida [“The Yeast of Our Problems,” January 22]. Let me note a few things that were not mentioned in the piece. For many of us with this form of severe, chronic illness, there is not an obvious distinction among Environmental Illness, candida, and Chronic Epstein-Barr Virus as valid diagnoses to describe the symptoms of our condition. While the Epstein-Barr syndrome has received much attention in the media during the last several years, many people diagnosed with CEBV may be totally unaware of possible connections with Environmental Illness or candida. Many members of our local E.I./Candida Support Groups here in the Chicago area have been diagnosed with Epstein-Barr. While it is very unclear what is actually going on here, the fact remains that most “CEBV diagnosed” people in our groups have benefited substantially from the traditional recommendations that have been given to environmentally ill people for years.

The basic work of healing from Environmental Illness and/or candida involves avoiding certain foods and reducing exposures to particular chemicals that can trigger reactions and provoke symptoms. There is a fairly well-defined list of foods and chemicals which are most likely to cause the greatest number of problems for the greatest number of people. These offending substances are well documented in several commonly available books written about the illness (the books are mentioned below). While the grim tone of the Reader article does accurately represent part of the struggle for recovery which many of us with the illness have gone through, it is also important to say that the vast majority of people in our support groups have improved significantly after they were properly diagnosed.

The basic books on environmental illness are Coping With Your Allergies, by Natalie Golos, and An Alternative Approach to Allergies, by Theron Randolph, M.D. The basic book on candida is The Yeast Connection, by William Crook, M.D.

Those people wishing more information about the local Environmental Illness/candida support groups in the area may write to “E.I./Candida Support Groups of Chicago,” c/o James LeRoy, 910 Judson #2, Evanston, IL 60202, or call 328-1106. Again, many thanks to the Reader and to Bob McClory for his fine work in this article.

James LeRoy