Being Sensitive to Scent in a World Full of Fragrance

In my new post for Mango Health, I share what it's like to be scent-sensitive in as fragranced world and the what you can do to cope:

"Today is cleaning day for my neighbor across the hall. As floor cleaner fumes snake their way under my front door, I have an early morning asthma reaction. Coughing, I turn on the fan to breathe easier before I head out for the day.

Ah, fresh air is wonderful! That is, until I pass the laundry room vent and get hit with a blast of floral-scented steam from the dryers. At least I know my doctor’s office is safely scent-free. But when I go into the bathroom, I discover that it’s been sprayed with air freshener. The staff doesn’t seem to understand why this is a problem. I decide I don’t need the bathroom, after all.

After my appointment, I head to the mall for a few quick purchases. The drugstore has no fragrance-free hair products, so I move on. This requires taking the elevator, which is located next to a bath and body products store known for its delicious scents. I can already smell it, 30 yards away. While I wait for the elevator, I get dizzy and wheezy. The scents settle in my hair, so I’ll have to wash it again when I get home.

And now for another elevator, this one taking me up to my apartment and safety. But first, I have to spend 30 seconds in the small enclosed space with a woman who seems to have bathed in perfume. I’m coughing, my eyes are running, and she’s taking it personally."

Read more about being sensitive to scent and how to cope on Mango Health.


Rick Phillips said…
I sneeze so much when I get around fragrances. I hate it. Candles,bath fragrances, perfume, or laundry smells. Makes me crazier and that is a very short road most of the time.
Caroline said…
Some people don't get it. I go to a local cancer support center. One of the social workers came up with the great idea to bring in therapy dogs to 'help' people. Someone else who goes there told me that she is so allergic to dogs and other animals that she starts getting asthmatic and has to go to the doctor for steroids at each exposure. Last week,the social worker did bring in the therapy dogs and my friend is still on steroids to recover. We were told that the social worker has been told no more dogs and several people had complained. A good idea, not thought through, that caused medical care and expense for others.

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