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    fragrance allergies
    barbys8 posted:
    any good sugestions on what to take for fragrance allergies. I can't take smells perfumes, smoke, soap ,etc. I get headaches, lose my voice, runny nose etc.
    Gregory M Metz, MD responded:
    Non-allergic or irritant triggers such as smoke, strong odors and perfumes can cause nasal symptoms such as sneezing, congestion and runny nose. Sinus rinses and nasal steroid sprays can be helpful to decrease your sensitivity. Prescription Atrovent nasal spray can also be helpful.
    sgbl88 responded:
    Someone recommended that I take Zyrtec for my fragrance allergies. That didn't help me much, but it does help some people. The person who recommended it to me said that it really helped one of their friends.

    As Dr. Metz suggested nasal steroids can help the general inflamation and reactiveness. Atrovent will dry up the runny nose, but for me it only worked about 20 minutes. Also, a nasal antihistimine like Astepro or Patanase can be very helpful. Both my allergist and GP use and recommend a nasal antihistime. (My allergist has her nurses warn her when a patient is overly fragrant and she loads up on the Patanase before seeing them.) I find it more effective than the other treatments alone.

    I hope this helps you some. I have asthma reactions to any odor, but the way it affects your life is the same. Good luck.

    sgbl88 replied to sgbl88's response:
    Oh, I forgot, my allergist also has me using NasalCrom as a pretreatment for odor exposures. That is an OTC so you might want to try it first. You can find it in the allergy aisle.

    Aqua14 responded:
    In addition, what helps me is eliminating most if not all fragrances at home. I use the "free and clear" detergents, Bounce with no scent, nonscented body wash/soaps/lotions, no air fresheners or candles in my home, etc. I find that if I'm good about it at home, then I have an increased tolerance for scents when I'm out and about (such as in public places where women load up on the perfume). Hope this helps. Judy
    barbys8 replied to Aqua14's response:
    Aqua 14 I do the same as you eliminating all fragrances I use everything scent free. but I don't have the increased tolerance for scents it's worse out in public, I've had to leave stores because of the perfumes people are wearing.if I step outside & smell someone burning a fireplace, I have to go inside. Other smells get me also.
    sgbl88 replied to barbys8's response:

    You sound a lot like me. The only smell I can tollerate is a light mint or a very light citrus. Any other odor and I am likely to have an asthma attack. There are stores that I won't even go in because of the smells in them, and not just intentional fragrances like air fresheners or customers perfumes. I won't go into Kohl's because of the sizing on the fabrics.

    You really might want to try the NasalCrom. It is about $14 a bottle which lasts a really long time and it doesn't require a prescription. If that doesn't work, see an allergist and ask about atrovent and a nasal antihistimine.

    Feel better,

    barbys8 replied to sgbl88's response:
    My Doctor put me on Astepro today. will see what happens
    sgbl88 replied to barbys8's response:
    You should find that very helpful. I know my allergist uses it to treat all fragrance induced reactions (head aches, asthma, sinus congestion...).

    Keep us posted and I pray that it works for you.

    An_190991 replied to barbys8's response:
    I do the same, and don't have much problem at home. My main problem is at work. I work in a store, and have problems from my co-workers and the customers. Even if they don't wear perfume, they use scented dryer sheets or shampoos, etc that bother me. Even some of the cleaners that are used in the store create a problem. My biggest problem is the asthma attacks. It's either pain in my chest, coughing, or chest tightness that makes it hard to breathe. Maybe I should try that NasalCrom. Thanks for the advise.
    An_190992 responded:
    I need help with the problem. I have reactive airway passage disease and cannot tolerate any smells. The only thing I can do is avoid as best I can. I have glaucoma and cannot use steroid nose sprays or allergy medications. If people only knew or cared about what their perfumes did to people with sensitivities.
    sgbl88 replied to An_190992's response:
    I would like to invite you to the exchange I created for these issues. It is hard to deal with. It can be very isolating. Please come by and share your stories and let's help each other cope.

    LeeHamilton replied to sgbl88's response:
    Like others, I am also allergic to many fragrances. Laundry is done with an unscented detergent, dish soaps (Dawn), and sunscreen (getting to that time of year again) are all unscented. I can tolerate Gold Dial and J&J baby shampoo, but not the other ones that other family members use. When already bothered, I use a Cetaphil Lotion equivalent as a soap. (It could be left on, but I wash it off). One shampoo stinks so bad that I have banned it from the house. We don't use "air fresheners", because all they do is stink up the place with another scent to cover the original scent.

    I generally can't use the dispenser soaps in the public restrooms because of the scent residue. (I wish they would stock them with unscented soaps, either as the only soap or next to the scented ones, especially doctors and hospital offices that should know better.) Also most hand sanitizers have fragrance in them which causes them to stink. Finally found an unscented hand sanitizer that I use when needed, or wait until I can use that bottle of Dawn in the car or kitchen. There is also usually one in the church kitchen.

    The worst: a lady with lots of perfume coming and sitting in the pew in front of us just before the church service starts.

    This despite taking Rx medications including 2 nasal sprays (Astelin and Rhinocort) and an allergy tablet (singular).

    My teenage son has a severe reaction to cigarette smoke. Several years ago we went to visit a nearby church and by the time we reached the sanctuary his eyes were red, face was somewhat swollen, and by the time we got back to the car he was having a little trouble breathing. Luckily a nearby drug store had a Benadryl type antihistamine that brought things under control. Don't know the cause of the reaction — whether someone had used incense, or the underground pollution from a former nearby factory that has required ventilation of nearby houses, or some other cause.
    sgbl88 replied to LeeHamilton's response:
    What sunscreen do you use? I don't go out in the sun because I can't stand the smell of sunscreen (and my pollen allergies).

    I recently found some odor absorbers/eliminators that are working great for me. "Odors Away" sort of smells like tea tree oil when it is first used, but that fades VERY quickly. That is an oil that you place drops of on a glass or ceramic surface. Also a company called Natural Magic makes a fragrance free odor absorber. I like it pretty well, but the "Odors Away" is probably my favorite. I googled odor absorbers to find the Natural Magic was carried by Ace Hardware. I found the Ordors Away on the shelves there.

    Small bowls of baking soda placed around your house also absorb odors. I have read that waving a rag dampened with vinigar will clear burned food odors and cigarette odors.

    Hmmmm... that bottle of Dawn is a good idea. Maybe fill an empty purse size hand lotion bottle with some? I don't use public restrooms very often because of the airfreshners in them, so the soap isn't that big of a problem unless I REALLY have to go.

    I can relate to the church lady. Most of the people in my Sunday School class wear little to no fragrance. I sit in the far back corner and they sit around me, shielding me from those fragrant toxic clouds.

    The worst for me is that the church janitor's wife insists on plugging an airfreshner into every avilable outlet set on full blast. I have had to leave church several times just because there was absolutely NO way to get away from it in the entire building, and then adding fragrances people wear... Our auditorium is temporary and will become a gym after the permanent one isn built, so it is very open. Honestly, I think they have put an airfreshner in the heat and air system. I need to have my friend (the church HAVAC man) check that out. We have had several other people have to leave services because of the airfrashners as well. One child was taken to the ER yesterday becuase of an asthma attack that was probably from them.

    Sorry about your son's reaction, and I am blad that you were able to get it under control quickly. On the bright side, you don't have to worry about him picking up the habit or hanging out is bars.

    Thanks for sharing your story and ideas. I hope you have found some help here as well. It helps just knowing that you are not alone.

    Klm36 replied to sgbl88's response:
    For an unscented sunscreen I have found Natural Sun with an SPF 20 to be really good. It's made by Aubrey Organics.

    I too cannot use the soap in restrooms to wash my hands and so I carry with me an unscented hand sanitizer that is also alcohol free. It's called Soapopular. I got it at It works great and lasts a long time.

    For unscented products for the home also consider 7th Generation products...which are found in some large grocery chains...but if not there then in most health food stores.

    Another good unscented brand of body wash and shampoo, hair spray and hair gel is from the line called Magick Botanicals. They make their products with the chemically sensitive in mind so they put very few ingredients into the products. And they work well too.

    I found a chemical and fragrant free odor absorber called Tub O'Carbon Odor Buster. I ordered it online. It's good for putting in closets, drawers, cars, etc. where you want to absorb odor.

    Living in a world filled with chemicals and scents that makes one sick is really a challenge. It is true though that if you do your best to minimize your exposure in your own home and on yourself using non-fragrant alternatives then it makes it a bit easier to endure what you have to put up with on other people and in other environments.

    And lastly, don't forget the importance of knowing your food an unhealthy diet can contribute to over loading your whole system...making you more vulnerable to scents, pollens, etc. I have multiple food allergies as well as allergies to pollen, mold, fragrance, and chemicals. I find that if I steer clear of foods that I'm allergic to that I tolerate the other things that aren't so much in my control much better. But if I eat allergic foods then my symptoms to other things usually flare more readily.

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