1. Religion & Spirituality
Send to a Friend via Email
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Readers Respond: Coping Strategies for Scent Sensitive Persons

Responses: 71


From the article: Are Scents Making You Sick?
Share Post: Are you sensitive to certain smells? How do you manage living in a world full of perfumes and toxic chemical smells? Please help other scent-sensitives by sharing your strategies for living amidst an aroma-filled world. How Do You Cope?


I am fortunate to be able to work full time I crash on my days off. Avoidance and plenty of fans and fresh air when at home and sleep,wear cotton tops mostly white less dyes. I use ionizer around neck and chew gum at church (worst place!) It has ruined my life it started with exposure to carpet and snowballed in 3 months. It has been 13 yrs now. The worst thing is my husband won't change the soaps that he uses. We don't do anything together anymore and he thinks I am crazy. I was able to go on a mission trip to Ethiopia, and was extremely anxious about getting into something I couldn't get out of. I have tried lots of things nothing seems to cure it.
—Guest janet

Taking maxalt-mlt 10 mg

I am very allergic to perfume, cigarette, smoke and chemicals. Started from stress working at max prison. I take maxalt-mlt 10 mg after the migraine starts. Presto, headache gone.
—Guest guest ann


My MCS was in remission for many years until my apartment building installed air fresheners. I ended up with severe chemical poisoning from it and was diagnosed with chemical exposure/poisoning in the hospital three times from this building. I had to get the local Congressman involved to get them to remove the air fresheners. They did. But the damage was done. I now have my MCS back in full force. All scents are making me sick, and my asthma is a form of severe allergic reactionary inflammatory asthma. Tenants in the building still burn candles and use air fresheners and scented oils and it gets into my apartment. Then I have laundry room fumes and secondhand smoke that gets in here, too. It's pure hell on earth. Nothing works to keep any of it out. I have my bedroom taped up with plastic, I have an air purifier, I mask when I can, too. Masking helps, but it's impossible to wear masks 24/7. I just wish I could afford to move to an island at this point. It's impossible.
—Guest Carri

Dying from CoWorkers' Perfume

Mine started with work/home chemical exposures. didn't think anything of it since I didn't ever have allergies to anything my whole life. then I noticed severe migraines daily when I wore perfume so I stopped. Then a new co-worker started to put on a hand lotion that tore my throat out every single time she put it on. She refused to stop saying 'oh no, it smells good" and "it doesn't bother you, I put this on everyday!" Yeah, and I kept asking her not to. Then, she stopped when she put me out of work and had to do our job alone. Then a new girl was hired and she put on who knows what (same/similar stuff) and the response was the same. Was told it was their civil right and they would get lawyers. Boss has been enjoying the drama and my pain. Even though they don't have the right to do this to me and they are forcing me out of my career my union hasn't helped me. They haven't had their jobs threatened like mine was repeatedly. They all talk about their wonderful karma. They're killing me.
—Guest southern sufferer

Thanks For The Idea

I am super sensitive to perfumes. We have this new girl at work and she wears a gallon or two of the nasty stuff. I don’t have to see her. I just know when she has passed by. It gives me a killer headache. People don’t understand because they can hardly smell it. For me it’s as if someone sprayed it up my nose. Thanks for the Vicks idea. I will try that. As for the commenter that feels it’s such a bad thing to be asked not to wear scents. The difference is you have the ability not to wear it. Those of us with this problem have no choice about our condition. I don’t know about charcoal masks. I would highly doubt my work would even allow that. Might freak our clients out. It’s pretty mean to ask someone to wear a mask when all you have to do is not put the stuff on. So you can’t find another way to honor people? Like wear a ribbon or something? You sound pretty cold hearted to me. Ice water. I hope never to know someone with so little compassion.
—Guest William

menthol cough drops

I use menthol cough drops when I can't stand a smell.
—Guest pat


Like other allergies, this appears suddenly after previously non-problematic exposure. A good friend has it, a truly daunting problem! Just read the responses...some strategies seem to help: 1. FIND GOOD SCENTS TO MITIGATE OFFENDING CHEMICALS--Vicks, vanilla, peppermint, oranges, sandalwood, thieves oil, lemongrass... other unnamed essential oils. 2. A FEW OTC PRODUCTS--Fluticasone, Ocean Saline, Fluxonase nasal sprays; Ayr saline gel. 3. THE SINGLE MEDICAL PROCEDURE CITED--Really, the Lone Ranger Treatment, LDA (low-dose allergen) therapy. C'mon, researchers! 4. FREE HOME STRATEGIES (for a bit of relief)-- breathe thru a wet paper towel, breathe thru a mask of your own tresses, chew a bunch of gum, cover as much skin as possible, clean things with vinegar. THOUGHTS: Could our own body scents be blockers? Appears this never goes away, worsens with time and is yet one more member of the oft-maligned "New Syndromes Perhaps Unleashed by Overexposure to Chemical Innovations" club.
—Guest Susan

Perfume Allergy

While I don't have a life-threatening issue with my nose, I get a "hay fever" response to nearly every perfume, lotion, hairspray...etc. Natural scents help... usually citrus. I'll try the peppermint thing. I fight with my family too, they don't smell 80% of the things I do. Zyrtec *can* help, just depends on the smell. Also, for me, the scents never go away. I smell them as long as I'm in the vicinity. I had to give up a really good job, all to a smell. I worked there a week. Unfortunately, it was the smell of the cleaner necessary to remove a type of ink from the equipment. I feel for everyone who has to suffer from this, at a minimum, irritating condition.
—Guest Pete

Nsal filters by Breathe-Ezy

Google these things, I Just found them and they work. Also let's get together and demand to have the right to a scent-free environment in our work place... Let's write to the government and see if they do anything about it.
—Guest T

Message to guest - cope

You'ew lucky they don't allow cig smoking in restaurants or workplaces anymore. What is someone supposed to do who gets a headache at work from another person's cologne and can't leave and still has to breathe? Just have a headache all day so a guy can sit at his desk and smell pretty? Who's being inconsiderate here? Cologne/perfume is meant for YOU to smell better, not the entire room or building you go to. That stuff used to be for hot dates or sat night events. Now people think they need to wear it to school, work, church, the store, and EVERYWHERE! which Axe is big at fault for with the kids. wash with axe soap, use axe deodorant, then spray axe cologne - to go to school? REALLY! Try showers with regular soap it works wonders and won't smell up an entire dr's office. The users get more immune to the smell and end up wearing more & more & more to keep smelling nice, while others are gagging around them. I couldn't imagine doing something to make others sick and then say "Too Bad for U"
—Guest Clint - suffering

Feeling hopeless

I too suffer BAD from all kinds of chemicals. Cleaners, perfume, cologne, cig smoke, incense, etc. And everywhere I go I eventually get a mild headache from one of them. the majority of the time its cigarettes or cologne/perfume. old ladies and men are now the worst. AXE is my worst enemy! These kids spray that crap on like there is no tomorrow. Until I PAID him monthly not to, my brother would literally spray it on himself 8-10 times A DAY! before school, during school 3 times, after school, then when his girl came over and before they went out. Our whole house smelled like it and stuff I sold on ebay people complained about cigarette & cologne smell on my magazines. That's just ridiculous! How uncaring and insensitive people are to others' air. if you smoke or wear something that affects others air, then YOU NEED To STOP. And, for those that say too bad, I PRAY you all Have to deal with something like this one day and get that same response. what comes around goes around.
—Guest Clint - Suffering

My Sensitivity to Scents is Horrid

I've always been sensitive to fragrances, but in the last few months, it's gotten really horrid. I started working for a company, and a boy who works here smokes (which I am allergic to) and then tries to cover his smoke stench with some Axe-like perfume (which I am also allergic to). It's horrid. You can smell this guy 20' away and when he comes near you it takes forever to clear the air. I've tried fans, a carbon filter mask, holding my breath... My doctor has me on pills, 2 inhalers and a nose spray as well as regular allergy shots. NOTHING helps. When I'm forced to be near him for any length of time my throat starts to close. I wheeze, honk and choke. The manager asked him to stop. The boss asked him to stop. The owner of the company told him to stop. I've rapidly deteriorated since working here. I have a choking night cough now that keeps me from sleeping. Now almost all men's perfumes set me off. I have migraines and muscle spasms. I can't laugh too hard or I start wheezing. HELP
—Guest @work

I wish it to be gone

I have been coping with Hypersensitivity to smells for the past few years. I can smell my neighbors smoking and want to run every time someone sprays perfume. I work in a Call Center. At times it is impossible for me to perform my job. My head feels like it is going through a Birth Canal. My ears ring terribly, I get Dizzy, Shake and the Migraines are horrible. I can't have a social life. I am on nasal sprays and go for allergy shots. Still not getting better. I get anxiety and almost every night I want to cry. Yes I wear a mask with a carbon filter to bed when it is bad. I use Vicks Vapor Rub and only helps a little. I have air purifiers. I feel like there is no hope :(

Comment from a SMELLY person.

I was embarrassed by someone's reaction to my "smell" when I went to a 1st aid training. I was not wearing anything but apparently she had a "reaction" to my "smell" and made a HUGE scene about it. My mother uses scented candles, inscense and other fragrant oils to honor our loved ones who have died and it is her religious belief so I could carry a "smell" on me that someone is sensitive to. I also work with several people who are sensitive to scents and do my best to come to work "scent free" but I still seem to bother them no matter what I do. We use air purifiers and have asked everyone to accommodate their scent sensitivity but no matter what they still complain. We have asked everyone to honor a "scent free" work environment but the people with the issues never seem to do anything about it themselves like wear a face mask... I have every right to use natural oils to smell nice and honor my family as my civil right.
—Guest MelindaJo

I can't live a normal life

My smell sensitivity is so bad, that if onions,peppers, garlic or any other vegetable that isn't corn or green beans are being prepared in the same place, I will instantly throw up or become short of breath and then throw up. Let's see. My nose and stomach have a similar reaction with, alcohol, curtain brands of cigarettes, all cigars, heavy body odor, any kind of perfume or fragrance, any kind of scented lotion, candles, curtain brands of make-up, curtain smells of different leathers when I go coat shopping, tar, exhaust, hairspray and pretty much any smelly hair product, curtain brands of coffee, different types of metal, a number of different plants, baby oil, gold bond, baby powder, motor oil, peanut butter, apple butter, garlic butter, anything citrus and I think that's the lot of it but there is probably more. How I deal with life is I don't go out to eat and if I do I tell my friends what they can't have.

How Do You Cope?

Coping Strategies for Scent Sensitive Persons

Receive a one-time notification when your response is published.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.