If you are sensitive to smells, you are not alone. Many people are sensitive to odors, which can make some fragrances irritating. The odors from perfumes, laundry detergents, and household cleaners can produce unwanted symptoms similar to an allergic reaction. If you suffer from sensitivity to odors, there are steps you can take to deal with the problem. Tackle unwanted odors where you live with devices like air purifiers. Talk to colleagues, family, and friends about your problems and politely ask them to cut back on scented products around you. Make sure to choose fragrance-free products for your home and find out what types of chemicals to avoid.
Part 1 of 3: Dealing With Unwanted Odors
Step 1. Record your triggers
It can be beneficial to know what types of scents are bothering you. If a specific brand of perfume or laundry detergent gives you an adverse reaction, you should know about it so that you can avoid that brand in the future. Write in a journal when and where you have an adverse reaction to an odor.
- It can be difficult to identify the precise trigger each time, but try to pay attention when symptoms appear. Write down any probable causes, from street odors to household products.
- Take the journal with you to work or social activities. These places can sometimes be full of unwanted odors that can trigger a reaction.
- Keeping the journal in the "Notes" section of a smartphone can make it easy to access it.
Step 2. Prepare for activities that include a lot of smells
There are some activities in which you can be exposed to many unwanted odors. For example, during formal parties, many people can wear perfumes or colognes. Prepare as much as you can before these activities. If these activities are too harsh for your sensibilities, consider not participating.
- If you take any medication that helps with sensitivity, take it to these parties.
- You may want to stay near any open windows during these types of activities.
- Try to go outside every now and then if a smell bothers you.
Step 3. Try to minimize exposure as much as possible
One of the best ways to minimize reactions is to keep your exposure level low. This is especially important if you have strong reactions. Try to stay away from smells that bother you.
- Avoid stores with strong odors, such as shopping malls that use a lot of chemical cleaners.
- If you notice that a product you use at home, such as a cleaner, bothers you due to sensitivity, stop using it immediately.
- Ask members of your household to minimize the use of scented products.
Step 4. Get a flu shot.
Sensitivity to odors is sometimes the result of an allergic reaction. If your body is weakened due to illness, allergies will be more acute. It's a good idea to get a flu shot during cold and flu season.
Talk to your doctor before getting a flu shot to make sure the vaccine is safe for you based on your medical history and any existing medical conditions
Step 5. Buy an air purifier or fan
A fan or air purifier can help keep unwanted odors out of your home. You can buy these products online or at a local mall. See if symptoms improve by placing some fans and air purifiers in your home.
Step 6. Seek a doctor's opinion
If you suffer from sensitivity to odors, it is a good idea to speak with a doctor. Sensitivity to odors is not just an inconvenience. It is a legitimate medical disorder. There is documentation showing that many people have allergic reactions (such as rashes) in response to certain fragrances. While most people should have direct physical contact with a substance that contains the fragrance, some people's sensitivity to odors is so severe that a rash can appear just from inhaling an odor.
- Part of the medical evaluation may include blood tests, urinalysis, lung function tests, and evaluation for mood disorders (such as depression or anxiety).
- A simple patch test can be used to diagnose an allergy to a specific odor. Patches containing a potential irritant are placed on the skin. After 48 hours, your doctor will remove them and examine your skin to see if there are any reactions.
- If you have an allergy, your doctor can help you come up with an action plan for treatment. They may recommend medications or lifestyle changes to help you deal with sensitivity to odors.
Part 2 of 3: Dealing with other people
Step 1. Educate others about sensitivity to odors
Perfumes, scented lotions, and scented laundry detergents are popular with many people. However, people who use these products may not realize the effect that some smells have on others. Try to educate friends, family, and colleagues about sensitivity to odors. Tell them what they can do to help you deal with this disorder.
- Be polite when talking to others about sensitivity. Many people have not heard of odor sensitivity and may have doubts as to what it is. Be patient and explain them little by little.
- If you have an official diagnosis from your doctor, it can help to tell people what the precise disorder is causing the sensitivity. For example, you may have an allergy to a specific chemical used in scented products.
- You can also recommend external resources to people. If you know of a website that talks about sensitivity to odors, recommend that people visit it.
Step 2. Kindly ask people to minimize the use of certain products
Sensitivity to odors can be a real problem at work, school, or anywhere else. If you live or work with other people who use a lot of scented products, kindly talk to them about your problem. You can respectfully ask them to minimize the use of certain products when they are around you.
- Try to approach people in a friendly way. People don't like to feel like they are being scolded. For example, you can approach a co-worker and say something like "Clara, I wanted to ask you something. As you know, I have a sensitivity to smells. If you could leave your scented lotion at home, I would appreciate it very much, because the smell can cause seizures. asthma. I don't want you to feel bad and I apologize if it is inconvenient for you, but I just want to be able to work effectively. "
- If unwanted odors are a major problem at work, talk to your boss. There may be a policy in the office regarding the use of potential allergens.
Step 3. Explain that it is not personal
Many people will take the request to decrease the use of scented products personally. For example, your partner may think that you don't like the smell of their perfume and that you are trying to be nice. Calmly explain that the matter is not personal, but is a medical matter.
- Make sure the other person knows that the problem is the effect the smell has on you. You can say something like, "It has nothing to do with you. Sometimes I have allergy attacks when I pass by Bath and Body Works at the mall."
- Tell the other person that there are no hard feelings, but that you just don't want to be routinely exposed to an allergen.
Step 4. Ask your boss about changing the work environment
If sensitivity to odors is causing you problems at work, talk to your boss. Maybe you can get him to listen to you and make changes in the work environment. For example, you can order an air purifier for your office or a cubicle near a window.
Step 5. See if you can have some flexibility in your work schedule
A more flexible schedule can also help you deal with sensitivity to odors. Schedule a meeting with your boss and explain the problem you have. Ask if you could have a flexible schedule that suits your needs.
- There are many ways that a flexible schedule can help you deal with odor sensitivity. You can work from home on some days or participate in meetings via Skype.
- You can also get to work earlier or later on a few days to minimize the time you spend with other colleagues who may use products that trigger sensitivity.
Part 3 of 3: Avoid some products
Step 1. Learn to recognize products that are truly fragrance-free
If you have a sensitivity to odors, it is a good idea to use lotions, laundry detergents, and other products that are unscented; however, be careful when choosing products. You want to make sure you buy a product that doesn't really contain chemicals that can trigger allergic reactions in people who are sensitive to odors.
- If a product is labeled "fragrance free," it does not contain chemicals or compounds that can trigger allergic reactions.
- If a product is labeled "unscented," it may contain chemicals or compounds that have potential allergens, even though the product itself is odorless.
Step 2. Scan the labels for some chemicals
Some chemicals may have an effect on sensitivity to odors. When you buy a product, scan the label for the following chemicals:
- alpha pinene
- alpha terpineol
- benzyl acetate
- benzyl alcohol
- ethyl acetate
- gamma terpinene
Step 3. Avoid products like scented candles
Scented candles are best avoided if you have a sensitivity to odors. These often contain chemicals that can trigger an allergic reaction. Don't use scented candles at home or air fresheners that contain similar chemicals. If you want to refresh the smell of your house, try bringing flowers from outside. Natural odors are less likely to trigger sensitivity.
Step 4. Be careful in the holiday season
Odors can be a serious problem in the holiday season. Artificial and natural scents are present at this time of year. Try to minimize your exposure to deal with the situation.
- It may be better to buy an artificial tree, as pollen from natural trees can cause allergic reactions. Opt for a tree that is fragrance-free.
- If you've been invited to a party, kindly tell the host that you have a sensitivity to smells. Tell him what he can do to help you, like not lighting scented candles.
- Take precautions when you go shopping at Christmas, as stores can use many artificial scents during the Christmas season. You may need to take any medications your doctor has prescribed for sensitivity with you when you go shopping.