Asthma UK community forum
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Do many people have a problem with the so called ""air fresheners"" and artifical fragrances?

For me these are a frequent cause of discomfort & a blast of someones deoderant in the gym changing room will have me reaching for my inhaler.

I worry, at times, if I am just over sensitive & my asthma is more through an imagined problem than actual. (with the exceptance of certain pollens).

23 Replies

Aerosols are a BIG problem for me anything which sprays (body sprays, air freshners, polishes, deodrant etc.) set me off but im ok with fragrances that aren't from aerosols but i know that a lot of people are also triggered from just perfumes of air freshners so your not alone!

Its a really common trigger so i doubt its your imagiantion, try getting changed away from a lot of spraying or take inhalers before going in

Annie x


Hi Crazytrainer,

most aerosols, perfumes amd some household products do cause symptoms in people with asthma. I am a SUFA volunteer for AUK and we are asked not to wear perfume or any smelly deodorants etc when we are giving our talks. Rest assured it's not your imagination. Keep well. x x


Problem for me. Yesterday in Waterstones, someone approached the shelves I was standing beside and off I went. Cough and feeling the throat drying up. Had to take out my inhaler - sight of which had them retreating rapidly to other side of the bookshop. LOL


Huge problem for me too. If someone walks in the room wearing perfume I start to wheeze and as for air fresheners I have to leave the room - immediately start to wheeze big time. I don't think you're imagining it! Some are worse than others for me - essentially the stronger the scent the worse it seems to be, it is a right royal pain in the butt too! I just have to make sure I am never without an blue inhaler to hand.

Take care



The only way I can use air freshener is by turning my head in the other direction of the room I am spraying, take a deep breathe and hold it and spray then shut the door before I can breathe again. The only time my lounge gets done is at night when I am up stairs and my hubbie will close the lounge door behind me go about the room spraying it and then open the door and lcose it behind him. With my son's room I put a few drops of lemon and lime juice in about 10 mls boiling water and a teaspoon of bi-carb soda and his room smells so lovely after a few hours and it is all natural


I have to say this post brought a smile to my face. I'm very sensitive to different fragrances and smells. I have with our cleaner at work cause i have to go out of the room when she mop's as I react to the smell. So I say I'm allergic to Stella that's her name.

I walked into the other day a Quaker meeting room and reacted straight away to a smell, my friend laughed. It was hyacienth.

The other reason I smiled at this post. Is that I'm leading the Mothering sunday service, our theme is fragrance! A book I'm using for ideas warns about people with asthma in congregation and to be careful what you use. Being fully aware of how I react. I can reassure them that them that it won't affect them.

The flower ladies have to becareful they don't over do it with Lilly's. Unless of course they want to get rid of their curate!

I can laugh about it but actually when react to fragrances its no fun.


Why is that you have walk through the perfume counters in stores?

One advantage is at least it doesn't cost us a small fortune in expensive perfumes.



I used to be the Church Flower Lady and a florist for 20 years, I am allergic to flowers and eventually had to give up my career when my asthma came back, the flowers were killing me! Same with lilies, hyacinths and freesias, they are the worst ones. I am allergic to all pollen and spring is the worst time of year, funny as I was born on the first day of spring!

The train to London was awful too last week, don't know what it was but I struggled for 2 1/2 hours with asthma attacks, the man opposite was coughing, something must have been in the air!



Funny you should mention freesias. My mum always felt odd around freesias. Date for my wedding was the day before Mothering Sunday 1974 and in the 1970's local fruit and flower shops were a bit lacking in type of flowers stocked. I had no choice but to have daffodils and freesias and my mum collapsed at the meal. Recovered in an ante room away from the flowers. Of course everyone kidded her, she'd had too much wine at the toast.

Edit: took out a last sentence. Went a bit maudlin'.


Daffs are evil too, I forgot to mention them. I have to wash my hands after touching them, not only the pollen but the sap in the stems is lethal. If you give daffs too much water they drown, fill up the vases I say!!


Hi all,

I'd love to be able to wear or use smelly stuff but anything remotely fragranced sets me off, even my husband is banned from using any smelly stuff and what do I always get for birthdays or christmas? yes, you've guessed it smellies! Poeple think that you are being over dramatic but if they felt the way we do they would soon change their minds!

Take Care



My other half has had to switch to roll on deadorants as his anti-persp and lynx gives me an attack within minutes of walking into a room when hes been spraying! Im fine with my perfumes so far, it seems just aerosols are my problem at the moment! and mccleans toothpaste as i found out monday! Oh and in work some of the sanitiser sprays and chemicals that the kitchen uses sets me off too..


Oh my goodness, Lynx. Someone gave this to my husband for Xmas and yes, I thought it was a nice smell for the first minute before getting that choking feeling. :(


i am allergic 2 lillies too. starts me off and cant seem to get settled for ages x


........... not the killer lillies!

The typical Easter Lillies in church ..... often for rememberance etc but deadly to asthmatics!

Lynx is hiddeous,

Cheap perfumes,

people who bathe in the stuff...... euugh


When my lungs are irritable (which unfortunately is increasingly often) then any kind of fragrance or aerosol sets me off.

I was amazed to see on my last hospital admission that there were aerosol air fresheners dotted all over the respiratory ward. (Now I come to think of it I really should mention it to my respiratory team next week)

I've always thought that fragrances and aerosols were relatively common triggers, I definitely wouldn't say you're being oversensitive :-)


My nose must be getting more sensitive. Short cut runs along the back of some flats.Today, someone had their washing on the line and the scent of washing powder caught me. Sneeze, sneeze.

Ditto someone walking past with a lit fag. Cough cough.


It's the pine air freshener that's gets me going and every taxi in Glasgow seems to have one. Tho must confess love the cheap lemon air freshners that the hospital have !!!


I cannot do with air freshers or perfumes or sprays of any kind that are in aerosols, cannisters it also goes to including MDI inhalers. I have an allergy to the propellants used in them. If they are in a bottle with a tradionally handwash squirty thing i can use them. I now know if there is one in a room as i cough cough cough cough like crazy. I just have to leave the room. The worst is boys and there deodrants they just get them out and spray like mad and i choke really badly and often end up going out in to cold air to have a nebuilser away from the fumes! Which is not really ideal.

Are you sure it not the propellant?

It took me ages to figure that it was the propellant though.



I also have the same problem and i work in a well known High street chemists so as you can imagine its very difficult for me to avoid fragrances. There is an invisible line on the shop floor which i don't cross and i have my inhaler on me all the time. And as other people have also said is there really any need to bathe in an entire bottle because some of the people i work with must wear an entire bottle each day!

I also have the same problem with Lynx which nearly finishes me off and i found a new one the other day- Nail varnish remover

I'm quite glad that its not just me, i thought i was being over sensitive.


Fumes from frying sausages no matter what oil they are fried in or level of heat. Cooking sliced sausages for breakfast made me feel unwell today to the point that I no longer felt hungry. Hubby had a bigger sandwich instead.

Never used to happen, so I'm guessing that bout of bronchitis that had me coughing so badly last year, must have damaged the airways/lungs in some way.


I have been a member here for some time ( well over a year i think ) This is my first posting, I usually browse if I have a problem. I went to my Doc because I was struggling with all sorts of smells and fragrances. Some had me on my knees in no time.. struggling to breath.

I am now being treated by a consultant at the hospital. The meds he gave me seem to be helping a lot.. Can still get caught unawares though..Lynx being sprayed in a shop last week...Burning toast wafting through local Tesco...

Just to say that I thought I was going a bit mad when i started to think that stupid smells were making me lose my breath/ cough etc. The Doctor and Asthma nurse did seem to look at me a bit strangely when I voiced my thoughts, but the consultant seemed to know where I was coming from.

All is fairly good for now. It would seem that i have a wide ranging "" allergy "" to all smells...



My daughter, my mum, brother and nephew all are very sensitive to any smells i.e deodorants, hairsprays, polish, certain cleaning products, plug in candles and oil burners and smokey air like from cooking they all affect them. I thought it was normal



Spices make me cough especially if they are chinese or Indian and as my hubby likes to cook these i have to stay well away from the kitchen.

Take Care



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