Hi all, Like many others I dislike fragrances as they sort of 'bite' my chest, though I don't have any bad after effects, at least not now when I am generally well and pretty well controlled. I also dislike oil based paints, inscence etc. The usual. So, having just looked, I am surprised that fragrances are not mentioned as triggers on the Asthma Uk website. I have just checked and re-checked.

My cousin's wife can be severely affected, full asthma attack, if someone with fragrance just walks past her. She sometimes needs medical intervention. In her workplace the use of fragrances and anything with VOCs and some other stuff is banned. Not just because of her, but as there can be allergic children (she is a teacher).

I don't have attacks, just that sense of dread when I get close to it. I notice it instantly in a way I didn't used to, and I intensely dislike it. Given that it hasn't got a mention on the website as a trigger, are there many of you, too, who struggle with this, whether serious enough to cause an attack, or like me, just really unpleasant?

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  • Perfume Allergies were covered ten years ago by the EU:-

    "Fragrance contact allergy has long been recognised as a frequent and potentially disabling problem."


  • Thank you. Interesting! I had always put this down as an irritant, rather than an allergy, but, then, we are all different. I read it through fairly quickly, but nowhere in those reports did I see the word 'asthma' or 'breathing difficulties' , just skin allergies. A shame. Unless I missed it, of course.

  • Perfume allergy โ€“ a rising problem,

    "If perfume exacerbates your asthma symptoms, it needs to be treated with specific asthma medicines, a combination of bronchodilators and inflammation inhibitors in the form of inhaler is what most often used."

  • Thank you, useful. Yes, hypersensitivity, that's me. Never really was until about 18 months ago, since when I also had the asthma arrack that landed me in hospital for some days.

  • My husband has to use water based gloss in our house as the ordinary gloss really gets to my chest. As with perfumes I had to change my theatre seat as the woman in front was wearing strong perfume and within minutes I was wheezing. So I do understand how perfumes and fumes from paint can bring on an asthma attack.

  • I am luckier than you, but it still affects me, yes, oil based paints, too. I work a bit in a place that has been partially repainted, and when that was going on I needed to ask for a room as far away from it as possible. So I can understand. And, I have also found cleaning materials (or something) used on a public bus difficult, followed by the aria fresheners in a loo in the hospital, and founded the whole thing off by being affected by someone's hairspray and sundry other fragrances. Very unpleasant! Not to mention theatrical smoke, too popular these days.

    So, the best to you as you are so affected. I hope you can manage it.

  • A perfume called Sunflowers used to be popular and I was badly affected by it. A few of the ladies that I worked with used it and I used to have to try not to breathe as I walked through that part of the office. I became worse and walking near the perfume counters at the airport was a bit of a nightmare.

    We arranged to give one of the ladies a lift once and as we were doing her a favour, I asked her not to wear the perfume as I would be in the car with her. As soon as we picked her up I said 'you are wearing that perfume' and she replied 'only a bit' Aah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • That is bad!!! My cousin has at times got so bad she cannot move, a significant, if short lived, attack. There seems to be poor information generally about this. I have probably mentioned this before, but I was shocked when I saw the air fresheners in a hospital. How on earth was that even allowed! If medics don't even know then it is surprising that the general public is so badly informed.

    And to go back to my original point, I am really surprised it is not mentioned as a trigger on the Asthma UK website!

  • This is my first post on this website and forum, so "Cheers!". Although I'm not extra-sensitive to fragrances under normal conditions, I'm very careful about breathing in fragrances that are concentrated, and/or in a small space, say a corner of a room. Also, before I go to sleep at night, I make sure that there are no unopened bottles of scented beauty and skin-care items by my bed, as I've noticed that these fumes can irritate my throat and trigger asthma.

  • I have the same problems with perfumes of all sorts. It has got worse over the years too. Since I've taken Montelukast my reaction has slowed down a bit but the only answer is to move away, often to another room, train carriage, outside etc etc. If I have a cold/virus and smell perfume, my asthma goes into overdrive. Frightening! I can't cope with being in the same room as open lilies either, tho buds seem ok. What a life we lead!

  • There may be signs of a change in attitude in some places. Recently I had occasion to go through Terminal 2 at Heathrow Airport (which has recently been completely rebuilt). That Terminal is on two levels with the upper level looking down to the lower level where the gates are. Passengers departing from Heathrow Terminal 2 go through security and come out on the upper level. There are two escalators down to the lower level, at opposite ends to each other. The escalator at the left end goes down to duty free where the perfumeries are; the escalator at the right end takes you nowhere near duty free, so it is possible to access the departure gates without going near the perfume stores. Congratulations to the architects and Heathrow Airport for doing this.

  • Hi Wheezycat

    I know the content team are working on adding fragrances/perfumes to the asthma trigger section on the Asthma UK website. I've sent them your post as a gentle reminder and we might be in touch with you to talk about it a bit more if that's ok?



  • Sure!

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