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Strong smells.

Abc64
Abc64
34 Replies

Hello all,

Hope you are well. Can I ask a question? Do any of you have an attack which is brought on by strong smells. I am particularly having problems with perfumes , bleach, or any other really strong smell. I had a really bad attack recently which was brought about by someone wearing strong smelling perfume. Is it just me, or does anyone else have this?

34 Replies
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hypercat54

Hi this is very common with asthma so it certainly isn't just you. You might need to keep off the perfumes and look for alternative cleaning methods to avoid this. If the strong perfume was used by a friend or family then ask them not to use it round you. If it is at work then explain the problem to your co worker or if not possible then tell your boss and alert them what is causing you problems. x

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Tugun

Hi,

No, it's not just you. Many people have this problem. My co-worker was very helpful and stopped wearing strong smelling perfumes or deodorants. At present I am having trouble with the care workers who help me help my mother. They don't seem to get that it is a problem. Once, when I had poorly controlled asthma, I arrived at the top of our two flights of stairs to take a massive whiff of perfume. One of them had sprayed herself outside our door just before she had gone inside. I think my reaction must have convinced at least one of them that there just "may" be a problem. I couldn't breathe properly; was reaching immediately for my Ventolin and had to go outside onto the balcony to get air free of the perfume. They say that asthmatics have problems breathing out and I find that I need to breathe in and out for a little while in order to clear my lungs of the perfume.

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Emmajayne75

It's definitely quite a common one, I had to ask my step son to stop wearing a particular Aftershave when visiting as it triggers my asthma, I've had issues in supermarkets when people are wearing strong scents

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anjyil

I've been driven out of small, quaint restaurants because of too-strong perfume or smoking. Nope, you are totally not alone ^_^ My father-in-law or husband does the cleaning that requires bleaches and whatnot. Otherwise we use some sort of almost-like-water but for cleaning stuff. I don't know what to call it, but it works well.

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Wheezycat

You are far from alone. I don’t get a full blown attack, but I find it massively unpleasant, and if bad it gradually affects my breathing. I work with people on individual basis, and so far I have had to ask three of them to reduce wearing scented stuff, two women with perfumes and a man with aftershave. Until a couple of years or so ago I wouldn’t notice particularly, but now I pick up these smells instantly, and it can be all sorts of products, like air fresheners, cleaning stuff, hair spray, oil based paints etc, etc.

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Jandm

It’s definitely not just you Abc64. Even odours I can’t detect can have totally debilitating effects with my particular disease.....it’s a minefield! I now have to carry an industrial filter when I go out just in case (I kid you not). Look after your hypersensitive airway as much as you possibly can. You only get the one, protect it all you can.

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Stitcherrach

I concur with all, you are NOT alone. I have a massive problem with perfumes, aerosols & cleaning products. I have been hospitalised after a visit to the local Tesco, due to someone passing me wearing something! None of my family & friends where perfumes near me, I don't have any strong smelling cleaning products in the house & certainly not bleach! I don't use deodorant myself, for air freshener I open the window! I'm sad to say the worst culprits are nurses! When I did my training in '91, not exactly the middle ages, we weren't allowed to where any perfume, make-up etc. Good luck with it

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Abc64
Abc64
in reply to Stitcherrach

I am actually a nurse. I had a really bad attack when someone wearing perfume came near me at work.Not sure what to do about it, as you can’t tell people what to do. It was the first time I had a really bad attack for a year or so, when I had a chest infection and was hospitalised. I have had several smaller attacks due to smells though.

Thank you for answering. I thought I was the only one with this problem, as other people I have spoken to don’t have a problem with smells. Do you know how common it is to have this problem? I’m really grateful for your input.

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Doodles65

I’m the same as you and couldnt use spray deodorant, air fresheners, perfumes etc . However I finally saw a consultant who altered my asthma meds and I’ve been fine .... until this week when something triggered it and I’m back to being cautious about perfume etc . It’s a nuisance when you’re out and about though as you can’t control the environment . Take care x

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Abc64
Abc64
in reply to Doodles65

Thank you for your reply. What changes were made to your meds, if you don’t mind me asking? It might be something I need to follow up.

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Doodles65
Doodles65
in reply to Abc64

I was given spiriva respimat to take alongside fostair 200/6, montelukast and cetirizine. Have been fine since October when I was first put on it, and not needed any ventolin. However this past week it’s been irritated and I’ve needed ventolin although nothing like as many puffs as used to need. Hope you’re able to get your asthma under control, as it’s certainly no fun when it gets out of hand .

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Abc64
Abc64
in reply to Doodles65

Than you for the information. I see a consultant next month for my scan results etc. I’m woundering if I have asthma and copd, as braltus really helps. I take an antihistamine daily as well. I was told I have stage 4 asthma a year ago, but will see what the consultant has to say. Should have seen him in January, but then all of the outpatient appointments were cancelled.

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Doodles65
Doodles65
in reply to Abc64

Good luck. It was the consultant who put me on the spiriva. All my scans etc came back ok. Have no idea what stage asthma I’ve got as no ones told me. Take care.

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rattleben

Yep, I agree with the other comments, it's one of the most common triggers.

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Superzob

If you can smell something, it means that there are molecules of it in the air, and asthma is an over-reaction to particular molecules. So it's not surprising that you react to common atmospheric pollutants (which is what they are) in this way. I react to the propellant in aerosol inhalers, so this can be a problem, too. Also, as others have said, even things you CAN'T smell, but are in the air, could trigger asthma. I guess it's a case of trying to work out what affects you most and avoiding it as much as possible.

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Stitcherrach

My Consultant had never heard of anyone having a problem with the propellant in inhalers & he was at Papworth. My husband suggested a non propellant inhaler when my consultant just couldn't think of what to try next. I use Accuhalers now, although still have massive problems

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vampress

Your definitely not the only one. It can be really hard when your out and get a waft of strong perfume like someone's poured half a bottle on themselves. I switched all my cleaning to white vinegar or method cleaners because they don't affect it for me. At work my co-workers try not to use the super strong cleaning stuff around me. But outside it can be difficult to avoid I'm afraid.

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Lily-

It's mostly a reaction to toxic substances like bleach & other cleaning products or many of the synthesized ingredients in perfumes. Part of the answer is to only use natural & environmentally friendly products ourselves & request that friends & family are sensitive to your triggers, but it's hard to control what's going on outside of our own environment. Wood fires are quite a problem for breathing in the winter as well as more oil being burned, particularly in rural areas where there is no natural gas. Along with diesel fumes & the damp atmosphere in winter, it can all be overwhelming.

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Lysistrata

Another one here! It seems to be quite individual as certain smells can be a huge problem and others which I expect to be an issue do nothing at all.

I actually find that expensive perfumes are mostly fine - it seems like there is something in the cheaper ones which is the big problem for me. I also react badly to certain flowery scents (rose, lavender, violet) in any form, but not necessarily if it is a synthetic version. I had a huge issue with my colleague's rose handcream and another colleague's lavender-scented wheat pack (they are very helpful and got rid of them from the workplace).

Stitcherrach, I can't believe nurses etc are allowed to wear strong perfume now - had at least once in A&E where I've had problems because someone treating me is making it worse!

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_cherry_

Hi,

Strong smells are one of my worst triggers...sounds definitely aren't the only one.

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FairyfeetX

I can relate to every response here - perfumes, cleaning products [how do those people cope on the OCD Cleaning progs?], wood/ other fuel smoke, fire lighters, propellent etc.

I've stopped flying, not so bad on the outward flight but being trapped with the duty free on the way home - oh no! Also taxi drivers like to keep themselves and their vehicles sickly sweet.

I received some samples of coconut oil hair conditioner in the post last week. Super until the perfume emerged. Cheap nasty perfume 'cos you're worth it'.

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Jenn4s

Fragrances are one of my biggest triggers. I’m in the hospital for an acute asthma attack and the flu. I am mortified by the number of staff who have on fragrances. If it wasn’t for me being on oxygen I would be in real trouble. But I have had to get over myself and ask family, friends and coworkersto not wear fragrances. I also ask to be reseated in restaurants.

My best advice is to move past our discomfort of making others uncomfortable and protect yourself.

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Abc64
Abc64
in reply to Jenn4s

I hope you’re feeling better soon. When you go home, it may be worth writing to the ward sister/ charge nurse to discuss the use of perfumes by staff. The last thing they want to do is make people more poorly. They probably haven’t looked at it that way.. best wishes.

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Lysistrata
Lysistrata
in reply to Abc64

I agree! I now investigate the bathrooms on wards when I drag myself in there, and ask them to remove the.air freshener as a couple of times I have found cans in there, and though the nurses may know not to spray, I can't be sure another patient won't. The nurse was very understanding and hadn't realised it was there, but immediately removed it.

I have had to.learn to be more assertive about politely asking people not to use or.spray things, where I can ask them. My work have been very good, probably because they can see the effects! I did start removing spray cans from the work toilets though as I wasn't really getting through to the cleaners - we had an agreement with the building managers to keep one toilet scent free but it seemed to be ignored a lot so I started taking them out.

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Abc64
Abc64
in reply to Lysistrata

Hope you’re feeling better soon, and back home.

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winded

Extremely common. But most of these people have asthma and I have COPD and the same things trigger me to have problems breathing. I sometimes have thought that I have both asthma and COPD. I have never had a doctor tell me I had asthma though.........

You have to be so careful and have a mindset to immediately leave the area when there is a fragrance or smell, so you do not get breathing problems and coughing. It is something that is very hard to learn to do, in keeping your self aware of your surroundings like that. But if you don't, and you don't tell others about it bothering you, you will be the one who suffers, to the point of being admitted to the hospital.

I did recently have a big problem at home. My adult son, who lives with me, was given a box of many colognes by a friend. I told him he could not use them in my house after I began coughing really bad and having breathing problems.....It took hours to air out the house, and days for my lungs to recooperate. I hated to stymie his enjoyment of the fragrances, but, my house, my pain, my quality of living.......way more important.

I still like to use bleach in my toilet for cleaning. I do not overdo it is the key for me. I use very little and found it still does the job of cleaning and disinfecting and breaking up mineral stains. A commercial bowl cleaner would not be any less traumatic as to it's smells.

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elanaoali

My worse reaction ever was Yankee candles. In the past I have been given a candle when I light it it made me cough immediately.

I had to throw it away but felt bad as it was a birthday present from a close member of my family.

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Madoug

O I feel for you. I to am triggered by scents. You can have someone walk past you in the street standing in a shop, or best one ever was waiting to see asthma nurse when this person sat in same waiting room reeking of scent, I had to walk out an wait elsewhere an by the time I was called by the nurse I was not in a good way. To say she was gobsmacked at how quickly it took hold was interesting. Its the same if I Am at hairdressers, the girl knows me an always makes it a time when there is less chemicals being used. I no longer use a lot o chemicals to clean with either

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louisebugsy

i work in a care home and started 3months ago. ironically my asthma has been ok was just on the brown and the blue two puffs twice a day. rarely needed to use my blue. well at work now im having up to 4-7 episodes a day im reaching for my blue when i have tried everything else but i get little help something a minute of relief sometimes nothing. ive spoken to my gp and we tried steroid tablets which gave me very little help but i did feel a bit different and doubled my brown. after that week. of still having symptoms he put me on fostair 100/6 two puffs twice a day and i i did help but my chest always felt irratated like chest infection hurt. gp said my lungs sounds are clear and no other symptoms. im also doing the couch to 5k challenge.....anyway about a week or so after being put on the fostair things started going down hill quickly peak flow starting dropping and i started having episodes brought on my deodorants at work hot rooms ect.... showering and baths. dressing stairs you name it. so ive been on 4puffs fostair twice a day and yes its helped but at a price Im have a few dside effects and im still getting the very mild flair ups but they last less time. ive done this got 3-4days got back to two puffs twice a day and im really struggling. im currently having an episode as i write...... the trigger my oh deodorant he sprayed in the bedroom!! because id gone for a wee. these attacks last hours and aren't helped by my blue for long enough im getting seconds like usual and im working tonight. il be on the phone to the gp as soon as they open. even cooking smells can set me off!!

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Abc64
Abc64
in reply to louisebugsy

Hope you get some answers soon and get better soon.

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Asthmasuzy

Strong smells always set me off coughing whether it be perfume, strong cooking smells or burning

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Ddffpp

Ddffpp

Last Christmas (2016) we were invited out to see Christmas light displays with friends, we were in their home 3-5 minutes, before leaving, I was immediately ill. It was all I could do to walk the tiny light displays, my. balance was gone, tiny inclines/rises in ground elevation, left me feeling like I had climbed Mt Everest .

I coughed till my throat was seemingly bloody raw & my voice so gravely that it seemed like I had been a 40 year smoker. I was ill 9 weeks. —-9weeks!!!

Frangrances, cigs, wood smoke, forest fires even 1/2 of a state away , dust, pollen, animals, etc... had been problems —forever,— but this was the —‘’beginning of what was eventually diagnosed as Asthma’’.... —

Believe it or not, even the staff at allergy Dr office, uses fragrances...

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Destiny10

Hi Abc64

No your not alone there, I too have the same problem, perfumes, bleach cleaning products, yankee candles, and hyacinth plants ect ect.

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