British Lung Foundation
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Embarrassing lungs!

I was all set to have a lovely night out at a neighbour’s birthday party tonight. My glad rags were on, presents wrapped, I have mostly recovered from a sinus infection and all was fine. Little did I realise how treacherous my lungs could be when faced with a new and scented-with-plug-ins environment! I managed to have a 5 minute conversation before my lungs wanted to shut down and felt like they were swarming with ants. I spluttered some lame-sounding apology (vague memories of Piggy being taunted in Lord of the Flies for having asthma) and scooted out of the house passing concerned and confused neighbours and strangers.

I’m embarrassed and frustrated. Tonight I was disabled by my condition and it sucks.

28 Replies
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No perfumed plug ins, aerosoles of any kind anything that pollutes or interferes with air quality inside the home is to be avoided.

Maybe familiarize yourself with causes of poor indoor air quality:

blf.org.uk/support-for-you/...

Improving air quality in your home: blf.org.uk/support-for-you/...

and lots more to take into consideration: (happy reading)

blf.org.uk/search/site/clea...

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Couldn’t agree more! I live in a cool and draughty house with hardly any perfumed products. I can usually handle a little scent but not when my lungs are as over-reactive as they are at the moment. I never know what to say when I encounter air fresheners in someone’s house. It seems so rude to object to them though I know how toxic they are. Lots of people just don’t react to them in the way that I do.

Thanks for the info.

E x

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She didn’t have a choice though as it was somebody else’s house. Even if she does know exactly what affects her. Really frustrating.

Thanks for putting all of the information up. I have bronchiectasis and luckily am never affected by these substances but smoke and dust are my bitter enemies.

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Oh that is a real shame after you made such an effort too. You must be very disappointed and upset. It does suck doesn't it when our physical ailments get in the way. x

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And you feel obliged to explain your condition. However, my neighbour is lovely and I fully intend to do the things that I can do whenever possible. Thanks for being there, I really needed to offload onto an understanding and supportive forum. Onwards and upwards!

E x

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Difficult isn't it? I am sure your neighbour understands. It just doesn't occur to 'normal' people does it and there is no reason why it should anyway.

You have such a positive and determined attitude I am sure you will be able to have many great nights out and stuff your lungs :) x

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Hello Elizabethk .

Oh my. Poor, poor you. Yes, those scented things drive me up the wall too😠. I am so sorry. I can only imagine how you must have felt having to leave so abruptly. I am sure your neighbour didn't realize that the scent would be an irritant for you. I know I never thought much about it until I had this condition.

Would you feel better if you popped over to your neighbour's and explained what happened?

It really does suck. I wholeheartedly agree and I'm sorry it happened to you.

*Hug*

Cas xx 🍀

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Thank you for a lovely reply! Yes, I will explain my hasty retreat to my neighbour and hope that my lungs are more compliant if there is a next time!

E xx

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There most definitely will be. xx 💖

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You really don’t have to be embarrassed but I think that explaining could help your neighbour to make sure that she doesn’t create an atmosphere in her house which is going to exacerbate your condition. I am sure that she will be happy to do this so that she can have the pleasure of your company.

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Hi

Air wick plug in, and automatic air freshener should have a health warning.

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I agree stone.....and those in car air fresheners too.

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Plus perfume counters in department stores, pot purri, work colleagues who spray deodorant in confined offices, scented shampoo and laundry products, everything to do with nail polish, hairspray, joss sticks, real pine trees......just call me The Grinch!

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Stone-UK.....

I wondered why you mentioned Air Wick? I found the Air Wick brand to be the worse to inhale for me......

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I live in a seniors complex and for whatever reason there's a one inch gap under all the doors we had someone new move in across from me he used alot of pine aresol one day came directly up under my door and straight into my air machine straight into my lungs I went over and asked if when he does that if he could put a towel under his door that I couldn't cause I need the air flow due to copd he obliged very nice young man now he brings me homemade baked goods.....took 5 hours to air out my apartment but its all good

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Well done and what a lovely neighbour! E x

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I relate so much to your situation. I have had to flee places where there has been perfumes of all kinds. It makes it so difficult to do the normal things. For me it means that I can have a lung infection in 48 hours after an assault with perfumes or strong chemical smells. We live in an apartment and the perfumes and air fresheners from the 2 neighboring apartments fill the foyer entry and come under the door so we had to buy an air filter for the apartment and ask the neighbours would they mind if we had the stairwell door open to let out the fumes. Thankfully they were understanding. I find even strong cooking odors affect me as well.

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Oh yes, stinky ovens can paralyse me with coughing fits. Well done for dealing with your situation without offending your neighbors.

E x

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Yes scents you must avoid now.

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I can’t cope with plug in air fresheners at all. It’s a real shame because so many people seem to have them x

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Thank you everybody for this information I did not know any of this could be the çausè of this lung infection I have now...Goodnight all from CANADA.

Vicky

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Brings to mind a similar incident on Thursday while I was in the famous Coopers Tavern in Burton upon Trent with 3 close friends for a pre-xmas get together. All was going well, I was well stocked with oxygen, until my nose started to detect an overpowering perfume fully 10 seconds before this "lady" entered the snug. The effect was dramatic and I felt like I was choking and had this dry hacking cough almost instantly. Why did she feel the need to bath in it, should have come with a health warning.

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Yes I certainly identify with that.

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It sure does SUCK! I can completely relate. I must admit "A lame-sounding apology" is usually the best. I'm in the old age bracket now and am more upfront about scents and perfumes (for people who come into my home to help care for my mother) or people I work with. No-one likes to be reminded, or to believe, that their choice to wear heaps of perfume or strongly scented deodorants may negatively affect others. So being upfront - even extremely politely - doesn't always work. My friends understand - although it took awhile - and a few dramatic incidences. I often wonder about students in schools who are forced to stay close to a teacher or teacher-aide wearing a strong scent. A scent that can only be scented up close is not too bad for me but when you can still smell the perfume after they have left the room - it's very invasive. As the person often has become immune to it on them, they often don't realise how invasive it is. Your neighbour might not object to doing without the scented plug-ins as there are sure to have been others who were probably affected. Wishing you a better time next time you go out!

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Man oh man I could smell it from here that plug in that nobody else even noticed huh? I go through similar pretty much daily. I usually feel like I need to know where the nearest trash can is that I can vomit into is located. Sometimes when it’s really irritated me to the point where I feel like”I should’ve just kept smoking and it wouldn’t be this bad cuz I’d be in the next life and done w/this one” but reality is non of us are done here yet. I think it’s probably b/cuz we still need to learn something or teach someone something like DONT OVERWHELM ALL OF US WITH THAT SMELL PLEASE

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Visiting a holiday home/apartment for the first time will drive me like a demented squirrel looking for offending scented stuff if there is the merest hint of parfume in the atmosphere. So pleased to not be the only one so aware of and averse to synthetic scents.

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Yes, my singing teacher freshens his studio with one of those scented plug ins - I always switch it off when I arrive. Now he's twigged on and switches it off before I come. Impossible to sing properly with that cheap scent paralysing the lungs.

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Oh how I understand the embarrassment that you felt. I am now at the stage where I am scared to go anywhere because of these incidents.

My personal trigger is in my village shop where they make breakfast rolls for passing trade and the bacon being grilled catches my throat to such an extent that I am unable to breathe and end up a coughing wreck in the street if I'm lucky enough to make it out of the shop but I am mortified because people are staring at me.

Such a shame that your evening was ruined by something that was unnecessary anyway. There are far too many artificial/chemical scents being used and I am certain that they are contributing to the increase in breathing problems.

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