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synethic (chemicals) fragrances in products

By Anonymous February 18, 2011 - 9:25am
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Sometimes a person shows up around me that has a synethic/chemical fragrance that causes me to get a head/neck/back ache. It has happened in a yoga class, and another type exercise class. It can happen in any type of retail/coffee/grocery store. it does not happen often, BUT is most painful when it does. All I can do is plug my nose and get away. There R times when it is a challenge to get away. Also it is a challenge to say something to the person as when I have they OFTEN R offended and get angry. Help someone how do U handle this ???

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HERWriter Guide

Hi Anon

Thanks for your post and welcome!

It sounds like you're allergic to the chemicals in perfume or other scented hair and skin beauty products that most people use on a regular basis. This is not that uncommon, I know someone myself who is allergic to perfume and after meeting me once (I was wearing perfume) she asked me nicely not to wear it again when I knew I would see her. I didn't mind at all, the only hard thing was to remember NOT to use perfume as I wear it everyday!

When you explain your situation politely and ask politely if those around you could not wear scented products, I cannot see how people would get offended. You cannot help your allergies and those around you need to be sympathetic to that! Just make sure you ask politely, which I'm sure you do.

With regard to being in a coffee shop or space where there are strangers, unfortunately you cannot predict that situation, and it's too late (and impossible) to ask strangers around you to take a baby wipe or wet cloth and ask them to remove their scented product. That's just not going to work. What you may have to do is sit outside as much as possible, using patios or balconies or be prepared to move away if the scents are causing headaches.

Allergies are hard things to live with, from a social standpoint but the truth is that (aside from family and friends) the world will continue on with it's habits regardless of anyone's allergies. You'll just have to be prepared to physically move to another area.

As I said, in good weather, always go to a cafe/restaurant etc that has an outdoor space. Go to an empty aisle at the grocery store if you can. Sit away from people who are wearing perfume in classes or sit to the side where you are still with people, but not as close as everyone else. Once you get to know the class better, explain your situation and I'm sure people will be understanding. And don't be afraid to mention if going out in a group, that you have this allergy that can make you quite sick, and you'd really appreciate if people do not use scented products. I would not take offensive to that at all, we should all learn to accommodate each other within reason and your request is certainly reasonable.

Let me know what you think!

February 18, 2011 - 1:33pm
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