Have you noticed that a certain fragrance can make you sneeze? Maybe it’s the perfume from the woman who shares your cube wall. Maybe it’s that little deodorizing tree hanging in your car. Or perhaps it’s the fancy soap you bought at the neighborhood artisan store.
You may be … or maybe not. The medical field hasn’t fully confirmed that fragrances are indeed allergens, or if they are merely irritants that cause a fragrance sensitivity. Either way, fragrances can cause a number of different symptoms, and if you’ve ever suffered because of a one, you know that it can be very uncomfortable, especially if you are repeatedly exposed to it.
According to Everyday Health, the symptoms of fragrance sensitivity can include:
- Difficulty breathing
- A tight feeling in the chest
- Worsening asthma symptoms
- Runny and stuffy nose
- Watering eyes
- A skin allergy
These symptoms do sound a lot like the ones brought about by allergies, however, in order to be classified as an allergic reaction, the substance must trigger IgE antibody production. While this sounds like it should be easy to test, WebMD explains that it is difficult to isolate the actual culprit in the fragrance mix that is causing the reaction. Also, sometimes the reaction doesn’t involve antibodies, so the test wouldn’t yield results. The site also explains that according to experts, finding the cause often comes down to trial and error.
What do you do if you think you have a fragrance sensitivity?
The best thing to do, of course, is to avoid using that product. The problem is that fragrances are hard to avoid. WebMD tells us that “According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), some 5,000 different fragrances — and countless other fragrance combinations — are used in products today.” These products include, but are not limited to, soaps, lotions, cosmetics and cleaning products.
Unfortunately though, we don’t always have control over what we are exposed to, especially at work. If you know where it’s coming from, for example your office neighbor’s perfume, you can politely speak to the person about it. Or if the culprit is the office carpet cleaner, explain the head of maintenance and see if anything can be done to help you. Most places will accommodate your needs. Some states have gone as far as implementing legal action regarding fragrances in areas of employment.
Is it worth it to see an allergist for a fragrance sensitivity?
Absolutely. If you have a chance at finding relief for your symptoms, wouldn’t you want to? If you are experiencing reactions to fragrances, schedule an appointment at CT Sinus Center to see how we can help. Our expert physicians will sit down with you and discuss your symptoms and your exposure to particular triggers. They will then perform a series of diagnostic tests to see if they can pinpoint the exact cause of your reaction. After they will thoroughly discuss your results and a create an individualized plan for relieving your symptoms.
Stop suffering. Call CT Sinus Center today at 860-BALLOON and see what we can do for you. With four offices conveniently located throughout Connecticut, the sweet smell of relief is just a short drive away.
For more information on sinus and allergy issues, visit the CT Sinus Center website and blog.