You’re walking through the supermarket when all of the sudden, it hits you. Your eyes start watering, you can’t stop sneezing and you feel a headache coming on. What’s the culprit behind this attack on your senses? Believe it or not, it could be the perfume of a passing customer.
Fragrance intolerance is on the rise for many people, but what’s causing it? While it’s hard to nail down a specific cause, a lot of it has to do with your body’s genetic makeup. For example, things like the amount of olfactory receptors in your nose can contribute to how much of a scent you actually smell.
Doctors also have a hard time determining if a person has a true allergy to a certain fragrance or if that person is just having a natural response to an irritant. Further complicating things is the fact that fragrances are often made up of several chemicals, so it can be hard to single out the exact cause of a reaction.
Most people can relieve their symptoms by leaving the area in which the fragrance is present, but that’s not always easy to do. Consider making your office or home more tolerable for someone with a fragrance intolerance by doing these things:
- Limit the amount of perfume or cologne you wear around others
- Put away candles and air fresheners
- Consider using a small air purifier or fan to keep stagnant air at bay
- If a person has an extreme intolerance, consider communicating with them via phone or email, instead of meeting in person