What is fragrance intolerance and what can you do about it?

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

Source: WebMD

5 thoughts on “What is fragrance intolerance and what can you do about it?

  1. There are some people that use those burners that melt scents and many of these scents are very hard to deal with. Causing headaches and sinus problems

  2. A person in my area was wearing a brand of perfume that literally made me feel dizzy, blurred my vision as well as giving me headaches. With the aid of my supervisor, I relayed to her that each time she wore that brand of perfume it was actually making me miserable and I couldn’t do anything about it except avoid her or hope she would
    stop wearing that brand of perfume to work. Being a friend, she agreed to not wear that one to work to help me out.
    The perfume smelled nice that she wore, but I just happened to react negatively to it. It is an easy fix if people are respectful to each other once he or she is made aware of the problems it causes for someone. I thank her again for helping me out.

  3. This is so funny. I and others who work for this company have issues with this. I in fact have trouble breathing from it at times. There is a ban on perfume in the area I work however, it does not stop the people from wearing it. Why not became a sent free company?

    1. Me too Mike. It is difficult to communicate to others that their otherwise lovely colgne is causing headaches or difficulty concentrating.

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