About

A writer and stay-at-home mom, I recently found out that my chronic, unexplained illness is caused by scented products. Follow me on my quest to live fragrance-free. I think this is gonna be one long quest. Sigh.

You may also visit Sherri Blossoms, where I blog about life in general.

7 responses to this post.

  1. Sorry to hear about your plight, not a lover soaps, lotions, etc with fragrance in them, I want to be smell clean not perfumy.
    Heavy fragrances give me a headache and will move away from anyone wearing them, this can be a problem at time of course.
    I enjoyed reading you blog and look forward to visiting again.
    Take care.

  2. Hi, Lily. Yeah, the perfume thing is how it started for me. That was such an obvious one that I’ve avoided perfume since college, but I never applied the same logic to other products until recently.

    Thanks for visiting.

  3. Posted by Mason on October 9, 2008 at 4:08 pm

    Okay, so I’m trying out meds for this problem, and there is some luck.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symbicort

    It’s an inhaler for asthma and it works really well for me. For me, the asthma is one of the worst symptoms, and getting rid of that feels like half the battle.
    The other half is the sinus and headaches and dizzyness, which is sadly still there.

    Oh, I also watched this movie, Safe. I saw it years ago, but watching it again, now, is an experience I have never gone through. It was really weird watching a movie that so closely resembled my life. It’s not the best movie ever, but I think making my wife watch it made her understand a little bit more.

  4. Sorry, Mason, you got caught in the spam filter on your first comment.

    I’ve been using Primatene Mist before I ride my bike. It helps with the asthma symptoms. Unfortunately, the sinus thing is the worst for me, usually develops into a migraine, and I’m still looking for something to help with that.

  5. I also suffer from migraines caused by chemicals. Today two coworkers wore so much cologne that I could taste it. I went to the car where I keep an icechest with sumatriptan and promethazine for when I get sick and took one of each. This made me tired but I was able to work the day. I slept through lunch and staggered back into work a few seconds late but made it through the day. I have told everyone what perfume does to me but they dont seem to believe me. Sometimes life just gets so depressing when I get these migrains. I hate that other people have the same problem but at least it lets me know that im not a freak.

  6. I’m sorry you all suffer with this. I too have this problem and blog about it here: http://the-labyrinth.com

    Is the writer of this blog still having problems with fragrance? I’d love to know if you have found anything that helps. Cheers for now, and thanks for all these wonderfully informative pages!

  7. Posted by Jeff on October 24, 2012 at 7:19 am

    I really enjoyed reading your blog, it made me feel human. I am still suffering today from my visit to Walmart yesterday. It’s holiday season now, which is the most threatening time of year, those dang pinecones are everywhere. I felt like I was under siege last night when I walked by an autumnul display.

    I don’t have the symptoms you do, mine is basically a closed throat and it starts immediately when some smell hits my olfactory and lasts for minutes or hours depending on duration of exposure. I’m not sure if its MCS, I only learned that term today. I used to BE that person at work you had to talk to your boss about and have come full circle. I remember the day I went on the hunt for fragrance free laundry soap because my sheets made my eyes water. The huge jug I came home with from Costco was not fragrance free, simply “environmentally friendly!.

    It’s been several years now and here’s what I’ve learned, it’s nothing medical, but these have become survival tactics for me and maybe they’ll help you or others: My main, A#1 defense is to carry coffee beans in my pocket (unflavored of course). When I am in a situation where I will be bombared with unwanted fragrance, I crush a bean with my fingers and hold it up to my nose and breathe, relief. I keep a container in the car and huff them when I finish shopping. For me, it’s not all scents or fragrance, but those which are unnatural. I discovered for example, Grandpa’s Pine Tar soap and shampoo is perfectly fine for me. It smells like a campfire, but it’s not offensive. Anything which is a mock of something fruit or spice particularly sends me over the edge. Nowadays, everything is a noxious combination of things, like vanilla lavendar slasher fantasy etc. Singular things found in nature usually don’t attack me. It’s not much, but if it does anything to help, it’s free.. the recount of my experiences anyway.

    My heart goes out to you about your neighbors’ laundry day. I live on 10 acres an on more than one occasion I have smelled the distinct stench of fake vanilla wafting in the air from I can’t imagine where. There is an outdoor shopping mall around here that I swear has air freshener outside. It’s so pervasive as I walk under the awnings, I look up trying to find the source, never seen it, but It’s there. It’s a long walk, maybe 1/4 to 1/2 mile from end to end, so it’s not just one store… Although an Ambercrombie store could gas a whole block.

    I remmeber observing my dogs after switching from frontline to a natural flea & tick treatment, natural meaning a noxious concoction of fragrant oils to repel bugs. It would take 2-3 days before we could be in the same sleeping quarters comfortably, after the stench dissapated. It pains me to remember that and know dogs noses are umpteen-whatever times more sensitive than humans. My point is, we simply weren’t designed to live in this extreme fragranced environment, it’s unnatural. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with us, we simply aren’t adapting to a hostile environment. Although my symptoms seem really mild compared to what I read about yours and others, I believe my body is trying to protect me with it’s reaction to a dangerous invader. I also believe things have changed. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t remember stuff smelling like this 20 years ago. It’s like there’s some new chemicals, and they’re getting used in everything. I had the same reaction to flavored seltzer water. I’ve been buying seltzer for years, nothing in it except carbonation. There were 4 flavored essence varieties, not sweetened. I thought what the heck, I’d had lime before, it was okay. The 3 citrus weren’t too bad, but when I cracked open a berry, it was like downing a glade plug in.

    I don’t expect things to get better, the stores wouldn’t be so full of this stuff if people weren’t buying it. I don’t like it, but I just have to learn to live amongst it. Best of luck in your quest and thanks for your inspiration.

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