can you be allergic to a smell?
Probably not. Dr. James Thompson on this site wrote a detailed post about fragrances and "allergic reactions."
In short, people aren't generally allergic to fragrances or odors. Instead those scents may irritate their nasal passage, which might cause sneezing, itching or runny nose.
There are ways to deal with it is there is a strong smell that often makes your nose run. Dr. Thompson has 9 tips for avoiding those smells at work and at home in his post that you can read here.
Absolutely, allergies are triggered by a wide range of enemies. Everyone is different to what they are allergic to but being allergic to a smell is more common than people realize and sometimes do not make the connection since we are programed to the common allergy triggers, ie polen, dust mites etc. I have a couple friends that are allergic to certain smells that cause an allergic reaction like perfumes, smoke, certain foods cooking. So if possible, stay clear of those aromas' if possible and I would recommend you see your Dr. to discuss this issue.
From my personal experience and bad luck, i am allergic to certain airborne 'smells' particulary fragrances. I am not able to wear any perfume myself as i become dizzy, disorientated and nauseseous. It has caused no end of difficulites for me - my husband is unable to wear aftershave or spray deodorants. My mum has to spray her hairspray outside the front door, i have to smell shampoos, cleaning products etc before i purchase them. Incredulously even the smallest amount of fragrance can send me into a dizzy spin - i can only describe it as severe morning sickness. I have difficulties at work, on the train - i am not too bad outdoors, and can manage ok - but small spaces like lifts, i have to hold my breath. It is exceptionally debilitating. Otherwise, i am35, perfectly healthy, mum to 2, a graduate and working - so please dont dismiss that this GENUINELY IS A VERY REAL PROBLEM FOR MANY PEOPLE. MY only wish is that it would be researched properly as i would be more than happy to participate. I turn pale, go quiet and literally find it hard to function - i am in desperation to move away from the smell. If anyone wishes to find out more about my experiences, or drop me a line, id be glad to hear from you firstname.lastname@example.org
thanks for reading, regards, Katrina xxx
I don't know if I am allergic or not, but if someone at my workplace brings in very spicy foods (i.e. curry) I have to close my door and light a smelly candle or I end up with a migraine and my eyes get all red and puffy. If I walk past an east indian restaurant the same thing happens. It also happens if I get stuck in a confined space (i.e. bus or elevator) next a person who has on very strong smelling perfume.
I agree with the previous poster. You can't be "allergic" to a smell. That being said, people definitely react to smells. Airborne particles can act as irritants, can trigger an asthma attack and can make you feel generally uncomfortable. There is one other important factor to keep in mind though. The brain can also play a role in a response. For example, if a person knows they are allergic to peanuts and they smell peanuts it can cause the person to be very anxious. These symptoms can be confused with an allergic response. This does not mean that it is "all in the head", the person is experiencing real symptoms. It is not however an "allergic" response.
Actually, you CAN be allergic to 'smells'. Or more accurately, to any one of the CHEMICALS that make up the particular smell. I have had 2 anapylactic reactions from the smell of my son's deodorant and mousse.
My face feels puffy, flushed, my mouth tastes like a bowl of pennies, and my heart rate increases...thankfully both times I had Benadryl and was able to control the symptoms. I did call 911 both times however.
My allergist said a person can be allergic to anything that the body has become sensitized to-- including fragrances, or smells. I know it's true because I've been there, and it sucks.
What is smell? It is a sensation caused by a reaction of your olfactory nerves interacting with particular molecules. Some of the previous responses were very confusing since they openly admitted that smell was a sensation caused by airborn particles. No particles, no smell. I guess technically you are allergic to the particles that cause a smell. And, yes, I guess you can hallucinate smells.
yes, i am allergic to scents/fragrances
they're usually around the line of the whole sweet pea, flower, sweet smells that come from perfumes
not natural odors
i usually get redness and rashes around my eyes
this is becuase the skin around your eyes, such as your eyelids, are one of the thinnest skins in yourbody, so it was the first to react on my body
If you lost your sense of smell the chemical that gives you the reaction would still be there. So you are allergic to the chemical not the smell. A lot of reactions from smells can be psychological or "a learned thing". The doctor was correct, this is something you learn in a basic human anatomy and physiology class.
Years ago I went stayed at a beach house in California. The first time I went out to the ocean I had hives everywhere the water touched. I had trouble breathing the ocean air, so took allergy medicine every 4 hours the whole time I was there. I did not get to surf, swim, or even splash around.
My allergies have gotten worse over the years. Now I can’t go in a grocery store without holding my breath as I run past the meat section. Just going in store’s I have some facial swelling. If I get stuck behind someone and must take a breath, I can plan on having hives, and swelling in my face and throat, where I need to take a pill.
Last time I went to a book store. I was walking through a parking lot where the smell of shell fish was so severe I ended up on medicine for a week.
When the wind blows past the Great Salt Lake, I am stuck inside, or I swell up. Yes I keep a Epipen with me at all time.
We just bought a used car that had been "deordorized" by the detailer. The first time my wife rode in it her throat started closing up and she had a burning sensation in her lungs which didn't completely go away for four days. The dealer then replaced the cabin air filter. Even this doesn't seem to help. I have put a partial box of baking soda in it hoping to absorb some odor. I now have it sitting in the bright sun in the driveway with all the windows, including the hatchback window open.
I hope we don't have the "B.O. car" on our hands like the Seinfeld episode. Is there anything that can speed up the odor dissipation?
I am allergic to smell that irriate me such as kerosene, smoke, lack of ventilation... yucky smelling drains.My upper lip swells and at the same time i experience a sore throat, running nose and itchy eyes. I use hydrotropic cream to treat my swollen lips which normally goes back to normal after seven to eight hours....
Absolutely! You might have Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, which is recognized as a disability by many government agencies. Doctors may pooh-pooh it as a
psychological problem, but that is ONLY because they don't know how to treat it.
I suggest you google "multiple chemical sensitivity" or contact the Chemical
Injury Information Network in Montana, or other organizations that understand the problem. It is VERY real, and more and more people are becoming sensitive
to fragrances, cleaning chemicals, etc., as the chemicals become more prevalent wherever you go.
I became very sensitive to odors when a hotel I stayed at in 1995 piped in some
type of air freshener through the a/c system. Since that time, I have become
more sensitive to almost all odors. It is NOT an allergy. It's not something that
a pill will take away! I am totally disabled from it, and getting worse with every
I wish you luck. Nobody who doesn't have this understands it. Not even the
You might suffer from MCS. (Multiple Chemical Sensitivity.) It's not that recognized and doctors usually tell people that there's nothing wrong with them. It's a genuine disease. You can definitely be allergic to smells! You just need clean air!
Tel: 888.852.8247 ext. 233
If you sneeze every time you get a whiff of perfume or room deodorizer, you may be one of millions of people with a fragrance sensitivity.
As many as 30 percent of people surveyed report that they find scented products irritating, according to a study from the University of West Georgia. Those with asthma or chemical sensitivities may find strong scents particularly problematic due to the allergy-like symptoms they cause.
Unlike tree pollen or dander, for example, perfumes and scents aren't actually allergens, they're irritants — but that doesn't mean that they can't trigger allergy symptoms like sneezing.
So what's the difference between an allergen and an irritant? In fairly simple terms, a true allergen causes a person’s immune system to release chemicals to fight the invader. On the way to the battle, inflammation could result — eyes could water, nose could fill, and so on.
"An allergen is a protein that is known to cause an IgE-mediated reaction," explains Beth A. Miller, MD, director of the University of Kentucky’s Asthma, Allergy, and Sinus Clinics and chief of the school's division of allergy and immunology in Lexington. IgE, or immunoglobulin E, is an antibody produced by the body in response to exposure to an allergen.
An irritant, on the other hand, doesn’t provoke the immune system. But it has no problem making eyes water or noses run.
It's not understood how or why this happens. "An irritant is a chemical or product that causes symptoms without a known immunologic cause," says Miller, so it does not cause an IgE-mediated reaction.
"Sensitivity is really a non-specific term," notes Miller. Only an allergen can cause a true allergy, while "irritants cause sensitivities."
Bottom line: What people call a "perfume allergy" is either fragrance sensitivity or an allergy to some chemical in the perfume.
Symptoms of Fragrance Sensitivity
You can have two types of allergy symptoms due to fragrance sensitivity — respiratory, nose and eye symptoms, much like that of seasonal allergy symptoms — or skin allergy symptoms.
Symptoms of fragrance sensitivity can include:
The Rise of Fragrance Sensitivities
People who have asthma may be more sensitive to fragrances and may experience allergy symptoms or worsening asthma symptoms from exposure to perfumes, fragrances, and other chemicals. Although, says Miller, there isn't really an established link between asthma and fragrance sensitivity.
People who already have allergies, like seasonal allergies or allergies to indoor allergens like molds and animal allergens, may be more likely to experience fragrance sensitivities.
“Often patients with allergies are more sensitive to these irritants due to their baseline allergic disease," says Miller. And with more than 50 million Americans dealing with allergies, that's a lot of people at an increased risk for fragrance sensitivity.
Combine that increased sensitivity with a constantly increasing level of irritating chemicals and fragrances that are ever-present in our environment and the things we use every day (over 5,000 types used today), and it's no surprise that fragrance sensitivities are more common than initially believed.
Preventing and Treating Fragrance Sensitivities
If you're dealing with allergy symptoms caused by fragrance sensitivity, there are some things that you can do for relief.
Nasal antihistamine and nasal corticosteroid medications can effectively control allergy symptoms caused by these sensitivities. But the best medicine is really an ounce of prevention — and that means keeping all fragrances off yourself and out of your environment.
There just aren't any "safe" fragrances or products that Miller can recommend for anyone who has experienced allergy symptoms due to fragrance sensitivities.
"Any product with a scent can be irritating to patients," notes Miller. "I suggest patients utilize scent-free products if at all possible." That means fragrance-free:
You should even be cautious with cleaning and deodorizing products that you use at home — look for products that don't contain fragrance, which could cause your allergy symptoms.
You may also need to ask your friends, spouse or partner, and co-workers to avoid wearing or using heavily-fragranced products around you to prevent your allergy symptoms.
Of course, there's no hard and fast rule about what you can and can't use — fragrance sensitivity is an individual issue.
"This type of sensitivity can vary among individuals," says Miller. "In some patients all scents are bothersome, and in others only strong smells [like chlorine] are irritating."
But rather than run the risk of having allergy symptoms from fragrance sensitivity, it's best to be conservative — and avoid all products containing fragrance for the best chance at avoiding your allergy symptoms
you can be allergic to a smell!
to many its dust,cats,dogs,perfume ect. its whats in it or that the body cant take it because it might be to strong for the body.
i am allergic to many perfumes and a lot of people are too, what happens: your head can start hurting, you start coughing ect. like i said the body kinda freaks out to what ever it can take called side affects. (aka allergys) its telling you ''i cant take this''. its mostly asked ''why are people allergic to stuff?'' its what ever your body cat take.
i hope this helps your question
Just this week I spent two days in the hodpital for the 2nd time with severe chest and radiating right arm pain. This is the 8th episode in 12 years that has left me unable to move for up to 90 minutes. Heart echos and a nucleaur stress test has proven there is an excellent heart inside. Now looking back at the attacks I remember 5 times having been in strong oders prior to the attacks. Once working constrution in a coca producing factory, another using gym seal doing hardwood floors, in a flower/garden shop at Christmas, last was a nurse in hospital wearing "Eternity" fagarance working on me. The heart monitor didn't even blink and 20 minutes later I started coming out of the debilitating pain. I can't even go down a box store fertilizer inspectide isle and must be careful how this stuff is stored in my
garage. I'm a type 2 diabetic, dealing with lyme disease, and west nile virus, age 59.
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