Fragrance Allergies: A Sensory Assault
The use of fragrance in products is on the rise -- and so is the number of people affected by them. WebMD offers ways to protect yourself if you're sensitive to scents.
Fragrance Sensitivities: What You Can Do continued...
"If they bring it up as an awareness issue, without singling out one
person, people will be better informed and hopefully will be more selective
about what they wear in the work environment, Saab says.
Here are six more solutions offered by Saab and the Job Accommodation
- Change workstation location. Either move away from the person whose
fragrance you find offensive, or move away from a common area where people
congregate, such as a foyer, break room, or restroom. Being in contact with
fewer people will mean less exposure to fragrances overall, and that can
- Telecommute at least a few days a week. The more time you can spend
outside of the environment, the less potent your symptoms may be when you do
have to be there.
- Modify your work schedule. Going in to work at 6 a.m., for example,
usually means you will have less contact with co-workers. And leaving earlier
in the day reduces the amount of time you will be exposed to the offending
fragrances, which will give your body a better chance at recouping after
- Try an air purifier. But be aware that air cleaners and air
purification units work less efficiently in a cubicle situation than in a
private office where you can shut the door. Also be certain to choose a unit
with an appropriate filter, such as gas or carbon. Simply using a system with
dust filtration won't help alleviate odors.
- Use a portable fan. A small fan can blow stagnant air away and keep
odors from lingering in your personal space.
- Develop alternate methods of communication. Work via email, phone,
or fax as much as possible to limit contact with those whose fragrances you
Slankard says you may also control some symptoms with a nonsedating
over-the-counter allergy medicine. "You can also talk to an allergist or an
environmental medicine specialist, who may be able to prescribe additional medications that can help," she says.
For more help: Visit the Job Accommodation Network web site at www.jan.wvu.edu or call (800) 526-7234. To
get help from the Americans With Disabilities Act, visit their web site at www.usdoj.gov/crt/ada/adahom1.htm