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How can an allergy to perfumes and deodorants be managed?

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Dr. Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :1991

Answered : 98 Questions

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Posted on Thu, 29 Nov 2018 in General Health
Question: Hi Doctor,
I have an allergy from perfumes and deodrants. I can't bear the smell of deodrants and i start sneezing right then and later on suffer from cold that lasts in 15 to 20 days.
Please suggest.
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Answered by Dr. Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh 40 minutes later
Brief Answer:
Information

Detailed Answer:
Hello and welcome,

I understand this problem as I react in similar ways, and it is a hard situation.

The physiological mechanism of reacting to dust vs things that have fragrances is different but the end result is the same. Reaction to dust is usually a true allergic response. Reaction to fragrances is an irritant or chemical rhinitis. Both can cause inflammation and discharge of the mucus membranes of the sinuses, nose, and throat. Reactions can be immediate and delayed.

Here are some recommendations to help decrease your exposures and response:

1. To prevent exposure to dust, cover your pillow and mattress in dust mite barrier covers made specifically for this purpose. I use Lifekind brand - they are expensive but last long and are washable.

2. Wash your bedding in hot water once a week.

3. After exposures to fragrances, as soon as possible, such as when you get home, wash your sinuses with sterile saline. You can use a porcelain nettipot, boiled then cooled water, and saline packets made for the purpose, or if you need, I can write out the proportions for making your own saline. In the US, we also have ready made pump top spray cans of saline which are more convenient and you may be able to find this in the pharmacy where you live too. Washing your sinuses is safe and you can do this up to 3 times a day if needed. It will help wash out the chemicals that are irritants that you are reacting to.

4. A nasal steroid spray, used daily or twice daily, on a regular basis, may help stabilize your sinus/nasal mucus membranes so that they are less reactive. It hasn't worked for me but it does help many people. Don't use it within an hour before or after saline rinses as the steroid will just end up dripping down your throat where you don't want it (into your stomach).

5. Make sure you are getting enough Vitamin C and bioflavonoids to keep your tissues strong and resistant. When you have an exposure to something that you think might set you off, consider upping your dose of Vitamin C and zinc.

6. I wish there was an easy way to get fragrances out of clothes. I find that when my clothes pick up fragrances from where other people have sat, etc, it is hard to get some of it out at times. I am still looking for a product that works well. But in general, washing soda, or boric acid powder (Borax) seems to help.

7. Buy fragrance free products whenever possible or make your own. I don't know what products are available in XXXXXXX but if it will help, ask me and I can give you a list of things I use. And avoid using fabric softener sheets that are sold for the purpose of softening clothes in the dryer. Those are full of toxic irritants.

8. Consider seeing an allergist who may be able to help with dust or other allergies, although it sounds like the main problem for you is the fragrances.

I hope this helps and I am sorry you have this problem, which unfortunately I can relate to too well.

Regards,
Dr. Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh, General & Family Physician


Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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