Avoiding Fragrances, In the Workplace and Out Part 2

For more on this topic, see part 1.

One of the most visited places that people struggle with are the local stores. This is because of the chemicals used to clean with, to freshen the air and departments, the items that are sold, such as laundry soap and perfumes. Hair and nail salons can be difficult. Hotels/motels have a heavy chlorine smell. If you stay there or work there, these can make it so hard to breathe. The cleaning products that they use are also strong because they want a person to smell a clean room, as well as being able to see that the room is clean. I’ve changed rooms a few times when my green room wasn’t a green room. A green room is one that is chemical and scent free.

Places that often have COPD triggers

The gas pumps are another tough place. Driving in town or the highway can leave the overpowering smell of diesel fuel. Gasoline is bad too. Trucks kick out that heavy black smoke. In other areas, there are other pollutants.
A church is another that’s difficult to go too. So many wear perfumes, hair products, etc. Mixing those smells is so overwhelming. Some churches use incense, sage, and other products.

We know some of these places are difficult to regulate because the items are sold or brought in from the customer, parishioner, etc. People who work in these places have no choice but to put up with it or to find another job because these specialize in scented products.

Then there are places or offices that could be scent-free, however, employees are able to wear or plug-in scented products. Other employees complain, but too often the scents are able to stay. What is a person to do, besides look for another job? Sadly, there aren’t always many other options. Customers frequently avoid these places too.
Once I was diagnosed with COPD, it was a relief to get more answers to my reactions to many scented problems. Over time, I realized that many businesses and people seem offended that I get reactions from their business or store. Friends quit coming around because they “like their smellies” and would have to go home, shower, and change before coming over and they were afraid that I would still have reactions.

My reactions and how I cope

Eyes and face swell shut; voice gets hoarse; hives; itching; chills; difficulty breathing and/or talking; so tired and I sleep for two to three days; then there is anaphylaxis. O2 drops and I need oxygen. I do use it at night with a c-pap and as needed for the day, as prescribed. Using the nebulizer is a must and pro-air. Guess what, I am allergic to Benadryl and always carry two epi-pens. If I go in, the E.D. or doctor’s office often give me an injection of epi, sometimes an IV, and usually prednisone. Often an antibiotic as well. My allergies often trigger my COPD exacerbations.

I’ve asked more than one doctor what am I to do? More than one doctor has replied, “stay home and stay away from people”.

The loneliness of COPD

COPD as any chronic illness can be a very lonely place. It’s important to have a support system. Get to know your body, what affects you and what doesn’t. Write these down and share with your doctor at your next appointment, or sooner if you need to see your doctor ahead of time.

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More on this topic

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The COPD.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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