Can you be allergic to smells?

allergic to smells

Can you be allergic to smells? 

Have you ever tested a fragrance in a shop that immediately made you violently sneeze? Or maybe you bought a new air freshener that provoked a similar reaction? You’re far from alone. 

One study found that around 30% of people reported being irritated by scented products. They also found that 19% had reported adverse health effects from air fresheners. So is it actually possible to be allergic to smells?

Fragrance sensitivity

There are two main types of symptoms that people report when they believe they’re suffering from an allergy to smells – respiratory and dermatitis. Respiratory refers to nose symptoms such as a runny nose and sneezing. And dermatitis is a skin reaction such as a rash. Other symptoms include headaches, a tight chest, and wheezing.

While these symptoms are very real and match the symptoms of an allergy, they’re actually symptoms of what’s known as fragrance sensitivity. Fragrances can contain various irritants that provoke this reaction. So the smell of your friend’s new perfume cannot give you an allergic reaction. But it is possible to be allergic to the ingredients in a fragranced product.

What are the ingredients?

There are many ingredients in perfumes, laundry detergents, and air fresheners that can cause allergic reactions. So those experiencing reactions may look to more natural products hoping they’ll be kinder to their skin. But even natural products such as essential oils can cause allergic reactions. If you believe you’re suffering from an allergy to an ingredient in a product, the best treatment is to simply stop using products that contain the ingredient you’re allergic to. 

Avoiding an allergen isn’t always as easy as it seems. When products have a long list of ingredients, it’s hard to identify which exact ingredient is causing the reaction. If you believe you have an allergy, get a test. It’s the only way to know for certain and makes avoiding allergens so much easier.

Suspect you may have an allergy? Book an allergy test now with the London Allergy and Immunology Centre. Call us today on 02031 433 449 to regain control of your life.

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