Health & Fitness

Can Perfumes Aggravate Asthma?


Do specific perfumes and strong odors aggravate your asthma? If yes, then you’re not alone. For people with asthma, the vulnerability to perfumes, strong odors, nail paints, and remover can lead to worst symptoms. In this article, I’m going to discuss everything you need to know about perfumes causing asthma.

The Link Between Asthma And Perfume

Studies confirm that 41% of patients with asthma report that their asthma triggers when exposed to perfumes and certain strong odors. Most frequently this is caused by the chemical ingredients present in the perfumes that are breathed in and scrape with the airways of respiratory system. This results in inflammation and narrowing of air canals, which can cause a severe tight chest, coughing, wheezing, and a harmful life-threatening asthma attack.

The Perfumes You Should Avoid

Are you an asthmatic patient? If so, then unfortunately you have to avoid some certain strong odors. Avoiding perfumes and odors are not as easy as we think, right? They are so commonplace that we come across them almost every day. But if you recognize the ones aggravating asthma, it won’t be difficult to manage. Make sure to take note of all the problematic perfumes and seek medical assistance if you run into worsening asthma symptoms like difficulty in breathing and wheezing.

The most particular odors you should avoid are:

1. Perfume and Cologne                                                                                

Most probably perfumes or cologne are made with the essential oils containing natural fragrances, but other agents are also found in perfumes to empower the scent and make it bond to what it is sprayed on. The excessive usage of perfumes can aggravate allergic reactions in the lungs. Harmful ingredients present in perfumes and cologne may include:

  • Acetophenone                                                                                      
  • Ethyl acetate
  • Balsam of Peru
  • Antioxidants
  • Furanocoumarin
  • Acetone
  • Opoponax

Some other common chemical mixtures in perfumes are alcohols, coal, coal tar, and petrochemicals. No one wants such items on body! The concentration of chemical compounds also counts to cause harm. Acetophenone and ethyl acetate are notoriously known as potential respiratory allergens.

2. Body Sprays

Body sprays are the products of perfumes. They are contemplated to apply elsewhere on the body except armpits. Body sprays contain aerosol which is already a toxic trigger. Some other chemical ingredients found in body sprays are:

  • Propane
  • Butane
  • Isobutane
  • Parfum
  • Ethyl alcohal

The scents present in body sprays are mostly artificially created aromatic chemicals. Yet, they are lighter than perfumes and cologne.

What If You Choose To Wear Perfumes?

Never place the perfumes and strong odors in your bedroom. You should prefer wearing a much lighter perfume (lighter scent or no scent at all), especially during warm weather. This is because in summer seasons, the fragrances intensify with heat and react speedily. Do not use excessive amount of the perfumes. Always wear a reasonable (or maybe low) quantity. No one would be able to smell your fragrance even from an arm’s length away.    

How Can Perfumes Affect Lungs?

Toxic chemicals used to add fragrances to perfumes can result in severe health issues, especially for patients already dealing with lung diseases such as asthma or COPD. Even though being close to a scented product can cause allergy to some people. This is because when asthmatic people inhale chemicals of perfume, they encounter allergy.

Poisonous components of the perfumes penetrate in bodies either by skin or lungs. Among them, the most susceptible to virulency is lungs. These chemicals cause different allergic reactions; even products including organic plant extracts can lead to asthmatic allergy in some people.

Other than shortness in breath, asthmatic patients are also affected by some mild problems. Most common of these problems are:

  • Dizziness 
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Headaches
  • Feeling tired all the day
  • Cold-like symptoms
  • Inflammation
  • Nausea
  • Fatal asthma symptoms

How Can You Protect Yourself From Perfumes Triggering Asthma?

This is nearly impossible to avoid fragrances all the time. According to a research performed by Food and Drug Administration (FDA), perfumes are the complex mixtures of organic and synthetic chemical compounds. They contain different chemical ingredients which have odors and taste.

Patients having asthma attacks are hospitalized daily on a huge basis. Hundred thousands of people are delivered to hospital due to asthma allergies. Yet, many of these asthmatic cases can be avoided with an asthma management plan.

For instance, if you notice a linkage between certain scents and an outburst in your asthma symptoms, this is best to prevent these activators altogether. In day-to-day life, this can be more confusing, so it’s necessary to adopt systematic preventer prescription, as instructed by your doctor.

How Can You Minimize The Impact Of Perfumes On Your Asthma?

You must be asking yourself now, how can I reduce perfumes effects? Well, if you come across serious symptoms of asthma every time you encounter to perfumes, strong odors, incense, and body sprays you should keep away from regular use of such products.

You need to continue your medical assistance from your doctor, if you want to minimize the impact of perfumes and other triggers on your asthma. Repeat this almost daily and also when you are not feeling well. Preventer medications help to make the airways less sensitive in response to the perfumes and reduce in and swelling inflammation. It lowers the redness severity and dries up the mucus.

Even you are feeling good; do not forget to carry your reliever medicines with you all the times. Breathing can be shortened anytime. Ask your doctor for some quick treatment, so you can make out a plan what to do if your asthma starts getting worst.

How Can You Avoid Perfumes At Your School Or Workplace?

This actually seems difficult to avoid perfumes and fragrances at schools and workplaces. Schools, high societies working in schools, colleges, universities, and workplaces must be aware of asthma triggers. If you are a school student, arrange a meeting of your parents with school teachers so they can explain your situation to the school staff. Schools and colleges should take a rapid action to reduce the risk of perfumes and other triggers for people dealing with asthma in their proximity.   

You can draw asthma awareness charts and display them at your working place. The staff will be responsible enough to cooperate with your conditions.

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