Dealing with Perfume in Public

This has been a very frustrating and ongoing problem for me. Everytime I am exposed to perfume, I become seriouly ill to the point that I pass out when I get home and end up bed-ridden for a day or two.

I went to my co-worker's wedding today and became very ill because some women were wearing very strong perfume(or too much of it). Within 30min, I went from ok to not being able to walk without limping. At first, my eyes and sinuses started to hurt and I felt migraine and then it triggered my trigeminal neuralgia on my left side face and it spread throughout my left side of the body (I've been suffering from this condition since last car accident). Of course, I was also showered with the malaise sensation of FM - that deep ache that penetrates the core of your bones.

I had to refuse hugs from people and I was in so much pain that I screamed, "Don't touch me!" to my loving husband when he tried to put his hand on my shoulder. I've always had extreme reactions to perfume and it makes me very angry. It seems that women's perfume triggers worse symptoms than men's cologne for some reason.

I assume I am not the only one here who has this problem - I wanted to know how others deal with this. I love going to concerts and lectures but I get so ill when I am near someone who wears perfume. I try to sit far away from those women but it doesn't work sometimes - since you can't contain air. It makes me angry that I cannot do the things I enjoy and I never know when I will be exposed. Perfume to me is like a bug spray to bugs - it kills me! I wish perfume companies stop using toxic chemicals in their products...

How does everyone deal with perfume in public places? Do you just stay home? Do you wear a mask? I've tried wearing a mask - it didn't help since it also irritated my eyes and I felt sick from not being able to breathe well!

This will sound weird but hear me out. . lol. I dislike perfume not to the wear I become ill I generally just do not like the smell of any kind men or women's cologne or perfumes, it all stinks anywho when I worked at a department store the gals in the perfume area always had coffee beans around, they say when you are smelling too many scents, take a whiff of the coffee beans to clear the smell away. . .it actually worked for me to where when I walk in a dept store now and want to buy makeup thats in the smelly area, i go for the coffee beans, smell them then shop. . .maybe try carrying a small bag of coffee beans with you, put them in a cute sac and when you smell perfume take a whiff and see if that helps. Sorry that's all I have : )

Momerrell - Thanks for your suggestion! I will definitely try the coffee beans since I LOVE the smell of coffee although I cannot drink it. People will think I smell great, too!

I can't go near perfume section or any smelly isles in the store - that's like suicide to me!

hopefully the coffee beans will help. . .those in the perfume store swear buy it!! I do understand what you mean. . .I think ALL colognes and perfumes with the exception of one kind . .smells like Tide Laundry Detergent. . .all of it. The one kind that in my entire life span that do not smell like detergent is Viktor & Rolfs Flower Bomb. . .lol I get so amazed at how its doesn't smell like Tide. .

Hi Fibrochou,

It takes a strong amount of it to bother me, yet I have never worn much of it, and only wear it when I go out, and a bottle lasts me forever, I do not like it strong. I have a girlfriend as sensitive as you, and I know how sick she gets. She told me she is glad I never wear it, I laughingly told her that every time I have seen her, except the day I cooked for her, that I have worn it. She never even noticed, because you are not supposed to wear enough of it to be detected 2 miles away!!

My husband never even notices I have it on unless he hugs or kisses me, so he seldom notices! Ha!

The coffee and coffee beans would make me far sicker than perfume, then put that in a car especially on a plane, esp let any of it burn, and I am all but jumping out! I am a car sick kid from birth, (I have tried everything because I love to travel) and I get so sick, I gag or vomit uncontrollably until everyone is trying to jump out! I say no brewing coffee on a plane EVER!! It is terrible to be so adversely affected by such common place things as perfume and coffee!

There are no easy answers, we won't ever be able to take on perfume and coffee!

So sorry you suffer so!


The problem is that many people bathe in perfume/cologne! I can smell them from miles away and the scent lingers for hours after they are gone! It's ridiculous. I esp.hate it when I can't enjoy my meal at a restaurant because I can't smell my food over someone's perfume! I don't know how anyone can taste anything with that much perfume.

I can't use shopping cart because I get itchy from touching the handle that has perfume on it! I didn't realize why I got itchy until I smelled my hands.

I didn't know coffee can make someone sick! I guess we can be allergic to everything! Have you seen a doctor about your carsickness? My niece has an underdeveloped cochlea which gives her car sickness all the time. Do you have something like that?

Yes, went to my ENT, he completely checked me out, gave me the patches you wear behind the ear, NO help! If I take enough dramamine or phenergan that I am unconscious, no one wakes me, and I have a place to throw up as soon as I wake, I can make the trip. Now there have been times when the flight was so smooth, I did not throw up, but was sick. The very first swerve, or dip or air pocket and I am gone. At times like this strong perfume would only make me sicker.

Even a nurse friend of mine told me the Dramamine is to be taken the night before, did that, same thing was fine until the least bit of turbulance started. Told me never to fly or ride on an empty stomach, same deal, I even wear the wrist bands.

My husband took me to the Antietam Battlefield years back, their theatre room is at the top of the building, and the wall rotates, the minute that started, I was desperately sick, and the vertigo was frightening, he nearly had to carry me down the stairs. It is a beautiful theatre, everyone raved about the artistry, it was just me, people thought me crazy!

I can't ride in the car anymore because of SI joint damage, so seldom have the problem, did ask a friend who is a pilot about it motion sickness, he says the only way he does not get sick is if he is the one who is either flying the plane or driving the car! Ha! So much for that one!

Oh I know, my grand daughters bathe in perfume, and the scent is obnoxious anyway. I do not have the allergy that you do, but I do not care for it. I know that more and more people suffer very ill effects, if not allergic, but not sure enough can be done about it.