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  1. #1

    Default Basenoter Worst Nightmare

    The secretary at my work is actually allergic to most scents (including deodorants, shampoos, etc) and can get hospitalized if its bad enough. She can smell a perfume or cologne a mile away. Luckily I'm not often in the office, but when I am I have to be very mindful. How would you guys try to avoid getting cologne on your clothes? Currently it seems the cologne gets mostly on my undershirt and not my dress shirt. Was wondering if anyone had any other tricks

  2. #2

    Default Re: Basenoter Worst Nightmare

    Spray behind your ears, or directly under your chin. This will avoid all contact with clothing.

  3. #3
    PerfumeCollector's Avatar
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    Default Re: Basenoter Worst Nightmare

    Change job
    Perfume lovers of the world UNITE!!!!!

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    Default Re: Basenoter Worst Nightmare

    Quote Originally Posted by PerfumeCollector View Post
    Change job
    Pretty radical, but great idea

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Basenoter Worst Nightmare

    1. Call ahead and have her leave the area when you are there.
    2. Ask her to please take an antihistamine the days you are scheduled to be there (have her see an allergist). It is not fair for her to control everyone else's personal choices (that's why we have non-smoking laws).
    3. Make sure she has an epi-pen on hand in case her reaction is severe. Tell her you will always be wearing cologne when you are there. Work with her to find a solution where she can protect herself and you can *be* yourself.

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    Default Re: Basenoter Worst Nightmare

    Quote Originally Posted by dogodojo View Post
    1. Call ahead and have her leave the area when you are there.
    2. Ask her to please take an antihistamine the days you are scheduled to be there (have her see an allergist). It is not fair for her to control everyone else's personal choices (that's why we have non-smoking laws).
    3. Make sure she has an epi-pen on hand in case her reaction is severe. Tell her you will always be wearing cologne when you are there. Work with her to find a solution where she can protect herself and you can *be* yourself.

    Are you serious?

  7. #7

    Default Re: Basenoter Worst Nightmare

    Quote Originally Posted by dogodojo View Post
    1. Call ahead and have her leave the area when you are there.
    2. Ask her to please take an antihistamine the days you are scheduled to be there (have her see an allergist). It is not fair for her to control everyone else's personal choices (that's why we have non-smoking laws).
    3. Make sure she has an epi-pen on hand in case her reaction is severe. Tell her you will always be wearing cologne when you are there. Work with her to find a solution where she can protect herself and you can *be* yourself.
    I'm sorry, but I can't tell if this post is intended to be sarcastic (sometimes sarcasm is lost in these forums). If it is, the sarcasm is a bit too subtle for me.

    If it isn't, then I have to disagree with this completely. This is not a situation where two personal choices are colliding; the o.p. indicated she has an objective medical condition that caused severe reactions to scents. Considering that he's only in the office rarely, it seems to me that it's a matter of decency not to wear cologne the days he knows he and she will be there. It's really a small matter for me not to wear cologne for a day or two, and if a coworker had this condition I think it's, at the very least, a question of courtesy.

    I don't want my personal choice causing someone physical problems. And, personally, I don't need cologne to "*be* myself." I'm the same person whether wearing Green Irish Tweed or not.

    One other thought: if she is actually that allergic, she is likely protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act, which is more expansive than most people realize (assuming this occurred in the United States). If the o.p. has a management position, and refuses to accommodate her request, he'd better consult his company's attorney because he is setting them up for a possible lawsuit.

    But again, if it was me, I just would avoid cologne on the few days I will be near her. No big deal for me.
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  8. #8
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    Default Re: Basenoter Worst Nightmare

    Yes - serious, not sarcastic. Just responding to what seemed to be real sadness and frustration on the part of the poster. And since, as he said, he is not there that much, it seems a small matter to ask her to go to a different room when he's there. Of course, he could choose not to wear the fragrance, as you said. But it seemed he did not want to do that. If she moved out of the area when he was there, it would be consideration on both parts, don't you think?

    If the job required no fragrance in the workplace (as some do) then he would have to comply. But, if not ... I don't know that this would be considered a disability. In my workplace, I actually saved the life of a co-worker once, who was having a huge allergy attack because of something that was never discovered. I got her a Benedryl immediately and when the paramedics arrived they said had she not taken it when she did, she might have died.

    But, she came right back to work and this workplace did nothing to accommodate her. Her attack could have been from flowers, or chemicals, or something just in the air. Perhaps it was even to a perfume some customer was wearing! No accommodations have been made for her and it is her responsibility to medicate herself in the way her doctor recommends, or to find another job.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Basenoter Worst Nightmare

    Quote Originally Posted by dogodojo View Post
    1. Call ahead and have her leave the area when you are there.
    2. Ask her to please take an antihistamine the days you are scheduled to be there (have her see an allergist). It is not fair for her to control everyone else's personal choices (that's why we have non-smoking laws).
    3. Make sure she has an epi-pen on hand in case her reaction is severe. Tell her you will always be wearing cologne when you are there. Work with her to find a solution where she can protect herself and you can *be* yourself.
    I really hope this is a joke. [edit: Yikes! It's not.]

    I love fragrances as much as everyone else here, but there comes a point where you need to take a step back and ask yourself "Do I have a problem? Am I literally ADDICTED?" I dated a woman who was allergic. I stopped wearing fragrances while we were together. Anybody who would choose frags over a woman, or in this case, a job... that person has a problem.

    There's nothing wrong with not wearing fragrance. In fact, by giving your nose a break, you actually increase your ability to enjoy scents when you wear them.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by barclaydetolly View Post
    I don't want my personal choice causing someone physical problems. And, personally, I don't need cologne to "*be* myself." I'm the same person whether wearing Green Irish Tweed or not.
    Exactly.
    Last edited by L'Homme Blanc Individuel; 8th November 2012 at 09:21 PM.
    "Follow your nose. It always knows." -- Toucan Sam

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Basenoter Worst Nightmare

    Quote Originally Posted by barclaydetolly View Post
    But again, if it was me, I just would avoid cologne on the few days I will be near her. No big deal for me.
    This.

    Regardless of whether she's telling the truth or bs'ing, I wouldn't wear fragrance around her. Just don't want to deal with the drama. At best, she dislikes fragrances and would cause a fuss if she smelt it. At worst, she'd end up being hospitalized. Either way, it's reason enough for me to just not wear fragrances around her.

    Honestly, when I first saw the thread title, I thought it was something worse. Like a burglar stole the OP's entire fragrance collection or a fire destroyed it. Thank god it's not that bad.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Basenoter Worst Nightmare

    Quote Originally Posted by PerfumeCollector View Post
    Change job
    Get her fired.

    Just spray on your neck, upper arm/wrist, etc. Anywhere that doesn't typically come in contact with clothes

  12. #12

    Default Re: Basenoter Worst Nightmare

    I'm sorry for her but also for you that you need to be really careful.

    Spray it on while you're still naked, let it dry and only then get dressed.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Basenoter Worst Nightmare

    Quote Originally Posted by bonsai View Post
    Spray it on while you're still naked, let it dry and only then get dressed.
    My thoughts also...either that or change careers

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    Default Re: Basenoter Worst Nightmare

    Quote Originally Posted by bonsai View Post
    I'm sorry for her but also for you that you need to be really careful.

    Spray it on while you're still naked, let it dry and only then get dressed.
    That's basically what I do, for no apparent reason other than to let it dry.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Basenoter Worst Nightmare

    Perhaps you could find an all natural fragrance that doesn't bother her.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Basenoter Worst Nightmare

    Quote Originally Posted by JiveHippo View Post
    Perhaps you could find an all natural fragrance that doesn't bother her.
    Worth a try.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Basenoter Worst Nightmare

    Since youre not there that often I would agree that you should just refrain from wearing any fragrance that day, nobody want a lawsuit right? However it sounds like she is exaggerating the effects that other peoples fragrance can have on her. Im working on a masters degree in molecular toxicology and have taken several classes in immunology and similar topics and with all the IFRA regulations on what goes into a scent I highly doubt she could be hospitalized from someone else wearing a perfume. Almost always an allergic reaction requires direct contact with the allergen via skin contact, injection, or ingestion, and the amount of fragrance that diffuses off your body while you are in the office would be to minuscule to trigger anything. Maybe if you went and sprayed her in the face with a frag she could have a reaction, but it just doesnt make any sense that she could be hospitalized from you wearing one yourself. And does that also mean you cant wear deodorant or use soap in the shower before you come to work? Does she have documentation of this severe allergy problem from a doctor? Im not calling her a liar, and in biology there are always special cases which circumvent general knowledge, but this just sounds a little extreme to me.

    PS an all natural fragrance would be more likely to cause a reaction than a synthetic one since someone suggested that above.
    Last edited by FullCollapse; 8th November 2012 at 04:00 PM.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Basenoter Worst Nightmare

    That is hypersensitive. She should be in a bubble lol. I think its great you are mindful but then again, you have to be yourself. Its okay to groom in a way that satisfies you but on those days, a comprise by toning it down a notch is all anyone could ask for. In a healthcare setting, I'm not supposed to wear anything scented as it may upset sick patients. Do I? Of course; I'm a member of basenotes damn it lol. However, to work I usually wear something low key and inoffensive which in my opinion makes anything in my wardrobe fair game
    Is the juice worth the squeeze?

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Basenoter Worst Nightmare

    I knew a girl that claimed that she was deathly allergic to all scents including shampoos, soaps etc. So many people would walk on eggshells for her. I asked her if she wore a gas mask to the store or something because that seemed like an extremely dangerous place for her...she said no. She was in my church and she asked the religious leader to ask people to not wear fragrances of any kind or she could be hospitalized. He complied and thus everyone in church was banned from all fragrances. I didn't believe her but I still tried to help out. So, one day I was in the store and she was in the personal hygiene section looking for non scented everything. I asked her if it bothered her to be in that section because of all of the fragrances wafting in the air. She said no and that she just tries to by unscented stuff. Later, I hadn't seen her in church for a while so I banked that she wouldn't be there and so I wore a spritz of frag and went to church. She was there so I half heartedly tried to keep my distance. I also secretly hoped she would come up to me to see if anything happened. She actually saw me, came over and gave me a hug. I then just observed and absolutely nothing happened. From that moment on I would wear frags any time I went to church or knew that she would be around and nothing ever even came close to happening. So, I guess I'm kind o a jerk because I didn't believe her and decided to test my theory, but she just loved getting attention and saying that she was severely allergic to fragrances was her way of getting constant attention.

    I personally have never met anyone that has had a severe reaction from fragrances. I have a coworker where it is just he and I in our office and he is allergic to about 98% of all allergens. I wear fragrances every day and he has never had a reaction. I think that a lot of people that claim to have severe allergies to fragrances either are hypochondriacs, have been told they are allergic to them and thus never tested to see if they really were, really want attention, or are just uneducated. I have worn fragrances since I was 15. I even taught school for 10 years wearing fragrances every day and never did any of my students have a reaction, and still to this day I have never met anyone that has had a severe allergic reaction to frags. I've never even seen anyone have even a slight allergic reaction to frags. Oh, I mean smelling them, not touching the actual juice, that's another story, I have seen reactions to that, still not severe though.

    I'm not saying that it couldn't happen, I'm just saying that I have never seen it in my 20 years of wearing frags in all walks of life...and if you think about it, those people that claim they have severe allergic reactions to fragrances should be wearing a gas mask at all times because it is impossible to distance yourself from all fragrances, you could never leave your house and you could never interact with anyone because they might, after all, have washed their hands with some soap that contained some sort of fragrance.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Basenoter Worst Nightmare

    Quote Originally Posted by Kybid View Post
    I knew a girl that claimed that she was deathly allergic to all scents including shampoos, soaps etc. So many people would walk on eggshells for her. I asked her if she wore a gas mask to the store or something because that seemed like an extremely dangerous place for her...she said no. She was in my church and she asked the religious leader to ask people to not wear fragrances of any kind or she could be hospitalized. He complied and thus everyone in church was banned from all fragrances. I didn't believe her but I still tried to help out. So, one day I was in the store and she was in the personal hygiene section looking for non scented everything. I asked her if it bothered her to be in that section because of all of the fragrances wafting in the air. She said no and that she just tries to by unscented stuff. Later, I hadn't seen her in church for a while so I banked that she wouldn't be there and so I wore a spritz of frag and went to church. She was there so I half heartedly tried to keep my distance. I also secretly hoped she would come up to me to see if anything happened. She actually saw me, came over and gave me a hug. I then just observed and absolutely nothing happened. From that moment on I would wear frags any time I went to church or knew that she would be around and nothing ever even came close to happening. So, I guess I'm kind o a jerk because I didn't believe her and decided to test my theory, but she just loved getting attention and saying that she was severely allergic to fragrances was her way of getting constant attention.

    I personally have never met anyone that has had a severe reaction from fragrances. I have a coworker where it is just he and I in our office and he is allergic to about 98% of all allergens. I wear fragrances every day and he has never had a reaction. I think that a lot of people that claim to have severe allergies to fragrances either are hypochondriacs, have been told they are allergic to them and thus never tested to see if they really were, really want attention, or are just uneducated. I have worn fragrances since I was 15. I even taught school for 10 years wearing fragrances every day and never did any of my students have a reaction, and still to this day I have never met anyone that has had a severe allergic reaction to frags. I've never even seen anyone have even a slight allergic reaction to frags. Oh, I mean smelling them, not touching the actual juice, that's another story, I have seen reactions to that, still not severe though.

    I'm not saying that it couldn't happen, I'm just saying that I have never seen it in my 20 years of wearing frags in all walks of life...and if you think about it, those people that claim they have severe allergic reactions to fragrances should be wearing a gas mask at all times because it is impossible to distance yourself from all fragrances, you could never leave your house and you could never interact with anyone because they might, after all, have washed their hands with some soap that contained some sort of fragrance.
    Exactly, its all bullshit. If she is that deathly allergic she should walk around in a bubble. If she was allergic then she would be dead by now. Just tell her that you arent wearing anything and she will be fine.
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    Default Re: Basenoter Worst Nightmare

    Quote Originally Posted by heperd View Post
    Exactly, its all bullshit. If she is that deathly allergic she should walk around in a bubble. If she was allergic then she would be dead by now. Just tell her that you arent wearing anything and she will be fine.
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  22. #22
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    Default Re: Basenoter Worst Nightmare

    Wait, maybe I'm missing something, but it sounds like you already don't wear fragrance on days when you're in the office.

    So...just wear freshly washed clothes on days when you're in the office, and continue not wearing fragrance on those days.

    Right? Am I underthinking this?
    "It's not what you look like when you're doing what you're doing; it's what you're doing when you're doing what you look like you're doing."

  23. #23

    Default Re: Basenoter Worst Nightmare

    Spend some time and money in the essential oil/aromatherapy world. You may not have as much luck constructing a layered frag to compete with the commercials, but essential oils can be exquisite, they do have therapeutic effects and I have never seen anyone with an allergic reaction to any of them except chamomile (which is damn expensive anyway).

    It's a different experience. I worked as a naturopath for more than 10 years before I moved to Europe, and aromatherapy was part of my studies. I love my frags, but the oils are well worth looking into.

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Basenoter Worst Nightmare

    Quote Originally Posted by galain View Post
    Spend some time and money in the essential oil/aromatherapy world. You may not have as much luck constructing a layered frag to compete with the commercials, but essential oils can be exquisite, they do have therapeutic effects and I have never seen anyone with an allergic reaction to any of them except chamomile (which is damn expensive anyway).

    It's a different experience. I worked as a naturopath for more than 10 years before I moved to Europe, and aromatherapy was part of my studies. I love my frags, but the oils are well worth looking into.
    Most of the recognised allergens are chemicals found in Essential Oils. Limonene found in many oils (including orange, Lemon, Lavender etc.), Linalol found in Lavender, Clary Sage, Bergamot. And many many more.

  25. #25

    Default Re: Basenoter Worst Nightmare

    Quote Originally Posted by David Ruskin View Post
    Most of the recognised allergens are chemicals found in Essential Oils. Limonene found in many oils (including orange, Lemon, Lavender etc.), Linalol found in Lavender, Clary Sage, Bergamot. And many many more.
    But I thought those were contact allergies, rather than allergies triggered by breathing the scent? Am I wrong? Edited to add: I'm asking seriously, not debating. I'd very much like to know if natural perfumes _tend_ to be less allergenic to non-wearers who breathe them.

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Basenoter Worst Nightmare

    Quote Originally Posted by ChickenFreak View Post
    But I thought those were contact allergies, rather than allergies triggered by breathing the scent? Am I wrong? Edited to add: I'm asking seriously, not debating. I'd very much like to know if natural perfumes _tend_ to be less allergenic to non-wearers who breathe them.
    I get a splitting headache and my throat gets irritated whenever I smell Lavender (in pure EO form AND in "scents" that may or may not be natural.) I can tolerate it and even love it in things where the lavender is not apparent (LUSH's "therapy" massage bar) but if the lavender is strong enough to have any sort of presence at all, it will give me a splitting headache and irritate my throat.

    It's not an actual allergy (as that would be a histamine reaction and I don't believe I have that) but it certainly IS irritating. (And I have no issues with other things that contain some of the same "common allergen" compounds, like linalool. It's exclusive to lavender, as far as I can tell, but I'm not sure what it is about the lavender that does it.)

    I've never been tested for a sensitivity by a doctor (gee, I don't need an expert to tell me I have a headache!) but I can say with quite a bit of certainty that it's irritating as hell. Lavender also absolutely reeks to me (people think it smells good? really? lol I know, I know...) which is probably because my brain associates the scent with the reaction.

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Basenoter Worst Nightmare

    Shoot. I wrote a post last night but something happened to it!

    Just wanted to say that I am that sensitive also. I have tons of allergies, to the point that I carry around an epi-pen. Allergies to mold, dust, pollens, insects, food, cats .... and I have seven cats. Once I went to an allergist and she took a look at my shirt, saw cat hairs and said, "you need to get rid of your cats." I walked out of the office without another word.

    Now, after working with a good allergist, I take two antihistamines per day, do a nasal wash 2x per day, Flonase 1x per day and will be doing the allergy shots also to boost my immune response. The fact is there are a lot of chemicals, smells, junk, etc. in the air these days. Allergies build up over time and exposure. I can react immediately with a massive headache if I smell those awful, metallic, synthetic perfumes - or even tobacco smoke on a person's clothes! But I can't go around expecting the world and everyone in it to adjust to my issues! (And yes, ChickenFreak, all you have to do is smell things to have a reaction. Chemicals, pollen, etc. are inhaled and cause an inflammatory response in the person's system.)

    She needs to get medical help for her problems and deal with them herself. I wouldn't indulge her either. (And don't have much sympathy for people who give up their pets because they have "allergies." If you got your pet, you're responsible for it for the rest of its life! Take allergy meds!) The only caveat to that is if the workplace had the rule that no perfumes were allowed. But clearly they don't. So it is her problem.

    I think jawjaw is being incredibly nice to consider changing his habits to suit her problems.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaelee View Post
    but if the lavender is strong enough to have any sort of presence at all, it will give me a splitting headache and irritate my throat.

    It's not an actual allergy (as that would be a histamine reaction and I don't believe I have that) but it certainly IS irritating. (And I have no issues with other things that contain some of the same "common allergen" compounds, like linalool. It's exclusive to lavender, as far as I can tell, but I'm not sure what it is about the lavender that does it.)
    Kaelee: Without being a doctor, I'd say that's an allergy - especially your throat reaction. If your tongue was reacting too, that's the worst kind of allergy that needs attention immediately. You can easily have a reaction to some things and not others. If a bee stings me I have to be rushed to the hospital. But a wasp stung me last year and it just hurt really badly (which it does for anyone who gets stung by a wasp). I'm sure they are similar "compounds" but just different enough to make that difference for me. And possibly if I were stung every year by wasps I would get to the point that I'm at with bees.

    (I hate lavender too. And have always tried to like it because it is "supposed" to be so healing. Yuck! Not healing to me at all!)

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Basenoter Worst Nightmare

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaelee View Post
    I get a splitting headache and my throat gets irritated whenever I smell Lavender (in pure EO form AND in "scents" that may or may not be natural.) I can tolerate it and even love it in things where the lavender is not apparent (LUSH's "therapy" massage bar) but if the lavender is strong enough to have any sort of presence at all, it will give me a splitting headache and irritate my throat.

    It's not an actual allergy (as that would be a histamine reaction and I don't believe I have that) but it certainly IS irritating. (And I have no issues with other things that contain some of the same "common allergen" compounds, like linalool. It's exclusive to lavender, as far as I can tell, but I'm not sure what it is about the lavender that does it.)

    I've never been tested for a sensitivity by a doctor (gee, I don't need an expert to tell me I have a headache!) but I can say with quite a bit of certainty that it's irritating as hell. Lavender also absolutely reeks to me (people think it smells good? really? lol I know, I know...) which is probably because my brain associates the scent with the reaction.
    So you only react to Lavender if you can smell it, but if it is present and you can't smell it you don't react? Just re-read what you have written. That is not an allergy, that is in your head.

  29. #29
    Basenotes Junkie Nosebud's Avatar
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    Default Re: Basenoter Worst Nightmare

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaelee View Post
    if the lavender is strong enough to have any sort of presence at all, it will give me a splitting headache and irritate my throat.
    It's not an actual allergy (as that would be a histamine reaction and I don't believe I have that) but it certainly IS irritating.
    That sounds exactly like an allergy. You could test it, if you really wanted to find out. Note how much it bothers your throat with something that does it to you, and do it another day but take a Benadryl a half hour before.

    I would not conduct this experiment if it was anything more than irritating, and even then only in a very small amount.

  30. #30

    Default Re: Basenoter Worst Nightmare

    Not easy situation at all. It's after all her problem but imo rawraw does the right thing as he don't want to make any more harm to her than necessary. In my country there is no such law that would protect the one who suffers allergic reactions, at least I'm not aware of. I believe that common sense and co-operation of the colleagues in most cases work.

    I think it would be a good idea and polite not to spray fragrance onto clothes in this case (as rawraw suggests.) How one's skin smells, is IMO everyones own business and can't be limited. It's Ok imo to choose some skin scent type of fragrance.
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    Default Re: Basenoter Worst Nightmare

    Buy her one of these and tell her to wear it whenever you're coming to work...


  32. #32
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    Default Re: Basenoter Worst Nightmare

    Allergic to the scents in shampoo, so what, you don't wash your hair prior to work either?!

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    Default Re: Basenoter Worst Nightmare

    Quote Originally Posted by rawraw View Post
    The secretary at my work is actually allergic to most scents (including deodorants, shampoos, etc) and can get hospitalized if its bad enough. She can smell a perfume or cologne a mile away. Luckily I'm not often in the office, but when I am I have to be very mindful. How would you guys try to avoid getting cologne on your clothes? Currently it seems the cologne gets mostly on my undershirt and not my dress shirt. Was wondering if anyone had any other tricks
    Get rid of secretary.
    " If you obey all the rules you miss all the fun ". Katharine Hepburn.

  34. #34

    Default Re: Basenoter Worst Nightmare

    Quote Originally Posted by rawraw View Post
    The secretary at my work is actually allergic to most scents (including deodorants, shampoos, etc) and can get hospitalized if its bad enough.
    Have you considered terminating her employment?

    edit: beaten!

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    Default Re: Basenoter Worst Nightmare

    Quote Originally Posted by Anť View Post
    Have you considered terminating her employment?
    Have you heard about the current state of the economy and employment in the U.S.A.?

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    Default Re: Basenoter Worst Nightmare

    Get surgery.

  37. #37
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    Default Re: Basenoter Worst Nightmare

    I know of a very good employment consultant who can help you get rid of her, then you can go and find one who appreciates your fragrances in a naughty way

    Size 8 long legs blonde hair receptionist required. lol

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    Default Re: Basenoter Worst Nightmare

    Agree with heperd.

  39. #39

    Default Re: Basenoter Worst Nightmare

    Get rid of her. Let her go pull the princess act somewhere else.

    If she really has such a terrible problem with any and all fragrances, she needs to make that her problem to deal with, not everyone else's.

  40. #40

    Default Re: Basenoter Worst Nightmare

    If she really is allergic, as she claims, then she can't go on public transport, can't go to the mall, movies, shopping, anywhere.....because there will be people wearing fragrances.
    IMO it is bullshit. She doesn't like fragrances and therefore doesn't want anyone else to wear them.

    If it were real, she would be the Bubble Girl. Seriously.

  41. #41

    Default Re: Basenoter Worst Nightmare

    Quote Originally Posted by John E Buoy View Post
    If she really is allergic, as she claims, then she can't go on public transport, can't go to the mall, movies, shopping, anywhere.....because there will be people wearing fragrances.
    IMO it is bullshit. She doesn't like fragrances and therefore doesn't want anyone else to wear them.

    If it were real, she would be the Bubble Girl. Seriously.
    This! As long as your not being obnoxious and putting 10 sprays, I don't see the problem with two sprays to the wrists. Fragrance is found everywhere. We just like to choose our own.

  42. #42
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    Default Re: Basenoter Worst Nightmare

    Just wear a little bit each day, increasing the amount and respray gradually, slowly, and linearly. Don't tell her.

    When you could eventually wear 5 sprays of kouros and she is still alright, you had cured her ailment.

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    Default Re: Basenoter Worst Nightmare

    It's all in her head. This is clearly a hypochondriac being an attention whore. Paying any attention to this kind of nonsense is only feeding the sickness.

  44. #44

    Default Re: Basenoter Worst Nightmare

    I ramble:

    A few years ago I was exposed to strong levels of cigarette smoke for several hours. Starting the next day, I had cold symptoms so bad that I was out of work for several days - and I pretty much never take off work for a cold; the only infection that's ever knocked me down to a similar degree turned out to be pneumonia.

    For several months afterward, I had serious problems tolerating almost any breathing irritant - exhaust fumes, smoke of all types, paint fumes, cleaners, and, yes, perfume. These irritants didn't cause me to go into anaphylactic shock, no. They weren't a threat to my survival, but even a moderate exposure would give me a miserable headache and very painful sinuses for hours afterward, bad enough to make it very difficult to do anything.

    With some care, I was able to reduce exposure from "moderate" to "minimal". I avoided the headaches. I wasn't miserable all the time. If I had had a coworker who insisted on his right to wear perfume at work, in my vicnity, so that I was miserable all the time, I would have been very seriously annoyed.

    I got over it. I can wear perfume now. Yay! But I never, ever wear it on a day when I expect to visit, or be in a meeting with, a specific allergic coworker.

    Work is work; it's not a place where we're entitled to express ourselves without limit. If someone is so scent-sensitive that they can't handle an occasional unexpected scented visitor to the office without risking death, then their employement opportunities might be limited as a result. But in my view, it's not the least bit unreasonable to insist that their coworkers refrain from spraying on perfume before they leave for work, or even that they avoid wearing clothing that hasn't been washed since it was in contact with perfume. That may be what it takes to reduce exposure to the point that their coworker can, well, _work_.

    I'm not aiming this at the original poster - it sounded to me like he was trying to be as helpful as he could, short of giving up perfume in his private life.
    Last edited by ChickenFreak; 9th November 2012 at 06:02 AM.

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    Default Re: Basenoter Worst Nightmare

    Quote Originally Posted by ChickenFreak View Post
    I ramble:

    A few years ago I was exposed to strong levels of cigarette smoke for several hours. Starting the next day, I had cold symptoms so bad that I was out of work for several days - and I pretty much never take off work for a cold; the only infection that's ever knocked me down to a similar degree turned out to be pneumonia.

    For several months afterward, I had serious problems tolerating almost any breathing irritant - exhaust fumes, smoke of all types, paint fumes, cleaners, and, yes, perfume. These irritants didn't cause me to go into anaphylactic shock, no. They weren't a threat to my survival, but even a moderate exposure would give me a miserable headache and very painful sinuses for hours afterward, bad enough to make it very difficult to do anything.

    With some care, I was able to reduce exposure from "moderate" to "minimal". I avoided the headaches. I wasn't miserable all the time. If I had had a coworker who insisted on his right to wear perfume at work, in my vicnity, so that I was miserable all the time, I would have been very seriously annoyed.

    I got over it. I can wear perfume now. Yay! But I never, ever wear it on a day when I expect to visit, or be in a meeting with, a specific allergic coworker.

    Work is work; it's not a place where we're entitled to express ourselves without limit. If someone is so scent-sensitive that they can't handle an occasional unexpected scented visitor to the office without risking death, then their employement opportunities might be limited as a result. But in my view, it's not the least bit unreasonable to insist that their coworkers refrain from spraying on perfume before they leave for work, or even that they avoid wearing clothing that hasn't been washed since it was in contact with perfume. That may be what it takes to reduce exposure to the point that their coworker can, well, _work_.

    I'm not aiming this at the original poster - it sounded to me like he was trying to be as helpful as he could, short of giving up perfume in his private life.
    All of this.

    I frankly find it pretty disturbing that people are assuming that the secretary is lying (she may be, she may not be. She may not be allergic to MOST perfumes/colognes but one or two could in fact hospitalize her and she may not know which specific ones that is. Or she may truly be very allergic to all of them. But really, who are we to assume that she's lying?)

    I also can't believe several people have suggested firing her. I really, truly hope that was a joke, because there are so many problems with that idea I don't know where to begin.

    I have a particular coworker who wears gobs of some sort of fragrance. She works in a closed room in close proximity to a coworker who is sensitive to her particular sort of fragrance (I don't know what it is.) She claims to have "toned it down" and she STILL has a 5-foot "stink radius". I'm sensitive to certain fragrances and it happens to be one that sets me off, too. She's been asked several times not to wear so much perfume and she gets quite belligerent about it. Apparently she's even been taken to HR over the issue on at least one occasion. It's really, incredibly rude. (I should add that this closed room she works in is a climate-controlled "clean room" (not sterile) type environment. Any scent that gets in there will be trapped and amplified throughout the day. Not a whole lot of ventilation in there.)

    And ChickenFreak (love that name by the way...I used to have pet chickens and they are SOO CUTE!!!!!) I have the same issue with cigarette smoke. I actually had to leave my mother's house earlier than I would have liked last time I visited because I had such awful post-nasal drip that I was about to vomit. Not to mention my nose and throat were getting more raw by the minute. Not. Fun.

  46. #46

    Default Re: Basenoter Worst Nightmare

    To those who think it's all BS, it's not. I suffered from MCS for years and it's fucking painful. Was it a threat to my survival? Not directly. It sure as hell caused a lot of problems in every area of my life though. This coming from someone who loves perfume.

    I was a fool and suffered through it and kept wearing perfume. Some days were worse than others. Some days I could enjoy it. There was always at least some pain accompanying any pleasure, though. But please, please, stop thinking it's fake or made up. In many cases it may be someone being sensational and a hypochondriac, but in other cases it's real.

    I could, for instance detect the presence of certain chemicals at an extremely small threshold. A tiny dab of something on a piece of paper, 30 feet away and in a different room, I could smell clearly. I had people test me to prove myself. Without fail I could tell when the scent was actually exposed, or when they were lying and said it was. Certain air fresheners became sickeningly overpowering. It was grueling.
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  47. #47
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    Default Re: Basenoter Worst Nightmare

    The headline of this post sucked us in. I love how the pharmacy employees, the toxicologist, and the healthcare workers on basenotes are all generally apathetic to said secretary's claim, but that there are still a few BNers out there willing to indulge her. I would just go light on the pump, do the skin scent where it takes a hug to appreciate your fine fragrance taste on those days, and not worry too much. If she has an allergy she will have pills and/or an epi pen depending on the severity. A Benadryl works great for sudden allergies, if not seasonal.
    There are inhalers for respiratory issues as well.
    I work in a pharmacy in a hospital btw.
    Last edited by Nosebud; 9th November 2012 at 09:29 AM.

  48. #48
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    Default Re: Basenoter Worst Nightmare

    Quote Originally Posted by SculptureOfSoul View Post
    To those who think it's all BS, it's not. I suffered from MCS for years and it's fucking painful. Was it a threat to my survival? Not directly. It sure as hell caused a lot of problems in every area of my life though. This coming from someone who loves perfume.

    I was a fool and suffered through it and kept wearing perfume. Some days were worse than others. Some days I could enjoy it. There was always at least some pain accompanying any pleasure, though. But please, please, stop thinking it's fake or made up. In many cases it may be someone being sensational and a hypochondriac, but in other cases it's real.

    I could, for instance detect the presence of certain chemicals at an extremely small threshold. A tiny dab of something on a piece of paper, 30 feet away and in a different room, I could smell clearly. I had people test me to prove myself. Without fail I could tell when the scent was actually exposed, or when they were lying and said it was. Certain air fresheners became sickeningly overpowering. It was grueling.

    I can tell immediately when someone walks in the room wearing Lady Stetson. And I'm not nearly as sensitive as you are.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nosebud View Post
    The headline of this post sucked us in. I love how the pharmacy employees, the toxicologist, and the healthcare workers on basenotes are all generally apathetic to said secretary's claim, but that there are still a few BNers out there willing to indulge her. I would just go light on the pump, do the skin scent where it takes a hug to appreciate your fine fragrance taste on those days, and not worry too much. If she has an allergy she will have pills and/or an epi pen depending on the severity. A Benadryl works great for sudden allergies, if not seasonal.
    There are inhalers for respiratory issues as well.
    I work in a pharmacy in a hospital btw.
    Those of us willing to "indulge her" are those of us who actually HAVE sensitivities.

  49. #49

    Default Re: Basenoter Worst Nightmare

    Hey guys!

    Thanks for some of great advice, I'll be putting that to use.

    I didn't realize this thread would get so intense lol. No, this lady is very sweet. I tell her she wouldn't survive as a cave man. I've never asked specifically what things she has been hospitalized from (she is also very allergic to types of foods). But to give you some example of her sensitivity, she sits removed from the rest of the office in her own room. If someone got cologne on their clothes over the weekend, she can still smell it across a 3,000 sqft office area and gives here extreme irritation (headache, etc). So smells may not be among the things that she has been hospitalized from, but she is extremely sensitive.

    As I noted, I'm rarely in the office. I was more looking for tips on how to apply cologne so it doesn't get on my clothes. I'd hate to wear a shirt, forgetting I hadn't dry cleaned it, and cause her problems. She really doesn't do it for attention or in a way anyone when working in the office thinks twice about trying to accommodate her. I'm just trying to minimize the chance of exposing her to chemicals!

    @SculptureOfSoul, you describe exactly what she has.

  50. #50
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    Default Re: Basenoter Worst Nightmare

    So as not to come off as completely insensitive, here is a post in response to a question on webmd. The OP uses steroid inhaler, epi pen, and respirator in public. Maybe your coworker could look into allergy shots.
    Http://forum.webmd.com/3/allergies-e
    7 months agoAqua14
    *responded:You may want to talk to your allergist about beginning allergy shots (assuming your asthma is allergic, since you take antihistamines). I, too, used to normally react to perfumes and strong fragrances (not as badly as you do, though), but since I've been on allergy shots for 5-plus years I can now even comfortably wear some perfumes. It's really amazing to me the difference that allergy shots have made for me.

    Here's what I understand as to how this works. By markedly reducing allergic sensitivity, your respiratory system isn't constantly inflamed by reacting to allergens, which makes you more sensitive to irritants like dust, smoke, perfumes. Thus, once allergy shots take effect, fragrances that used to irritate your respiratory system are no longer as irritating and your lungs can now "ignore" the fragrances.

    Another potential solution which I have not tried but is worth discussing with your allergist is Xolair. Some on the board have had good success with that.

    Hopefully Sonya and some others who suffer greatly from this will also offer other suggestions to you.

    Hope these thoughts help in the meantime. Take care & good luck. Judy

  51. #51
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    Default Re: Basenoter Worst Nightmare

    How does she get through life? Trips to the grocery, errands elsewhere? This woman seems most unfortunate. And then, how are the other employees supposed to accommodate her allergies/sensitivities to shampoo of all things?

  52. #52

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    Default Re: Basenoter Worst Nightmare

    I feel sorry for the secretary but is the workplace is designated as *scent free* ? Perhaps it should be for her sake, but if not then perhaps she should look for a job in a scent free office. I'm tired of everybody's allergies infringing on MY rights. That said, I'm really a softy - I'd probably avoid using fragrance and look for some holistic health recommendations for her.

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    Default Re: Basenoter Worst Nightmare

    Wow...so much advice here.

    I'd try Molecule 01. It's so subtle and often not smelled by people. May be worth a try. It isnt your typical alcohol and oil type frag.

  54. #54
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    Default Re: Basenoter Worst Nightmare

    I'm on my phone and can't reply to everyone so this is for he last 5 or so posters:

    The throat irritation may or may not be an actual allergy but it's not more than irritating. I don't think it's actually dangerous at this point.

    I actually do think that OP should not wear frags around his secretary- out of respect for her and her work space. Sure, you have the right to wear whatever you want on your own time, but doesn't she have the right to work in a healthy environment? Your *preference* for wearing fragrances does not superceed her right to a safe, healthy workplace.

    EDIT:

    I'm really sorry for the insane repetativeness of this post! Eeek! Blame my phone. Lol. Fixed it now.
    Last edited by Kaelee; 10th November 2012 at 04:54 AM.

  55. #55

    Default Re: Basenoter Worst Nightmare

    Seems to me that she has a problem, and that she expects the world to change because of it. I detest jackhammers and they drive me quite batty. It's not for as much that public works don't go on non-stop. I would say: "So you have that problem, do you? Well it sounds to me as if you might want to be a bit more pragmatic, perhaps wear one of those blue masques that are worn in hospital or by manicurists. They're very effective and you might get one at any local chemist's." --and be done with it. How is it that people now feel so self-entitled that they feel the entire world should shift according to their problems?
    "...a Chacun son Mauvais Gout."

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    Default Re: Basenoter Worst Nightmare

    An allergy is a physical response that your body makes to a specific chemical (called an allergen). If you are allergic to something then you will react whether or not you are aware of that particular chemical. So saying that someone is allergic to Lavender only if they can smell it, is a nonsense. You do not need to be aware of an allergen to react to it.

  57. #57

    Default Re: Basenoter Worst Nightmare

    Quote Originally Posted by David Ruskin View Post
    An allergy is a physical response that your body makes to a specific chemical (called an allergen). If you are allergic to something then you will react whether or not you are aware of that particular chemical. So saying that someone is allergic to Lavender only if they can smell it, is a nonsense. You do not need to be aware of an allergen to react to it.
    MCS doesn't react as a normal allergenic response. In my case, I believe it was caused by mycotoxicosis from living in a building that had bad air via black mold problems.

    As it waxed and waned (due to the waxing and waning of a fungal/yeast presence perhaps?) my general sensitivity and threshold for reactions would change. Very frustrating and confusing, but very real (just as phantom limb pain is real - that is, felt - even if there is no limb present).
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    Default Re: Basenoter Worst Nightmare

    I would just talk to her. Ask if she's so sensitive to scents that you'd have to wear clothes that haven't been in contact with them. And just don't wear fragrance when you're around her. That's not "indulging" - it's common sense and decency.
    As someone who has family members who are very allergic to certain things, it's not just a matter of "taking a pill". Besides, someone you work with shouldn't have to undergo treatment just to be able to go to work, when it's something as simple as fragrance that people really shouldn't have a problem not wearing when around her.

    I don't even see how this is a problem.

    Assuming that someone's exaggerating or that you know better when it comes to their allergy than they do, can put people in serious danger. How would you feel if that someone did indeed have a life-threatening reaction that put them in the hospital, simply because you didn't feel like not wearing perfume that day?

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    Default Re: Basenoter Worst Nightmare

    Quote Originally Posted by David Ruskin View Post
    An allergy is a physical response that your body makes to a specific chemical (called an allergen). If you are allergic to something then you will react whether or not you are aware of that particular chemical. So saying that someone is allergic to Lavender only if they can smell it, is a nonsense. You do not need to be aware of an allergen to react to it.
    Quote Originally Posted by David Ruskin View Post
    Forgive my ignorance but I have no idea what "MCS" is.

    Anything that "doesn't react as a normal allergenic response" isn't an allergenic response. Maybe I am being too picky but I just wanted to point out the illogicality of someone having "an allergic reaction" to Lavender only when they could smell it. That seemed to imply that if the Lavender oil was there but was undetectable (for whatever reason) then no allergic response occurred. Sorry, that is just not so.

    There has been a huge increase in allergies, and I sometimes think that people are jumping on the bandwagon. I am not doubting that those who are allergic can have a wretched time. I, myself, am allergic to cat hair, and I have friends who suffer every year from Hay Fever. I know that some allergies can be life threatening. However, some cases seem, to me, to be simply those who wish to draw attention to themselves, using some misunderstood science to back their claims.
    This is bullshit, and insulting bullshit at that.

    Remember a few pages back where I said I was pretty sure it WASN'T an allergy? Well I did. It may or may not be- whether or not it's a "true allergy" is irrelevant to me.

    Even if I didn't say that, you're wrong because it's perfectly possible, plausible and COMMON for people who are sensitive to/allergic to certain substances to only react to higher amounts of it. In fact there are at least two of us in this thread- ChickenFreak and I BOTH have reaction to a food (Kiwi and Mango respectively) but only if we ingest high enough amounts of it. Try telling me the visible rash that other people can easily see is "all in my head". Go on I dare you.

    The reason I don't react if I can't actually smell the lavender is because there's such a small amount that it's not enough to cause a reaction. This is a real phenomenon that actually happens to a lot of people. If you want to talk about "misunderstood science" maybe you should do some research first.

    The "I touched a desk that someone touched after eating peanut butter and now I'm dying" kind of allergy DOES happen- but it's very, very rare. Even for people who are deathly allergic to substances, it usually takes more than a trace amount to trigger a reaction (thankfully).

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by le mouchoir de monsieur View Post
    Seems to me that she has a problem, and that she expects the world to change because of it. I detest jackhammers and they drive me quite batty. It's not for as much that public works don't go on non-stop. I would say: "So you have that problem, do you? Well it sounds to me as if you might want to be a bit more pragmatic, perhaps wear one of those blue masques that are worn in hospital or by manicurists. They're very effective and you might get one at any local chemist's." --and be done with it. How is it that people now feel so self-entitled that they feel the entire world should shift according to their problems?
    Maybe you should ask yourself why you feel so entitled that someone should have to put up with an uncomfortable reaction- allergic or otherwise- in her own office and her own workspace- just because you can't bear to go without your perfume for a day.

    And by the way those masks are NOT very effective against fumes/chemical vapors. They're mainly intended to block particulates, anything smaller gets right through.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Izzie View Post
    I would just talk to her. Ask if she's so sensitive to scents that you'd have to wear clothes that haven't been in contact with them. And just don't wear fragrance when you're around her. That's not "indulging" - it's common sense and decency.
    As someone who has family members who are very allergic to certain things, it's not just a matter of "taking a pill". Besides, someone you work with shouldn't have to undergo treatment just to be able to go to work, when it's something as simple as fragrance that people really shouldn't have a problem not wearing when around her.

    I don't even see how this is a problem.

    Assuming that someone's exaggerating or that you know better when it comes to their allergy than they do, can put people in serious danger. How would you feel if that someone did indeed have a life-threatening reaction that put them in the hospital, simply because you didn't feel like not wearing perfume that day?
    This exactly. x2 and +100.

  60. #60
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    Default Re: Basenoter Worst Nightmare

    Forgive my ignorance but I have no idea what "MCS" is.

    Anything that "doesn't react as a normal allergenic response" isn't an allergenic response. Maybe I am being too picky but I just wanted to point out the illogicality of someone having "an allergic reaction" to Lavender only when they could smell it. That seemed to imply that if the Lavender oil was there but was undetectable (for whatever reason) then no allergic response occurred. Sorry, that is just not so.

    There has been a huge increase in allergies, and I sometimes think that people are jumping on the bandwagon. I am not doubting that those who are allergic can have a wretched time. I, myself, am allergic to cat hair, and I have friends who suffer every year from Hay Fever. I know that some allergies can be life threatening. However, some cases seem, to me, to be simply those who wish to draw attention to themselves, using some misunderstood science to back their claims.

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