Heavy perfume in medical facilities, or anywhere, really

Posted by chicagomichelle @chicagomichelle, Jan 19, 2017

How do we get through to people that this could actually cause great respiratory distress? Even death.

I told a hotel guest the other day, in the kindest way possible, that I was allergic to her and she needed to understand what her chemical scent could do to those with respitory issues. She was headed to Mayo. I imagined the poor patients with even more severe conditions. It was the first time I ever said that to anyone’s face, but felt it needed to be said.

I’ve experienced this a great deal this week, even with clinic staff. To date, I’ve had 0 complaints about MC, but I hope they are listening now and will work to make their buildings perfume free.

@jamienolson

@chicagomichelle, @peggyj4411 and @ladycat, Hello and Thank you for starting this important discussion on a topic that we could all benefit from addressing and discussing.

After I was personally addressed at work by another coworker who was offended (and also has respiratory issues) by a scent that I love to wear. I read our work policy and put some thought into how to address this issue. You see, I use an essential oil that helps me focus (something that I struggle with daily) and believe has benefit to me throughout my work day. After talking with supervision I came to the realization of what kind of burden this was posing on others people as well. I had no idea how it was effecting others in our work group. I was able to do some research and found alternative ways to address my focus issues without any smells…which makes for a happy work group! 🙂

Looking into our dress and decorum work policy, I found it reads as is- “It is unacceptable for employees to smell of cigarette smoke or other strong perfumes or odors while at work. Employees who arrive in the work area with the smell of cigarette smoke or other strong smells on their clothing will be required to change before entering the work area”. This is something that is given to all employees when they start here.

In our Allergy and Pulmonary areas there is verbiage on the patients itinerary that kindly asks for patients and attending family members to please avoid perfume and smells in these areas, which is great.

I also looked into our patient education center thinking this would be a good place to have educational material on those that suffer from respiratory issues and what happens when those patients come into contact with strong perfume smells. I found nothing. I then looked for a courtesy sign or something that states information for patient awareness to no avail. The positive spin…. these are all areas with room for improvement! Thank you for helping Mayo Clinic become an even better place for others.

Do any of you have ideas or thoughts for others reading this post on how to politely approach someone that may have an offensive or threatening perfume on? @chicagomichelle, what was the response you received from the hotel guest?

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Hi @peggyj4411
I have worked as a Pharmacy Tech for 7 yrs. I can tell you quite honestly that anyone at anytime can become allergic or sensitive to a drug or drugs. I have personally witnessed this & heard others express their uneducated doubt. Fortunately in today’s smart phones the medical app is a Godsend ! Being aware of your allergies and or/ sensitivities is vital to your health and well being. I applaud your self care would encourage everyone to take a lesson from you and your difficult experience! Take care please !

Liked by peggyj4411

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@peggyj4411

@rosemarya Hello there Rosemary, it’s Peggy, feeling very ashamed and embarrassed for not keeping up with all those wonderful posts from you and all the others. I have been quite sick these past couple of weeks with complications from heart failure, and was too weak to even plus in my computer. But I shall return regularly ASAP! I also hope I can join the Chronic Pain Forum, as that is one of my lifetime problems. And of course, the heart diseases conversations is right up my alley! Just can’t keep up with everything. Rosemary, I don’t know how you do it, but God must have had a very special plan for you from the beginning! For many years I was heavily involved in a 12 Step Program called Emotions Anonymous, and believe me, it saved my life. Nobody seems to have heard of “EA”, as our members called it. My 25 or so years in this program were the best years of my life. Anyway, I will return to the Connect conversations ASAP. I miss you, Rosemary, and all the wonderful folks who reached out to help me! Virtual hugs all around, Peggy

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Thank you so much for your kind words and encouragement, Rosemary. I appreciate all the kindness you have shown to me; it has helped me so much! I’m still plugging along with my assortment of ailments and am doing quite a better these past couple of days, and can’t wait to join in on other topics pertaining to my medical problems. Before Mayo Connect, I never knew what it was like having actual medical support from fellow sufferers! I truly enjoy reading posts from other “Connectors”, and getting information from them on topics I never thought possible. I had a doctor’s appt. today, and another one looms tomorrow, so I’ll be wiped out for a couple of days. If I can’t get back to you, Rosemary, for a few days, have a wonderful week! And sunshine and spring flowers! Hugs across the miles, Peggy

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@peggyj4411

@rosemarya Hello there Rosemary, it’s Peggy, feeling very ashamed and embarrassed for not keeping up with all those wonderful posts from you and all the others. I have been quite sick these past couple of weeks with complications from heart failure, and was too weak to even plus in my computer. But I shall return regularly ASAP! I also hope I can join the Chronic Pain Forum, as that is one of my lifetime problems. And of course, the heart diseases conversations is right up my alley! Just can’t keep up with everything. Rosemary, I don’t know how you do it, but God must have had a very special plan for you from the beginning! For many years I was heavily involved in a 12 Step Program called Emotions Anonymous, and believe me, it saved my life. Nobody seems to have heard of “EA”, as our members called it. My 25 or so years in this program were the best years of my life. Anyway, I will return to the Connect conversations ASAP. I miss you, Rosemary, and all the wonderful folks who reached out to help me! Virtual hugs all around, Peggy

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@peggyj4411 Hi Peggy. I want you to know that I took a walk today. I enjoyed the sunshine and the spring flowers. Just like you
suggested. I thought of you. I hope that you will be feeling better and able to re-join us soon.
Rosemary

Liked by ladycat, peggyj4411

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Oh Rosemary, I so much enjoyed your kind reply! I wish I could have taken a walk with you, enjoying the new spring flowers coming out everywhere and lots of nice sunshine these past few days. Like you, I have to be so careful of germs, bad weather, people coughing their heads off, etc. I am still hanging in there and want to re–join the conversations ASAP! Life has gotten very lonely without the groups! A bad storm is predicted for our area starting Monday night, and I hope if it hits your area, you stay snuggy warm and cozy till the damn stuff melts! My energy level never did tolerate snow! Have a nice cup of hot chocolate with marshmallows on me! Sending my fondest wishes for good health, Peggy

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Hi Peggy: I’m thinking of you as I run away from loud parfume scents that make me sneeze, my eyes water, and run for fresh air before my lung
collapses! Should we start a “No loud offensive perfume petition in elevators ?”
linda

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YES, post signs everywhere to stop polluting my air w perfume.

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Oh my goodness, I forgot all about mentioning elevators and stifling scents; so much pollution we chemically sensitive victims are sent running for oxygen! So many times I have been stuck in an elevator, going to a very high floor, the damn elevator stopping at every floor and picking up even more truly awful polluted people, men included. It would be a perfect world to ban strong perfumes in elevators, but I think it would be very difficult. People coming into high rise buildings and into elevators for the very first time just wouldn’t know their strong scents can nearly suffocate a lot of us. Yes, starting a petition to ban perfumes in elevators sounds wonderful. How would we go about doing it?

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@llwortman

Hi Peggy: I’m thinking of you as I run away from loud parfume scents that make me sneeze, my eyes water, and run for fresh air before my lung
collapses! Should we start a “No loud offensive perfume petition in elevators ?”
linda

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@Absolutely let’s start a no loud offensive perfume campaign, Linda! But it won’t be easy. These noxious scents all blend together, and linger forever. We could ask permission to put up a polite sign asking people to please not use heavy scents since many of us have severe breathing. Problems. Or something like that. Or take the stairs!

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@jamienolson

@chicagomichelle, @peggyj4411 and @ladycat, Hello and Thank you for starting this important discussion on a topic that we could all benefit from addressing and discussing.

After I was personally addressed at work by another coworker who was offended (and also has respiratory issues) by a scent that I love to wear. I read our work policy and put some thought into how to address this issue. You see, I use an essential oil that helps me focus (something that I struggle with daily) and believe has benefit to me throughout my work day. After talking with supervision I came to the realization of what kind of burden this was posing on others people as well. I had no idea how it was effecting others in our work group. I was able to do some research and found alternative ways to address my focus issues without any smells…which makes for a happy work group! 🙂

Looking into our dress and decorum work policy, I found it reads as is- “It is unacceptable for employees to smell of cigarette smoke or other strong perfumes or odors while at work. Employees who arrive in the work area with the smell of cigarette smoke or other strong smells on their clothing will be required to change before entering the work area”. This is something that is given to all employees when they start here.

In our Allergy and Pulmonary areas there is verbiage on the patients itinerary that kindly asks for patients and attending family members to please avoid perfume and smells in these areas, which is great.

I also looked into our patient education center thinking this would be a good place to have educational material on those that suffer from respiratory issues and what happens when those patients come into contact with strong perfume smells. I found nothing. I then looked for a courtesy sign or something that states information for patient awareness to no avail. The positive spin…. these are all areas with room for improvement! Thank you for helping Mayo Clinic become an even better place for others.

Do any of you have ideas or thoughts for others reading this post on how to politely approach someone that may have an offensive or threatening perfume on? @chicagomichelle, what was the response you received from the hotel guest?

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Thank you Peggy for your comforting words. Yes, I do believe it is some of my meds, but which one who knows? I know it is not right to just assume it is “hay fever as DR has suggested. This did not start till I went on various meds. Will see “ear nose and throat Dr just for argument sake. Believe in long run will just eliminate one drug at a time and see what gives. Best possible program from my point. Dennis

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I appreciate your communication regarding allergies to meds and the dreaded parfumes, scents and hotel cleaning powders and harmful products.
I have been challenged with allergic reactions to Rx which lead me to Mayo Clinic Genetic testing. The Dr who researched and reviewed my test was of great help. I learned why I had these reactions and my doctors were eager to work with me! So, again proper diagnosis is key. I am on fewer RX and feeling better.
However, I still cover my face and run when confronted with the loud scents. Environmental issues are a huge challenge to our health. It is important we all speak out or write letters supporting research that will educate people about the best practices for life and breath!
I have found getting up and moving, walking, bicycling, jogging are all extremely helpful for my health and quality of life as I live with one lung.
I am truly grateful to be a 9 year 6 month (who’s counting?) lung cancer survivor!…and I neVer smoked.
I appreciate all insights and comments that you all have shared. Thank you for being a part of connect!
linda w – mentor

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Good for you Linda. My DRS are al VA and they don’t have time to really work with you. My current is sending to a ear nose throat spec. Do NOT believe, but will go along. Might be surprised. I believe it is Meds.

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@mrlee43

Good for you Linda. My DRS are al VA and they don’t have time to really work with you. My current is sending to a ear nose throat spec. Do NOT believe, but will go along. Might be surprised. I believe it is Meds.

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I’m thinking of you!
keep up your great attitude and you will win the doctors over;-)
big hug
linda w

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@peggyj4411 Hi Peggy! I hear ya! I went to a lung transplantee meeting two months at the Mayo clinic in Jacksonville that was held in a smallish meeting room. That particular day, they combined heart transplant people in that meeting as well. (not normally) Anyway, a women came with her husband who had had a heart transplant, reeked badly of extremely strong perfume. I was mortified that no one asked her to leave. I, and the woman next to me started to cough and get a bad headache. I finally approached the woman and kindly asked her to leave the room explaining to her that the people in there with lung issues cannot tolerate it. I was not happy to be the one to approach this woman; the moderator there should have been on top of it. I mean, nobody in there could have missed the strong perfume. I left there with a borderline migraine because of it, and it spoiled our plans that we had for the rest of the day. I feel like a poster saying NO PERFUMES ALLOWED IN THIS ROOM needs to be posted on the conference room door, if not everywhere in the hospital.

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@windwalker

@peggyj4411 Hi Peggy! I hear ya! I went to a lung transplantee meeting two months at the Mayo clinic in Jacksonville that was held in a smallish meeting room. That particular day, they combined heart transplant people in that meeting as well. (not normally) Anyway, a women came with her husband who had had a heart transplant, reeked badly of extremely strong perfume. I was mortified that no one asked her to leave. I, and the woman next to me started to cough and get a bad headache. I finally approached the woman and kindly asked her to leave the room explaining to her that the people in there with lung issues cannot tolerate it. I was not happy to be the one to approach this woman; the moderator there should have been on top of it. I mean, nobody in there could have missed the strong perfume. I left there with a borderline migraine because of it, and it spoiled our plans that we had for the rest of the day. I feel like a poster saying NO PERFUMES ALLOWED IN THIS ROOM needs to be posted on the conference room door, if not everywhere in the hospital.

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@windwalker, That had to have been a disappointing meeting! I hope that this was not a common occurrence at a transplant meeting. As a transplant recipient, I would like to believe that this was somehow an oversight for that particular meeting.
I want to share your experience with @lisalucier so that she can pass it on and help to get a solution.
Rosemary

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@windwalker and @rosemarya

I understand what you are speaking about. In addition to “No Smoking” signs there really should be “No Fragrance” signs in hospitals. My daughter was being treated for asthma issues in a short-stay unit at a local hospital and the person in the next bed was being discharged and she was really lathering on the scented lotion – we had to leave the room and let it air-out.

Teresa

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