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.

I have moderate COPD and I am to avoid filling my car with gas, and avoid air pollutants of all kinds. I have been at Mayo, Rochester many times and really haven’t noticed too many “stinky” staff/patients, to be fair that would include men with too much after shave/cologne also. I truly think it is a matter of awareness and knowledge….. would someone purposely “bathe” in a airborne pollutant knowing it could harm someone else? I don’t know if MC has a policy for staff, but if they don’t they should.

REPLY

Indeed there is a policy for Mayo Clinic staff regarding scents. Our dress and decorum work policy, given to all employees when they start at Mayo Clinic, states:
“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.”

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@peggyj4411

these strong odors. Is there any polite way to suggest to nurses, aides, doctors, housekeeping people that wearing such heavy scents is actually making me sicker?

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Hi,I am not a Nurse,I am a School Bus Driver,I am having a hard time with a Nurse,there is an student who needs a Nurse at School,so I drive the Student and the Nurse to school,is an 1 hour ride,she wear a very strong perfume ,that make me sick,I open the windows to help me to breath,she keeping asking me to close it.I don't know how to handle this,I think Nurses should'n wear perfume,she looks very rude to me,i don't even know how to handle this,I don't want to hurt her feelings.

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@livago2030

Hi,I am not a Nurse,I am a School Bus Driver,I am having a hard time with a Nurse,there is an student who needs a Nurse at School,so I drive the Student and the Nurse to school,is an 1 hour ride,she wear a very strong perfume ,that make me sick,I open the windows to help me to breath,she keeping asking me to close it.I don't know how to handle this,I think Nurses should'n wear perfume,she looks very rude to me,i don't even know how to handle this,I don't want to hurt her feelings.

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Hi. I respect you for speaking up. You can share my story with her If you like(?)
I have said this, and people have asked if their perfume bothered me. I say, yes!

Maybe share this:
I just heard a story about a lady who was diagnosed with lung cancer and shockingly she never smoked!
After loosing one lung she did a lot of research as to what may have caused this. Did you know people like me who are sensitive to deodorizer, air fresheners, perfumes and even some laundry soaps may be at risk for lung diseases?
And do you know lung cancer is not only a silent killer but it is the #1 cancer killer and can affect women men and even children?

There will be One Billion deaths in this century due to lung cancer. Hope this helps.

Best
Linda

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@peggyj4411

these strong odors. Is there any polite way to suggest to nurses, aides, doctors, housekeeping people that wearing such heavy scents is actually making me sicker?

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@peggyj4411 good morning. Welcome to Connect. This must seem intolerable! Have you spoken to anyone in Administration or Management?
I'm not in favor of being sweet in this situation. I am a lung cancer survivor and in close quarters it's horrible.
You are paying to stay there, let them know how these oders effect you. They are there to protect you not make things worse.
Can you speak up to them or have a family member do it?

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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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Some people just don't care. There are signs here at Mayo Phoenix about perfumes and sensitivity and to please refrain from wearing any while entering this bldg etc.
Maybe they've cut down on the amount of offensive perfume wearers, but even a sign at the entrance hasn't completely done away with them.
While a very light, properly worn scent doesn't bother me much, over use feels as if my last lung is getting squeezed of its last breath.

After my pneumonectomy, and subsequent chemotherapy, I became even more sensitive to perfumes and other strong smells. Believe it or not, the radiology technician at the hospital, who came in every single day I was hospitalized, practically bathed in Patchouli oil. It doesn't get any stronger or more offensive than that. At least in my opinion. It's as if someone strangles their from you. Even if it's an small amount they wear. I finally had to tell her that she needed to warn me before entering my room so I could cover my face. She was kind and apologized but continued to wear it.
Patchouli must have come back into style as I'm smelling it more and more in the last year. Back in the 60s, it was just worn by us dirty hippies to mask the smell of pot 😂
(just kidding of course 😉)

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@mdcjb

Some people just don't care. There are signs here at Mayo Phoenix about perfumes and sensitivity and to please refrain from wearing any while entering this bldg etc.
Maybe they've cut down on the amount of offensive perfume wearers, but even a sign at the entrance hasn't completely done away with them.
While a very light, properly worn scent doesn't bother me much, over use feels as if my last lung is getting squeezed of its last breath.

After my pneumonectomy, and subsequent chemotherapy, I became even more sensitive to perfumes and other strong smells. Believe it or not, the radiology technician at the hospital, who came in every single day I was hospitalized, practically bathed in Patchouli oil. It doesn't get any stronger or more offensive than that. At least in my opinion. It's as if someone strangles their from you. Even if it's an small amount they wear. I finally had to tell her that she needed to warn me before entering my room so I could cover my face. She was kind and apologized but continued to wear it.
Patchouli must have come back into style as I'm smelling it more and more in the last year. Back in the 60s, it was just worn by us dirty hippies to mask the smell of pot 😂
(just kidding of course 😉)

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@mdcjb, I am not a lung patient, however I just don't like the smell of strong scents. I am known to avoid or rush past a candle store ot cosmetic counter in a store or shopping mall, or the detergent aisle at the grocery store. I have also become more aware of how much my own perfume might be offensive to others, so I go with a very light application when I use it.

When I get my appointment schedule prior to my Mayo visits, there is a notification posted with each procedure/visit to avoid using scented lotions, perfumes, after shave, etc. My own husband uses a product with a mild scent, so I suggested for him to avoid using it, just in case he sat next to someone who might be sensitive, and he said he never even thought about that because he does not have much of a sense of smell and never even notices scents. So, I wonder how many other people just are not aware. – I hope that we will see more signs like I once saw in an interstate rest stop that explained why they did not use scented soaps in their dispensers or fragrant air fresheners in their facilities!

I do hope that the radiology technician was not at Mayo. Mayo does have a policy for its staff as posted in a previous post by Colleenyoung on December 29, 2017. – Indeed there is a policy for Mayo Clinic staff regarding scents. Our dress and decorum work policy, given to all employees when they start at Mayo Clinic, states:
“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.”

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