Monday, April 1, 2013

"A" is for Allergies

Today is the first day of the A to Z Blogging Challenge. Over the course of the entire month of April, I will write a post showcasing a letter a letter of the alphabet. One letter every day, except for Sundays. That will be a total of 26 posts. It should prove to be a challenging month. Wish me luck. I have most of my posts for the month planned out already and there are several that I am excited about.

Today's letter is A

A
is for ALLERGIES

I am a fairly healthy person. My blood pressure is right where it is supposed to be. I almost never get sick and I avoid reality television. However, I do have a few allergies. Like a lot of people, I am allergic to cats.

This allergy is fairly easy to manage. I obviously do not have cats as pets. When I see one of the cats in my neighborhood, I do not kick pet it. If I do make contact with it for any reason, I make sure to wash my hands before I touch anything, especially my face. Otherwise, my eyes get all scratchy and puffy and my nose gets stopped up. Not being able to breath well gives me a headache and makes me cranky and rubbing my itchy eyes just makes it worse.

I can avoid that situation since I am aware of it, but occasionally I get caught at someone's house who keeps a cat inside. Then, I have a problem. I don't have to actually eat touch the cat to have these issues. Cats have a tendency to leave their hair behind every place they go. Kind of like how Liam Neeson leaves a trail of bodies when someone messes with his family, only the cat hair, for some reason, is considered acceptable.

They always sneak up on me!
I try to think of this scenario ahead of time and find out if someone has a cat, so I can come up with an excuse to not go to their event. I have learned that most cat owners take offense if someone does not want to stay in their house because of their pet. They must think I am saying their house is dirty. The ones that don't take offense offer to clean extra well before I arrive and I can never get them to understand it won't be good enough. That cat dander is everywhere. No party or gathering is going to be so much fun that it will be worth how sick and miserable I will be if I step into their home. Unless they are having midget tossing in the living room. I might risk it to see that, but I would double up on Claritin first.

Once again, I can normally avoid this situation from happening if I plan ahead, but my other allergy is pretty tough to avoid. I am allergic to artificial scents. This includes a whole host of things that make me sick super fast

  • Scented candles
  • Air fresheners
  • Hair spray
  • Those stupid pine trees people hang on their rear view mirrors
  • ALL colognes and perfumes
  • Fabric softeners
  • Scented body wash
  • Carpet shampoo
  • Scented fragrance advertising inserts in magazines
  • Many deodorants
  • Laundry detergent
  • Lotions
  • Just about anything aerosol (there's something in that too)
  • Tons of new things that I discover all the time.
This stuff is everywhere. I almost always hold my breath when I walk into a bathroom because of the number of places that use scented toilet paper rolls or automated aerosol air fresheners. People who have just applied perfume or wear too much I have to step away from. I had to change bank branches a few years ago, because my branch started burning scented candles on the counters.

I get hit with this so often, I recognize the symptoms almost immediately. Most of the time, it is before I have even noticed the smell of whatever is causing it. I get a very specific type of headache that grows in intensity the longer I am exposed. If I get away as soon as I sense it, I will be alright in about 15 minutes, but if I am in a situation where I can't then it is going to grow. Next my face begins to feel flushed. If it gets to that point, I am going to be sick for the next few hours. There is nothing I can do to stop it. Finally, my nose gets stuffed up and I even have trouble breathing. By this time, the headache is horrible.

Just like with the cats, if I am attentive, I can avoid this most of the time. I keep all that stuff out of my house and I try to make my friends aware of this condition. However, they don't really know how bad it is. Stepping to the other side of the room to spray your poison does not protect me. It just delays how quickly it will take to get to me. The worst is when I am caught in a closed car with someone who felt the need to put on a fresh coat. I don't know how many times I have been headed to a formal event with a group and someone sprays something and then they all yell at me when I roll the window down and hang my head out. I am not suggesting that they stink, I just have to keep myself from getting overly sick.

People who like to bathe in cologne will never get the opportunity to talk to me face to face. Some people wear it so thick, I can't even stay in the same room. When walking in a mall, my kids would warn me if they saw a Bath & Body Works up ahead, so we could walk on the other side while I held my breath. I have walked into job interviews and got smacked in the face with the summertime scent of a Glade plug-in. Within my minutes, I am sniffling and needing to blow my nose as the wanging headache keeps me from being able to concentrate on the questions being asked. That doesn't normally result in me making a good impression.

In the last decade, this has come to be recognized in the medical field and some places even prohibit artificial fragrances from being used on their premises. The University of Portland was one of the first places in the nation to regulate the use of fragrances in the workplace. I had a job once where they suddenly started burning scented candles and would not stop even after I told them about my allergy. It sucked.

I do not find these odors that make me sick offensive. I don't think people's perfumes stink. Although people who wear AXE body spray should know better. Does anybody actually like that stuff?  I am not suggesting that people have bad taste. These are all things I have been accused of. I simply have a nasty reaction. I might even like the smell of someone's perfume, but I will be spending the rest of the day drugged up in bed if I am exposed for too long. In fact, I can get sick even if I didn't notice the 'smell.' And blowing out your scented candles right before I get there does me no favors. You have already put it in the air.

I can avoid these scenarios most of the time, but these are the things that happen when I do get caught. So, if you ever plan to have me over, please keep these things in mind and let me know before I get there…and then don't be offended when I decide not to come.

84 comments:

  1. I can certainly relate...I used to get bad migraines, when I was younger, and many times certain scents (cigarette smoke, heavy perfumes) seemed to be the trigger.

    Best of luck with your allergies and have fun A to Z'ing :)

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    1. Thank you. It sounds like you can relate. When it's something in the air that causes issues, it gets rather difficult.

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  2. You sound like Spawn. Last week, his doctor joked that he needed to live in a plastic bubble, because he is allergic to so many things. As a mum of an allergic sufferer, it's painful to watch him suffer, so I can't even imagine how it must make you feel.

    Best of luck on the rest of the A-Z Challenge Brett, though I'm sure you won't need it. :)

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Thank you very much, but you have more faith in me than I do. I am trying to stay ahead of the game. I think I am covered for the next week on posts. I just need to keep up the pace so they don't catch up to me.

      My biggest issue with this specific allergy is other people. I will be someplace free of toxins and perfectly content and someone will spray something. I run for the door and don't come back. I have upset many people because of this.

      Delete
  3. I'm not allergic to scented products but I do find many of them offensive. Especially Axe body spray and anything else I can "taste" because the owner has bathed in it.

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    1. Axe is the one that actually offends me. I just don't get it with that stuff. Plus, why would someone want to advertise that they are so attention starved that they need everyone to smell their presence five minutes before they even walk into a room.

      Delete
  4. I'm gonna have to miss A to Z. Still no internet. Maybe next year. ...and how did it get to be April?

    You make me feel guilty. Next time I'm over, I will step outside to spray my splash instead of using Dr Finklerstein's room.

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    1. Luckily, your stuff is very, very mild and you do your best to keep it away from me.

      Delete
  5. Yeah, I am a cat owner and I think I'm a bit allergic to them too ;) I never used to be, but it's picked up a bit. Mostly when they shove themselves right in my face!!!! :P My allergies in general seem to be getting worse as I get older, which apparently is how they work anyway - they seem to come and go and change as you age.

    I wouldn't be offended if you said you couldn't stay 'cause of the cats. I only get offended if people hate my kitties for no good reason :D It's just like i would never want to stay in someone's house who is an indoor (or even outdoor, really! Smoke travels) smoker. And I have been in a few houses where dogs run rampant and the cleaning really isn't up to par, so the houses absolutely stink of dog. Can't hack that either.

    Thanks for visiting my blog :)

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    1. I've seen my kids grow out of their childhood allergies and then later, I had them. It's like they gave them to me.

      I can handle smokers, unless they are heavy smokers. Some people just reek of it and I can't even be in the same room with them.

      Delete
  6. I always have trouble breathing when I go into the cleaning product aisle at the supermarket. Makes you wonder what they put in that stuff, doesn't it.

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    1. I used to have problems in the pool cleaning areas, but the chemicals have changed over the years.

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  7. My mom died of a lung disease, so she could not be around any artificial scents, either, because it would affect her already poor breathing. Since she died, I have not started wearing perfume, because it's just something I'm too aware of now, how it can affect people. My work is 'frangrance free', but they use automatic air freshner in the bathrooms, so I'm not sure they get the entire concept :)

    If I were to have you to my house, it would be for a backyard barbecue...cause as you know I have three cats, and there's no way I would be able to get rid of the dander! And I am never offended if people can't come over because of allergies...I don't get why anyone would be. That's just dumb.

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    1. It's cool that you would understand. It's just something I can't help.

      I have never understood why people get upset over something so out of someone's control. I would be pleased to not have the issue.

      Delete
  8. I have seasonal allergies to flowers blooming, grasses and trees stuff like that and bees. This year I have been taking my allergy meds since early Feb. It's going to be a long allergy season. Hoping you feel better!

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    1. I experience a little bit of hay fever, but it's really mild. I generally do pretty good. I just get caught off guard every now and then.

      Hang in there for summer.

      Delete
  9. I actually have a friend who's deathly allergic to carpet cleaner. Something about carpet cleaner will just close up her lungs and she has to go to the ER.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I have a friend who changed brands of carpet cleaner so I would keep coming to his house. If he had recently used it, I got sick almost as soon as I walked in, but he found an unscented brand that gives me no trouble.

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  10. I'm with you on the cats. I am very allergic to them. My hands start to swell, my eyes will itch, and my voice will get hoarse before the sneezing fit starts.

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    1. We had cats when I was a kid, so I grew into this allergy. Now I want nothing to do with them.

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  11. My sister is very allergic to cats, and when we went to stay at our aunt's house for a week (with her cats), we spent every waking minute outside wandering around. We didn't want a drive (because cats go in cars) and we didn't want a packed lunch (because cats somehow get in paper bags), and we insisted she not come with us (because cats roll on clothes... or she rolls on cats...). We pretty much used and abused her hospitality because of CATS.

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    1. It gets pretty rough. If I walk into a house with cats, if I even sit on their furniture, I am doomed. It is now on my clothes and I can't get away from it.

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  12. So sorry for you :( Allergies must be a terrible thing. My boyfriend has some, which for a long time he thought included dogs and cats, but--seeing as we now have nine dogs and he's fine--it seems to be related more to what he eats. And, fortunately, it just manifests on his skin, not in eyes or nose. Still, it makes him very uncomfortable, and I can only imagine how much worse it must be for you. Thanks for the earlier visit to my blog, Quiet Laughter. Sadly, there's little need for ESL teachers here in Curaçao. Everyone speaks 4 (yeah, FOUR) languages, including English. But I hope you find an awesome teaching post!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. That's a bummer, but I guess it's another place I can mark off my list. I still have a year to figure out where I am going.

      Delete
  13. There sure is a lot of stuff that can tickle the nose hairs out there. Hope you stay healthy in spite of it.

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    1. I stay pretty healthy. I just get caught off guard every now and then.

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  14. It is difficult to deal with allergies, mostly those triggered by things out of your control. I'm allergic to a few things but they are all related with food.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Luckily, I have no food allergies. I can and do eat anything I want. Of course, I get fat, but I am NOT allergic.

      Delete
  15. I also have allergies, but mine are to anything and everything that grows. So those are kind of hard to avoid, unless I become a hermit. I get allergy shots that are supposed to help me become immune to the things I'm allergic to, and so far so good. Visiting via A-Z!

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    1. My daughter was allergic to most plants and trees until she was about 10. She grew out of it and has no trouble now.

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  16. Oh my goodness I can't imagine what it's like to be allergic to so many things.
    Enjoy the AtoZ month.
    Hope you'll enjoy the scent-free pleasure of reading blogs :)
    A

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    1. Not too many things. Cats, artificial scents and chlorine. I didn't mention that one. I don't swim in pools.

      I am loving the A to Z and all the new blogs I read.

      Delete
  17. I suffer from allergis but not too bad overall. I LOVE your kitty video...reminds me of my cat, Tommy. Great post! Good luck with the challenge! I participated last year and had a blast!

    Donna L Martin
    www.donasdays.blogspot.com

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    1. Thank you. So far, I am really enjoying this.

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  18. I can so relate to cats. I love them, but I'm highly allergic. Highly! I don't touch them either because if I do then touch my eye, well it's red and irritated for hours.

    Have a terrific day. :)

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    1. It's a burn that just won't go away. It's not worth it.

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  19. WOW!!! Your list made me so very thankful that I don't have allergies! WOW! This was an awesome post thank you.
    Like you this is my first challenge.
    Connie
    I'm visiting from the A to Z Blog Challenge
    Peanut Butter and Whine

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    1. I have a cousin with a bunch. I actually feel grateful to have the few I do. I can keep it under control most of the time, but one catches me every now and then.

      Delete
  20. Hi, thanks for stopping by Writing Like Crazy. I finally have my post up. I'm so glad you decided to participate this year. It's a blast. I'm sorry that you have so many allergies. Allergies suck?

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    1. They do suck. Headed back to you now.

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  21. Holy Moly....someone else has the fragrance issue....it's not just me. Have you noticed how people just drown themselves in it these days. They have fragrance in their homes, in their cars, on their bodies, embedded in their clothing from the dang dryer sheets. You can't get away from it. Some of it is so strong you can taste it. And..have you noticed that you get a different reaction to different scents..like baby powder that leaves you coughing or that hyacinth like scent that makes your stomach roll.

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    1. YES YES YES!!! It is so rare that I meet someone who REALLY understands. I have at least a small headache most of the time because I just can't get away from it. I only met a doctor who believed me a few years ago. It sucks.

      Luckily, it is coming more into awareness so maybe something will start to be done about it in public places.

      Delete
  22. I am so lucky not to be allergic to anything. I have cats for the sole purpose of keeping people from staying over at my house. Works like a charm!

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    1. That is a good plan. I do that by never unlocking my doors.

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  23. I completely sympathize, as I have minor versions of both. Artificial scents make my nose itch and head hurt. I had a boss who would come in lacquered in some kind of cheap smelling body spray, which is a huge no-no in the restaurant business. Every employee handbook in existence tells you to not wear scents to work!
    I had cats as kids, but when I didn't have them for a few years I developed a mild allergy. No eye symptoms, but my skin gets red and itchy from their saliva. Sucks because my cats now are little drool machines when they are happy, which is often!

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    1. My daughter is allergic to canine ephethelia which is a doctor's way of saying 'dog slobber.'

      When I was a kid, the only time I had a reaction to cats was when I got scratched. The scratches would swell up. I guess the allergy has always been there, but got worse over the years.

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  24. I don't have an allergy to perfume, I just can't stand it. But my wife does have the allergy and like you, we have to be careful where we go and who we are around. We've had to switch seats in restaurant because someone would sit down close by with perfume.

    She get's the migraines with it as well.

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    1. It doesn't bother me at all to not have to worry about colognes for myself. It's just one less expense and worry.

      Those headaches are the worst and they just don't go away.

      Delete
  25. so what your saying is that the cat's got your lungs. Okay sorry for that. Good luck with A-Z. I look forward to all 26.

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    1. I guess you could say that.

      I expect an exciting month.

      Delete
  26. I, too, have horrible reactions to chemically created scents. I hate walking past Bath and Body Works at the mall, because I know it'll result in me having a stuffy nose. I feel sorry for you with the cat allergy though. I love cats and can't imagine not having one. You have my sympathies on that one.

    Hi from Nagzilla bloghopping A to Z

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    1. Bath and Body Works is the worst. It just grows out into the mall and even permeates the stores right next to it.

      Delete
  27. I suffer from allergies as well so I have a love/hate relationship with Spring and Fall. New follower here. I'm stopping by from the "A to Z Challenge" and I look forward to visiting again!

    Sylvia
    http://www.writinginwonderland.blogspot.com/

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  28. New follower saying howdy from A to Z. I am also allergic to cats. When I've been in a house belonging to someone with a cat, I try to wash my clothes and shower as soon as I get home.

    It's interesting that you mention you almost never get sick. I think I've heard or read somewhere that sometimes when people's bodies need something to fight, and there's nothing to fight, the body looks for a reason to fight something, and that's when allergies kick in.

    See how nature just likes to mess with us?

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    1. That sucks. I would rather get a cold every now and then.

      Delete
  29. I wouldn't go so far as to say I'm allergic to scents - they don't make me ill, but I certainly don't like overwhelming scents, especially perfumey ones. All my detergents are scent free and I won't use artificial air fresheners at all - not just because of the smell, but because god knows what those chemicals will do to us!

    Great first post!

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    1. I agree. It can't be good for us. We already digest enough in our food.

      Delete
  30. I do have cats, and my aunt and uncle are allergic to them. Personally, I'd rather people didn't come over because the cats don't like strangers and it takes them days to calm down again.

    But I really know what you mean about the perfumes and such. I have a hard time with them, and it seems to get worse as I get older. Allergies are definitely not fun.

    A to Z Participant
    Cherie Reich - Author and Surrounded by Books Reviews

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    1. That's how my allergies are. Luckily, I don't have many, but they seem to get worse as time goes on.

      Delete
  31. I have cats. My mom is obsessed with candles and other air fresheners. The car has air freshener things from the car wash. I have to wear lotion because of a skin condition. (I don't find the scent strong, but it may be stronger than I realize.)

    Perhaps we should just communicate over the internet. That seems like it would be better for your health.

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    1. I believe you are correct. Internet will be just fine. Although, if I ever fall into a bunch of money, I want to use a portion of it to travel all over the country and personally meet all my blogging friends. I'll make an exception for that.

      I'll take you to dinner, but you have to sit way on the other side of the table.

      Delete
  32. Im allergic to perfumes too. It's horrible! Once, as a joke, my friend sprayed me with Justin Beiber perfume when we were walking through the mall. Not only did I smell like a horrible musician, but I broke out in Antichrist like hives.

    I still need to get that jerk back...

    Hugs!

    Valerie

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    1. I think I would have hurt that guy.

      I was in a mall once in Puerto Rico and walking by a kiosk and girl grabbed my handed and rubbed some lotion on it as she launched into a sales spiel. I had to yell to get her to stop and wash it off. I demanded to see a manager over that one.

      Delete
  33. Oh goodness, I'll start to get a headache if I'm in the mall too long but I know that's nothing compared to what you and others go through. I don't know how you guys do it without a gas mask!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog, this is my first A to Z challenge as well, it should be fun!

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    1. Thank you. I am looking forward to it.

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  34. I'm allergic to cats too, but not dogs, and I have one. I am allergic to lots of foods and drugs, but can wear perfume. Isn't it odd.

    My husband has problems with lotions, and detergents, and soaps. We make quite a pair!

    Nice to meet you via the A to Z blog!

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    1. Thank you for stopping in. I am attempting to hit every blog entered, so I will cross yours at some point as well.

      Delete
  35. I feel ya bro :(
    I just pumped some nasal spray up my nose. I've had a migraine for two days. I don't even remember what set it off. But I am MISERABLE. Writing todays blog post was such a chore lol.
    I hope I feel better soon.
    I hope heaven is allergy free.

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    1. I expect an allergy free heaven. Of course, I also expect a cat free heaven.

      I hope you feel better.

      Delete
  36. Ugh! My allergies to the pollen each spring seem to be getting worse with each passing year. Sorry to hear of your allergies! Love your B post too! Ninja Cat! Dropping in to return your visit in the A-Z Challenge! Cheers!

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    1. Thank you. I wish I had done this challenge last year.

      Delete
  37. How rotten to be so allergic. Glad I don't have lots of allergies although I do have some.

    JO ON FOOD, MY TRAVELS AND A SCENT OF CHOCOLATE

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    1. It's amazing what you get used to. It still sucks, but I've grown accustomed to it.

      Delete
  38. I think like would lose a little of its colour for me if I couldn't wear perfume, but I guess we can learn to live with anything, especially if it's best for our health.

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    1. I've gotten used to it over the years, but it has never bothered me to not be around perfume.

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  39. I have issues with many fragrances as well - I feel you pain!

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    1. It's amazing how prevalent they are.

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  40. wow, I never knew it would be so difficult for someone with allergies to go places. I have two cats, one dog, and loads of candles and incense, I don't think this would be a place for you to come and visit, thanks for the post and I'll be reading more.

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    1. Thank you. I actually consider myself to be lucky for knowing specifically what I am allergic to and can avoid it by just paying attention

      Delete
  41. My mother's allergic to artificial scents as well, it's pretty awful.

    To the contrary, I try to warn people I have a cat in case they might be allergic. Once a friend came over and had an asthma attack because she was allergic to cats and didn't know I kept one in my apartment. I felt terrible.

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    1. I have no trouble asking really quickly. As soon as the invite comes out, so as not to get caught in that situation. Plus, I really don't want other people to feel bad.

      I went to a party once and the host was a good friend of mine who knew about the scented candle thing, but in her preparations, she just forgot and had a few lit.

      I didn't even notice the smell, but felt the headache coming on after being there for a little while. I started hanging out in the backyard with the teenagers. Once she realized why I kept turning down invites to join the adults, she felt awful.

      I was trying to be polite and avoid that, but it didn't work.

      Delete

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