Migraines from air freshener - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 5 Old 09-14-2007, 03:30 AM - Thread Starter
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I don't know what I am going to do. I work for a processing plant and they just installed new air fresheners in the locker room and in all of the bathrooms. I'm very sensitive to smells. I was in the locker room and my first thought was this isn't that bad. And then I felt the first twitch of a migraine coming on. I held my breath the best I could and got out of there in less than 5 minutes. But than for the next hour I was in migraine city. After two hours it was just a dull ache and it is still there almost 12 hours after exposure. I even had to drive to the closest store to use the restroom at lunch.

Tomorrow I will try to talk to the higher ups and explain my problem, but I don't know if they will do anything. I don't know if they will even believe me. I hate being this sensitive.

Is there anything I can do to physically be able to prevent these migraines if I have to change into a uniform in there?
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#2 of 5 Old 09-14-2007, 12:52 PM
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I can't offer you advice, but I can empathize. Air fresheners give me migraines, too. I have had situations at work where I've asked the cleaning staff to use a different cleaner or to stop using the air freshener in the rest room. However, you case sounds worse than mine.

Talk to the higher-ups. I don't know why they wouldn't believe you. Can you make it clear that you can no longer change in that room and that if you do venture in there, it is likely that you will have to go home for the rest of the day?

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#3 of 5 Old 09-14-2007, 07:27 PM
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I wish I had a sure-fire preventative for you! My friend has this same problem (mostly with colognes, but sometimes air fresheners "zap" her, too) and she's found a good treatment, but AFAIK her prevention consists of avoiding perfume. She actually had to quit a job because of it. At the bottom of the article is a link to her homepage; you could try e-mailing her in case she has any great tips for dealing with your employer that I haven't heard.

There are prescription drugs taken daily that are supposed to reduce the odds of a migraine. I've never tried them myself. Don't just "ask your doctor" who may give you drugs he/she doesn't understand all that well; see a headache specialist who is well-informed about the various diagnostic tests and treatment options.

I have migraines, too, and while they're not triggered by artificial fragrances, once I have a headache many artificial fragrances make me feel worse. Those restroom air fresheners are particularly horrible. Even under the best of circumstances, I don't think they smell GOOD. Bleah!

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#4 of 5 Old 09-15-2007, 05:12 AM - Thread Starter
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Well I talked to one of the higher ups today and she was surprised that it effected me so bad. She spoke to the plant manager on the phone and asked about me being able to break policy and take my clothes home to change. He said no. You could also tell that he was doubtfull that I was being honest abourt my condition. She kept saying things like migraines are a symptom of an allergy to the air freshner. I know this person is telling the truth.

So she told me to get a doctors note and we will go from there. Im the mean time I bought a mask that is supposed to help remove cleaner odors. It works pretty good. I can be in the area without too much of a headache afterward.

EnviroBecca- I wish I could use your friends solution. However they issue random drug tests and I would hate to lose my job.
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#5 of 5 Old 09-15-2007, 05:21 AM
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u=Unfortunately, if you get migraines from scents, the only way to prevent them is to avoid the scent. Your doc should be able to get you a note as it is a documented headache trigger. Some migraine doctors even insist that their employees and patients refrain from using scented products when working or doing business in their offices.

You can also google perfumes and toxins. There are a lot of ingredients in scented products that are toxic and some of us are unlucky enough to be more sensitive than others.

I've had to leave jobs over smells, too. It's really unfair that they can ban smoking but any old stinky toxic perfume or spray is allowed even when it makes people sick. :

Get a note from your doctor, look into FMLA so they can't ding you for excessive absences when you have to go home with a headache, and if you have a union rep take it up with them too.

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