msnbc.com
updated 3/31/2008 6:21:28 PM ET 2008-03-31T22:21:28

After reading an msnbc.com story about coping with people who layer on the fragrance , scent-sensitive readers wrote in with their own stories of odor intolerance.

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"I get migraines and have asthma," writes Mary Lou of New Orleans. "Before retiring from teaching, my students knew my problem. If they forgot and wore a strong fragrance, they sat just at the door to the class and did not come inside the room."

One reader points out the obvious — isn't too much perfume better than too little?

"Maybe you want people going to work reeking of BO instead," writes Vito of Queens, N.Y. "I'd rather be bombarded with the smell of fabric softener and deodorant than someone's funky armpits."

Keep reading for more reader responses.

I'd really appreciate if people took a moment to think before slathering on eight ounces of Chanel No. 5 lotion, holding the trigger on the air freshener for fifteen seconds because the "room smells so bad," or burning funky incense that doesn't make the room smell better (just makes it smell like incense). Many a nose will be thankful!
— Nina, Silver Springs, Md.

I am not allergic to scents but am extremely sensitive and become ill quickly when exposed to them. I commute on public transportation everyday and wish that a rule could be put in effect about wearing perfume, etc. ... To each his own with their preference for fragrance, but maybe public transportation and work are not the places for them to be worn.
— Anonymous

I've become somewhat of a loner since my teen years because it's just to hard to enjoy myself when the scents interfere with my health. I've had sinus problems, asthma, and nasal allergies that make me feel it's not worth going out much. I know a lot of people, including some family members, seem to think as though I'm exaggerating. I'm not. I've had to leave some jobs because I'm so sensitive to scents.
— Wendy, Springfield, Ill.

I put print-outs about too much perfume in the women's restroom.
— Anonymous

There is nothing pretty-smelling about artificial smells and everywhere you look there are scented this, scented that. I can't find a lotion that doesn't make me sick. And please, the scentless lotions are not scentless, they are some of the most foul smelling!
— Sheree, Lubbock, Texas

My family and friends refrain from using scents around me, but I am very isolated at this point because there are so many scented products in public places. So I mostly stay home. I went from working full time and going to college nights to unemployment and resulting depression because of my severe sensitivities to fragrance chemicals.
— Pamela, Worcester, Mass.

Some perfumes give me a headache almost immediately. My sister-in-law makes me so sick I vomit when in the car with her. So far I have blamed it on car sickness but I need to tell her something. I am very sensitive to odors.
— Anonymous

If I go shopping in a major department store I try hard to avoid the perfume counters completely. The smell is so loud and mixed that I get a severe headache, nausea, runny nose and my mouth breaks out. Who can enjoy shopping with all of this going on? Perfumes and candles need to be in separate shops so you have a choice as to whether you want to enter there. People who have never suffered from allergies do not understand how miserable this can make you.
— Sharon, Alabama

I hate when I hug older men at church, their cologne sticks to my hair and I am smelling it all day! Sometimes I have to go home and wash it out.
— Anonymous, Newport News, Va.

I worked with a woman who wore a scent that actually sent me home sick — I had vomiting and an instant migraine. ... She totally discredited my allergy to her patchouli oil. If had been me, I would never wear it to work again, but she just thought it was a big joke. ... In my opinion, it is people like her that need to be banned!
— Diane

I had this exact problem with a co-worker ... My hand lotion would send her allergies into a frenzy, and knock her out for days, but my co-workers hand lotion brought about no reaction in her. My conclusion? She's a crazy hag with major issues, control and otherwise. Why is it my problem that she has an allergy problem? I have allergies, too. Should I ask my friends and family to get rid of their cats and dogs so that I don't sneeze, wheeze, and cough when I visit their homes, or when they visit mine and bring their pet's dander and fur on their clothes? ... I have taken responsibility for my allergies (gasp!) and take an allergy medication to control my symptoms. Perhaps the solution for people with such severe scent allergies should also take responsibility (eek! the horror) and take an allergy medication. If that doesn't work, how about trying a mask complete with respirator and hepa filter? Or, you could live in a hermetically sealed bubble to guarantee full protection from all the "off-gassing" that everyone else's burdensome existence produces.
— Jamie, Chicago

I work with someone who is scent sensitive. Early last summer I was asked to stop wearing my perfume, since I was new here I didn't know I wasn't supposed to be wearing it. I did what my boss asked me and never wore perfume again. However, a few months ago, this same co-worker began to accuse me of wearing perfume; she swore she could smell something on me, even though I wasn't. My boss would come over to my desk and work with me on something just so she could see if she smelled something on me. My boss would then tell the co-worker that I wasn't wearing any fragrance whatsoever. I had even gone to a scent free lotion to accommodate this co-worker. Yet twice in one week she accused me, only me, of wearing a fragrance. ... There is a fine line when it comes to asking someone to stop wearing scents at work. I'm not going to change my laundry soap, hairspray (which I don't wear to work), shampoo, etc., for a person I am only around 8 hours out of the day.
— Anonymous, Illinois

I work in a public building and often have to deal with people coming in wearing very strong scents. Since they often trigger migraines for me, I sometimes have to step away and let a co-worker work with that person. I have also quit using public transportation because it's a nightmare being closed in with so many newly scented people first thing in the morning. Really, though, it's my problem and I don't expect perfect strangers to accommodate me.
— Susan, Wisconsin

Yes, I am scent sensitive. I wish I could still wear perfume and I can't. This is not a problem that I love having. I developed allergies and sensitivities in my 40's. ... I still have a bottle of Yves St. Laurent Opium perfume tucked away in a trunk at home. I'm hoping someday this problem will go away and then I can annoy people!
— Susanna, Michigan

I get migraines and have asthma. ... Before retiring from teaching, my students knew my problem. If they forgot and wore a strong fragrance, they sat just at the door to the class and did not come inside the room.
— Mary Lou, New Orleans

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