It’s sometimes difficult to dodge the department store in some mall that tries to block your path and spray against your will. If they somehow succeed, you may end up with a big migraine later. I usually hold my breath and scurry through Cosmetics.
But you can’t wear masks everywhere? Isn’t it? With time, your nose may know what causes migraines and headaches, even if you don’t. Smells are one of the biggest triggers. Ignoring them can cost you a lot in a very real way.
Strong scents are so common these days that we aren’t’ fully aware of them and how often these pleasant smells can be migraine triggers. For all those who suffer from migraines, they are potentially toxic.
According to a report in Prevention magazine:
The most common smells that can trigger reactions are tobacco, gasoline, and perfumes, says, Marvin Mauskop, MD, director of NY Headache Center and author of famous book “What your doctor may not tell you about migraines”. Don’t think you’re merely allergic to fragrance? More than 3.7 million Americans are-and most of them don’t know it.
Why does this matter? If somebody sprays a perfume on you, you get a migraine. Once you get an attack, you lose your day. If you lose your day’s work, you may not be earn enough. So don’t let anyone spray against your will. Run through cosmetics.
It may sound funny, but it’s not. You don’t own the air around you. So it’s pretty difficult to control all those floating scents around you. So be on lookout in these situations:
- Pungent body odor from the person in Seat 37F
- Car exhaust on your commute
- Oil-based paint at work
- The dude in the next cube wearing too much Drakkar Noir
- Bathroom cleaner
- Three-part forms
- Smoke from campfires
- Cigarette smoke in casinos
- Gas fumes at the pump
- Nail salons that burn strong incense
- Abercrombie & Fitch – or anywhere within 120 feet of it
Of course, if you’re in your car, you can handle the situation by turning off the recycled air vent. At home, you can switch to low-VOC, water based paints and non-toxic bathroom cleaners. If you’re planning to fly, you can ask for a different seat on the plane due to allergies. You can also ask your boss for a different office, if you want to avoid triggers at workplace.
If you’re in control of the space around you, but cannot control the scents, like our son’s pungent socks, your dog’s breath, or your roommates burnt enchiladas, you can always kill the scent with the help of an odor-neutralizing candle. When everything else fails, rely on a pocket hanky or a mask as they might save your day.
Tips To Handle Smells That Can Trigger Migraines:
* Wear a fragrance-free button-It’s a more subtle approach, and invites conversation. Even if you feel you’re entitled to a fragrance-free space, you can simply convey that some scents cause an allergic reaction for you.
* Request a fragrance-free policy- It can be really tough, but don’t be surprised to find so many co-workers supporting you in this.
* Wear flesh-colored nose plugs-This is a nice alternative to a mask for home, public places, or dark environments when you don’t want to discuss this issue.
* You can use an air purifier-An air purifier can make your air much cleaner and keep it circulating when it feels like there is no escape from offending smell.
* Block with lavender oil or menthol-You can infuse it in your personal space, or use it topically right under your nose.
* Circulate air with manual fan – It’s a more cost-effective alternative to an air purification system. If positioned correctly between the source of smell and you, it can work and make it go away.
* Wear a surgical mask or face scarf– Desperate times can be handled well with desperate moves. You may just need a BIG physical filter.
* Ask others to stop wearing scents – This one can be difficult and takes some courage. It also depends on whether you know the offender or not. Tough call!
It’s best to track the scents that are migraine triggers in your case and note them down in your migraine diary.