Next week, March 21, is National Fragrance Day. For a lot of people, fragrances are just a part of the morning routine—many do not even notice the fragrances they wear anymore, because they become so acclimatized to the scent of their choice. However, for a growing number of us—myself included—fragrances aren’t so pleasant, and can cause a variety of health problems to get worse. Remember, fragrances are not just in perfume—they are also in hand and body lotions, cleaning supplies, laundry detergents, shampoos and soaps, and more. Most of these, for those sensitive, can be easily avoided, but it becomes more difficult to cope with when we are in an environment with someone wearing perfume or cologne, or using hand lotion, with any sort of scent (fragrance)—which may seem nice to them, but it can make us sick.
- Asthma is probably the condition that comes most quickly to mind when thinking about people having adverse reactions to fragrances. In asthma, fragrances—and other triggers—can cause the airways to narrow, constrict and produce more mucus that makes it difficult to breathe.
- Multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) is where combinations of chemicals cause a variety of non-allergic reactions, including headaches, nausea, vomiting, and fatigue—just to name a few. It is not agreed upon whether or not MCS in itself is a disease, but the symptoms are seemingly well documented. 
- Migraine headaches may be triggered by fragrances, even on occasion very severe cases where a person may rapidly drop to the ground due to the intense pain. 
- Sinus problems, like rhinitis, may be made worse by exposure to fragrances.
- Allergies Some people may experience true allergic or anaphylactic reactions to some fragrances. Milder skin reactions may also occur. [3, 4]