Many patients come in complaining about rhinitis symptoms (runny nose, congestion, sneezing) that are triggered by perfumes and scents, so it is common to hear patients say they are “allergic” to perfume. The great majority of these patients are actually suffering from vasomotor rhinitis, which triggers the same symptoms and feels the same to the patient, but is in fact not a true “allergy.”
Some people can be very sensitive to smells and scents found in perfumes, candles, cleaners, etc. The particles that fragrances put into the air can cause nasal inflammation, which then drives rhinitis symptoms. To make a diagnosis of vasomotor rhinitis, we need to first exclude allergens or other underlying issues as the cause of the inflammation.
The best form of treatment for vasomotor rhinitis is to avoid your triggers. Do not wear perfumes or scented lotions and do not use scented candles or products in your home. Try to avoid situations and stores that may have these types of products. For situations where perfumes can’t be avoided, there are some very useful nasal sprays that help to decrease the symptoms as well.
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