For many highly sensitive entrepreneurs, public spaces and especially the common office environment can be torture to function in when chemical scents, cleaners and perfumes are permeating the office environment. For some, the only option is to leave the building before they succumb to the myriad of health issues that these chemicals inflict on them.
“It’s hard to believe something as innocent as scented perfume could cause a person to have health issues, but fragrance sensitivity — an allergic reaction or irritation to chemicals in certain products — is very real and, depending on the severity, can become problematic in the workplace. In many of my stay-at-work and return-to-work cases, individuals have aversions to chemicals, fumes and other scents floating around in the work environment. Irritation with perfume and similar fragrances are the most prevalent.
So, what’s a manager to do if this situation arises?
It’s going to be difficult to pinpoint any one scent perpetrator since they can come from lotions, shampoos and other products. The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) offers this series of symptoms that can help you determine whether an employee has a vulnerability to fragrances:
Itchy or burning eyes
Sneezing, runny nose or congestion
Difficulty with concentration
And in more severe cases, individuals may be afflicted with a skin allergy called contact dermatitis, which causes redness, itching and burning of the skin. Whether fragrance sensitivity becomes a medical condition is determined on a case-by-case basis.”