To the Dude who sat down in front of me in seminar Friday...

Dec 12 2010 Published by under Terrible Poetry

To the Dude who sat down in front of me in seminar Friday having previously bathed in Axe,

I hate you.

Believe me, if the choice for you is between a shower and bathing in Axe, take the shower, I assure you that everyone around you would prefer it.

You reek to high heaven. And when you sat down in front of me in seminar on Friday, my nose wrinkled immediately, and my brain went "Danger, Will Robinson! Danger!!" I knew I had to flee, but by then it was too late.

You see, I get migraines. And they are sometimes triggered by things like intense smell. Like you, young man who bathed in Axe body spray. You can now consider yourself directly responsible for the migraine that I have been down with for the past TWO DAYS, going on THREE. By the time I managed to gather my things and leave the auditorium, it felt like someone was trying to lobotomize me without anesthetic, and I could barely see. I have now been officially useless for the past three days, at a time which was hardly convenient for me. Not that migraines are ever convenient.

The next time I see you, I have a strong urge to clock you so hard on the head you will have a massive headache for three days. So you know what it's like.

But I'll have to put on a HEPA filter first.

No love,
Sci

18 responses so far

  • Tracey S. says:

    Ugh! Stupid Axe and their stupid commercials! I had something similar occur in a Bed, Bath, and Beyond. They had SO MUCH scent in their store, particularly in the bedding area with all the candles and linen spray. It gave me a terrible migraine and a sneezing attack. When I complained to the manager and explained that a LOT of people were sensitive to heavy scents I basically got "It's not our problem". I don't shop there anymore.

    I hope you feel better soon!!

  • HennaHonu says:

    I get this with smokers, too. I hate it when they smoke until the last second, then run inside and sit near me. Or when I'm on a plane and someone in the cabin puts on lotion. I have lost so much time to others' discourtesy!

    • scicurious says:

      See, I'm pretty sure the guy didn't mean to be discourteous. I feel kind of guilty in the midst of all of my anger and pain. Probably he was all like "OMG I SMELL LIKE B.O. I must cover myself in bodyspray! Yeah! That'll work!" Really, I'm sure people think they smell nice when they do this. Same with the lotion. Their hands are dry, and then won't people be pleased that the cabin is scented with Verbena! And smokers certainly can't help it. Doesn't make my life any easier.

      Uuuugh. I need more tea. And meds.

      • Sister Chromatid says:

        The various triptan drugs (like sumatriptan) work for me when I feel a migraine coming on. Nothing else works, though. I always make sure to have some on hand. Have you tried them? I, too, have lost a lot of days to migraines. And then afterward I'd feel drained and sad-- like a storm just went through my brain. I never had any idea what caused them though. They seemed random, though any intense smell would make them worse. (Just thinking about your experience can bring on the nausea that always came with my migraines.)

        Anyhow, I've felt your pain. I suggest having triptan medications near by; have you tried them? For me, they seem to be a sort of "miracle" of modern medicine.

  • Pharm Sci Grad says:

    AMEN! I'd like a public service annoucement along the lines of: Please don't marinate in your highly fragrent *whatever* as you are assulting my olfactory receptors. They tend to have what I can only call a panic attack when this happens (thankfully shorter than your migranes).

    Apparently tho, when I allude to the following, people don't GET it...
    [sarcasm]Really, I don't hold you responsible for my headache increasing in intensity or my struggle to maintain consciousness because you have either completely lost your sense of smell or think this is the lesser of the evil alternatives. Really. [/sarcasm]

    Feel better soon! *unscented hugs*

  • I always end up next to these people on planes. I haven't gotten a true migraine in awhile, but it always makes me headachey and nauseous.

  • katiedid says:

    I feel ya. For me, it's usually little old ladies at my son's school functions though I've definitely gotten migraines from perfumes and AXE in classes as well. People please, please stop with the excessive scents!

  • samantha says:

    Right there with you. I've been lucky "out in the real world" - every company I've worked for has been a scent-free environment (in one company, they had to work with a woman to track it back to her laundry detergent. They were that serious). When I got back to school... wow. My headaches, migraines and breathing problems came back in full force.

    I blame excessive marketing, insecurity, and laziness.

  • christine says:

    Axe is the latest addition to my migraine triggers. Still struggling with the Febreze, which everyone we know thinks is the greatest stuff ever. And then they put Febreze in fabric softener which means I never escape it. Lord help us when they have Bounce dryer sheets with Axe

    Efexor is a beautiful thing... Reduced frequencyfor me and allows Excederin to do it's job when they do hit.

  • Craig says:

    As I said recently on another blog: with any scent, on any gender, if the people around you can say with confidence "yes, that person is wearing an artificial scent", then you're using too much. Perfume is supposed to be subliminal.

  • Kees says:

    I had no idea intense smells could trigger such a strong reaction. I don't use deodorant often, but I'll try to keep these reactions in mind when using it.

    Let's get this discussion a little more constructive (this is a science forum, after all): What do you suggest people should do when using deodorant? How can you avoid spraying too much?

    I think these are the main reasons why people spray too much deodorant:
    1) You don't really smell the stuff when you spray it on yourself.
    2) Very few people would say something to your face when you've sprayed too much.

    Can you test deodorant by spraying it on dirty clothes, and then leave them for a few hours? --> If you smell the deodorant when you return, you'll know you've sprayed too much.

    I also had a question: Can you also get a migraine from strong body odor? I take a shower once every two days, and I don't really know if people notice that.

    • scicurious says:

      I can safely say that BO has NEVER given me a migraine. EVER. Natural scents never do. In fact, it's only strong artificial scent. Deodorant usually doesn't because generally the smell isn't strong enough. Axe is not deodorant, it's Body Spray, which people spray on like perfume rather than like deodorant. I would say it's often hard to test it without another person, because it's VERY easy to become desensitized to the smell. I'd just find a trusted friend, and ask "so...?"

      And I actually DO say something to people, esp if it's people I work with and I need to be functional every day. Usually I end up saying something like "look, I'm sorry, I'm REALLY sensitive to smell and some of them give me really bad migraines...would you be willing to switch Body Spray?" Every single time I've asked, they've been really nice about it.

      • Dan Gaston says:

        This is very true. Personally I think people should stay away from body spray type products period, especially ones made for men because the scents are so strong. I'll also add from my anecdotal evidence (comments from women of all types) women don't really like the smell of them. It's all marketing BS.

        On the other hand virtually every woman I know (and this started before the latest marketing campaigns for this product) really likes the smell of things like Original Old Spice Deodorant or similar. They are simple and people only smell them when they are close to you.

  • D. C. Sessions says:

    Not being a sufferer, please excuse the question:

    1) Some people report that high-octane capsaicin gives them relief (/me, only for sinus pain.) Does it help you?
    2) How 'bout smoke? Does woodsmoke cause problems?

    If (IF, I say) the answer to (1) is yes and (2) is no, ping me -- I just spent the weekend smoking up a big batch of homegrown mesquite chipotles.

  • Jon says:

    I wonder - is there something more to this sensitivity to "artificial" scents? The number of people anecdotally reporting having problems with things like body spray is reminding me a bit of ACHOO/photic sneeze reflex.

    I don't get migraines, but "artificial" scents often give me very bad headaches and can make my eyes water. I don't know what exactly qualifies as artificial - the most common causes for me are floor cleaners, perfumes, deoderants, fabric softeners and laundry detergent, scented candles, and so on. I wonder what these items have in common? Is there some particular type of odorant maybe? Or is it just that the concentration of odorants is that much higher when you've got it in distilled liquid, ready to be aerosolized form?

    I use unscented everything (hooray for Ban Unscented deodorant,) and if I have to buy some sort of cleaner at the store I try to be in and out of that aisle as fast as I possibly can. Thankfully, for me the pain usually goes away once I've gotten away from the source, rather than triggering a 3 day migraine. I really wish I could use those nice, convenient Swiffer mops, but I have to use a regular old mop just because I have the option of diluting down the floor cleaner to tolerable levels. I guess at least I save money by not relying on Swiffer refills.

    Anyway, I really wonder if there's something more going on here, since there seems to be a class of people who loves these scents and a class of people who find them painful.

  • Ugh. That sucks. I hope you're feeling better now.

    I once saw someone on a plane (a short flight, luckily) take out nail polish and start to paint her nails! And she was all offended when the flight attendant rushed over and told her to put it away!

    I don't know what people are thinking sometimes.

  • Nora says:

    It took a long time to realize that one of the first signs that I am going to get a migraine is olfactory hallucinations. Every scent is magnified so that even pleasant smells are overwhelming, and things that have no odor whatsoever emanate disgusting clouds of putrescence. I have accused my colleagues of spraying room deodorizers when I was out, I've searched for rotten food in the fridge, and tried to tear down wallboards to search for mold. Sometimes I'll take five showers a day because I can't stand the smell of my own body or the shampoo/soap I used in the previous shower. "Unscented" items do in fact have a detectable odor.

    It's a chicken-egg thing though, because strong odors often *do* in fact set off migraines for me as well: magnolia trees, lilies, perfume ads in other people's magazines, etc.

    And f*#k!ng nail polish? On a f*#k!ng plane??!? OMG

  • Tj says:

    I am an individual that is highly sensitive to chemical scents in seemingly all forms. It isn't just a problem of people over applying perfumes or colognes or body wash or spray. It would seem that just the general use of any of these things is too much. They cause an immune response in me. My body reacts with multiples of headaches, irritability, nausea, respiratory issues, throat and sinuses closing up.... It depends on the trigger but it ranges from unpleasant to debilitating. It can be something that lasts a short while or for hours and sometimes can cause effects that last days, like the migraines that you mentioned. This stuff is damn near unavoidable if you are going to venture out into the world. Febreze, Glade, scented candles, soaps, air fresheners, detergents, fabric softeners... It is everywhere and it hurts me. The worst part with people is that they really have NO idea. Most don't seem to be sensitive to it or maybe some are but just aren't aware of why they feel bad. And it can be very difficult to explain that the scented whatever in someone's home or on their clothes or skin is killing you. People take it personally and it doesn't seem to be bothering them or the multitudes. I am a highly sensitive minority. Please, speak up, speak out, say something to someone and spread some awareness. Some day, someone will take it seriously. Someone will do scientific studies. Someone will figure out how and why and what. Someday the multitudes will understand that this stuff is poison and is having a negative effect on our environment and our health.

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