Anonymous asked in HealthDiseases & ConditionsRespiratory Diseases · 1 decade ago

Upon inhaling some cologne, few minutes later my chest hurt a bit more and felt irritated. Is this asthma?

I'm already on antihistamines so it's not really an allergy. But upon inhaling certain things such as cologne/perfume, hair products, certain cosmetics, etc, fragrances, they seem to produce a reaction in me that can be described as "irritating." My chest starts to feel a bit disturbed/bothered by the smell, and I never get a full blown asthma attack with the wheezing, coughing, but it can give me a headache, and I can feel the scent linger in my mouth, it's weird.

At times I do get lots of chest pressure, especially towards the upper stomach, lower chest area, and basically pain. It feels like mild burning.

Now that's not to say that I feel great otherwise. I feel like I'm never at 100%, but it plummets even lower when I'm exposed to irritatants/triggers.

i've also gotten sick alot in the last few years with chest infections.

SO could this just be sore/tired lungs from all they went through, and they're extra sensitive,

or is this a form of asthma?


For example, I do have all the asthma meds, claritin, singulair, advair, atrovent, albuterol/xopanex, which I don't have to take daily, theyre basically as needed, even the long term ones i take a break from, and even though they seem to prevent "spasm, and sudden attacks," they do NOTHING to alleviate any burning/irritating pains, which makes me believe that they're possibly not asthma related.

Update 2:

I've already seen an allergist and a respiratory specialist and they didn't seem to be concerned at all. They just seemed to say oh it's mild and all your tests are normal.

So then perhaps it's not asthma?

Can't someone's lungs just wear out and be sensitive after recovering from a major illness such as the flu?

12 Answers

  • VeeBee
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Q & A about MCS, based on reactions I've received to my requests for MCS accommodations. Most of my accommodation needs concern the use of artificial scent, so that is the emphasis in this Q & A. Unfortunately, others' reactions to raising these issues can be quite belligerent, even if you raise them in a calm, respectful way. If you're up for it, see a flame I received a long time ago about this page.

    What is multiple chemical sensitivity?

    Multiple chemical sensitivity is heightened (or "hyper-") sensitivity to a variety of commonly used chemical products. People with MCS experience physical reactions to products like cologne, after shave, scented hair products, dry cleaned clothing, air freshener products, latex, etc. The types of reactions include difficulty breathing, skin rashes, and migraines, among others. The types of reactions people experience -- and the substances to which they react -- differ widely. In arranging accommodations for MCS (as for any disability), it's wise to consult with the individual with MCS.

    Multiple chemical sensitivity

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Jump to: navigation, search

    Multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) is described as a chronic condition characterized by several adverse and variable affects from exposure to otherwise low levels of substances in modern human environments. It has also been called toxic injury (TI), chemical sensitivity (CS), chemical injury (CI), 20th Century Syndrome, environmental illness (EI), Sick Building Syndrome, idiopathic environmental intolerance (IEI), and Toxicant-induced loss of tolerance (TILT).

    The cause and existence of MCS are disputed. In particular, doctors disagree about whether symptoms are physiologically or psychologically generated or both. United States courts and several medical organizations reject MCS as a physiological disease. Critics of clinical ecology, a controversial field of medicine that claims to treat MCS, charge that:

    MCS has never been clearly defined,

    no scientifically plausible mechanism has been proposed for it,

    no diagnostic tests have been substantiated,[1] and

    not a single case has been scientifically validated.[2]

    These claims are challenged, particularly (1) and (2), as both definitions[3] and physiological pathways[4][5] have been proposed, although these proposals have uniformly been rejected by critics.


    Isn't saying that you have MCS just a pseudo-medical way of saying that you don't like cologne?

    No. In fact, up until my chemical sensitivity began to manifest itself clearly, I loved cologne and scented products, and used them regularly. It isn't that I dislike cologne -- it's that it dislikes me! When I'm around it, my nose and the areas around my eyes start to swell. Later, the migraine hits. Sometimes for days.


    Aren't requests for people to refrain from using cologne or after shave an invasion of people's private hygiene?

    [I've heard this one repeatedly.] If used as designed and intended, the wearing of cologne or after shave near another person is meant to be a shared experience. That is, use of these products automatically and intentionally engages others in the experience. Unfortunately, for some of us this experience is a toxic one. Wearing cologne or after shave is about as "private" as listening to music on a city bus without headphones. When used as intended, cigarettes cause all sorts of health ills. Similarly, when someone near me has used cologne as intended, there are negative health consequences for me. And the more I'm exposed throughout a given day, the more sensitive I am to the next exposure, and the more sick I get. People like me with MCS pay a large "price" for people's "free-"dom to use scent (or, as I've seen it written, per-FUME).

    • Login to reply the answers
  • 4 years ago


    Source(s): Cure Asthma For Good :
    • Login to reply the answers
  • Maggie
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    Asthma is an allergy and is triggered by something. The best non medication treatment for asthma is learning your triggers and avoiding them. Common triggers are smoke, dust, mold, mildew, plants, dust mites, pets and grass/weeds.

    If you can not figure our your triggers, you may need to see an allergist and have allergy screening done. This may point out your triggers.

    The National Asthma Prevention Program and the Expert Panel of Diagnosis and Management of Asthma both agree if you have to use a prescription inhaler such as albuterol more then two time per week, your asthma is NOT in control and you will need a prescription controller medication.

    Controller medications are steroids (Asthmacort Asthmanex, Flovent, Pulmocort), Leukotriene modifier (Singulair, Aculade, Zyflo) or mast cell stabilizers (Cromolyn sodium, Intal, Tilade).

    You may want to talk to your doctor about several strong controller medications and maybe Xolair shots.

    If you want a proven, all-natural way to cure your asthma, without having to pay for useless medications with harmful side-effects, then this is the most important page you'll ever read.

    • Login to reply the answers
  • 1 decade ago

    Although I'm not a qualified GP, I've known people to have this problem. Their symptoms have been of a similar nature, e.g - chest pain, headache, general uneasiness.

    From my point of view, I would have to say that it may be a combination of a few things.

    - Your body's sensitivity to fragrances, it actually causes my friend's mother bad migraines when she is exposed to certain (often cheap) fragrances / cosmetics / aerosole sprays etc.

    - Being an asthmatic could also trigger an uneasiness in the chest area as you are not inhaling 100% oxygen when you are exposed to the fragrances.

    At the end of the day, I think you should really see your GP about it, perhaps even note down / take with you some of the fragrances / cosmetics / sprays etc which are causing this. He / she may be able to do some tests if necessary and see why it is causing this reaction.

    I'm not saying it could be a serious matter, but definitely worth a visit to your GP.

    Source(s): Knowing others with similar symptoms
    • Login to reply the answers
  • How do you think about the answers? You can sign in to vote the answer.
  • 1 decade ago

    It sounds like it could be sensitivity to chemicals, right now it seems to be fragrances and/or petroleum. There are tons of chemicals in perfume and cologne, hairspray, shampoo, lotions, laundry products, etc.

    How do you feel around certain plastics, rubbers, carpet, new furniture/cabinets, printers and ink, and car exhaust?

    If those things also bother you, you may want to look into "multiple chemical sensitivity" or "environmental illness" or "chemical injury." Those are all the same terms for basically becoming intolerant to airborne toxins that many people don't perceive.

    This is not an allergy, but the body having a tough time detoxing those chemicals. Symptoms are what you describe: respiratory problems, mood changes, burning eyes, brain fog/confusion, fatigue. It starts off small and just builds and builds. Some people need complete isolation at its worst.

    If you are sensitive to chemicals, you are in a good place because you are asking at the beginning. Being educated about what your triggers are and avoiding them will help. They are hiding in many unassuming places. Also detoxing, to help your body, and eating organically and well can help.

    There are web sites, and message board groups, that are very informative and educational. I can give you more information if you think this is a possibility.

    • Login to reply the answers
  • 1 decade ago

    I don't know, but (I know, this isn't exactly rocket science advice, but...) just stay away from these triggers!

    I guess it could be affecting your stomach - certain smells can make us feel sick. This could be such a smell - it might be triggering receptors in your brain which in turn lead to increased acid production in your stomach, causing the burning sensation (burning pain is generally to do with the stomach, rather than the chest).

    Thats just a guess though.

    And none of those symptoms sound like asthma - its not a form of asthma. As you'll know, asthma is all about altered breathing.

    EDIT: I really don't think it has anything to do with your lungs. The symptoms seem more related to the stomach if anything. The stomach is pretty near the chest and so pain can be referred.

    And lungs don't really "wear out" in the way you're describing - not in response to smells, anyway.

    • Login to reply the answers
  • J B
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    This sounds more like an allergic reaction to these things rather than your asthma. But, any allergic reaction can become a full blown asthma attack at any time with strong stimuli (such as perfume, etc). I am surprised that you only take your medications "as needed" because with any asthma pt, there is chronic bronchial irritation going on and these medications keep this irritation/inflammation at it's lowest levels possible. By not having these meds in your system continuously, it does make your lungs more "sensitive" to everything.

    • Login to reply the answers
  • 1 decade ago

    Some people are just really sensitive with smells. I have asthma, but i'm not that way with the smells or products. It would be best to ask your allergist... if you have one?? Or doctor??? I don't think it's asthma... but i could be wrong. Maybe you just have a diff. type of asthma that i'm not used to

    Source(s): My mind... lol
    • Login to reply the answers
  • 1 decade ago

    Just because you are on antihistimines doesn't mean that it isn't an allergy.

    Antihistimines prevent the "runny nose" type allergy symptoms, but a strong exposure can overwelm them. I am on Zyrtec, but exterme exposure can cause me to react anyway.

    Your allergic reaction may be more like one where you get hives, etc. Antihistimines will not help with this kind of reaction.

    I suspect it is an allergy, but best to discuss with your Doctor. Bring the collogne with you, perhaps he can do a "scratch test" with it?

    • Login to reply the answers
  • 1 decade ago

    It sounds like an allergy to me.

    When I get around perfume, I get pressure headaches.

    I have Asthma, and Chronic Bronchitis.

    I am just getting over a flairup of Bronchitis.

    Thanks for asking this question, because it is an important one!

    You can contact the National Jewish Hospital, for more information.

    Source(s): Experience
    • Login to reply the answers
  • Carole
    Lv 4
    3 years ago


    Source(s): Hearthburn Relief
    • Login to reply the answers
Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.