Hello, dear readers. I have asthma. And it sucks, big time. I have been developing more chemical and fragrance sensitivities as time goes on. Unfortunately, no matter how I try to explain this to my coworkers, they continue to spray, or bring in things that flare up my symptoms. I’ve been dealing with this for years, and years… and years.

But I don’t suffer alone, do I? No. You probably work with the same types of fragrance ignorance folks as well.

Yep, I said it. FRAGRANCE IGNORANCE: A sect of humans that are incapable of realizing or understanding how toxic these types of products are.

Only Hell could inspire something as insidious as air fresheners, deodorizers, plug-ins, liquid diffusers, etc… need I say more? Are you getting anxious just thinking about them? I know I do. My lungs hate them. It scares me to know that there have been more studies in recent years showing that they can do serious damage to the lungs over time.

That’s right… serious damage. Just type it into your preferred search engine.

It’s not that they don’t try to assist me at work, but they never seem to get the point. My supervisors send out emails to the floor asking folks not to spray things, or use certain things. But since my supervisors are not as obsessively educated as I am in this subject, their emails tend to fall on deaf ears and eventually, I start to smell things in the air again.

The emails never last!… *cries*

I don’t know about you fellow respiratory sufferers, but to me, air fresheners are almost worse than second hand smoke due to some of the chemicals in them.

For example, my lungs were on fire today by the time I left work. They keep moving me around, and emailing the floor, but I’m still reacting to things that are still around. So, as all asthmatics who want to keep their jobs and not “pester their bosses too much about their need to breathe at work every day”…… we go into survival mode.

I went to Home Depot today to buy up plants to put on my desk. After all, NASA did a study years ago that shows how well they can clean up chemicals in the air. And I have tried a few and they have worked to a certain degree. But they don’t absorb everything. It’s impossible with the shear amount of chemicals in various air freshener brands.

But that’s the problem isn’t it? We buy plants, move to another location in the office, wear masks, etc, and it never really solves the main problem of people not bringing their smelly pieces of Satan into work.

Can I get an “amen” and a “sigh”?  Hallelujah Jesus… save my lungs, oh Lord!

I’m not particularly religious, but as our symptoms continue and become more chronic, we asthmatics will try anything at work, to find relief from the air freshener haze. We pray to the gods above every day to smite and strike down the evil-doers in our office who absolutely insist on buying that new pumpkin spice table top air freshener to show off to the girls at work.

Sometimes, the emails to the floor work… but then new people get hired. Ewww… new people. You know how we asthmatics hate new people in the office. Why? Because one of them usually ends up bringing in something that we know will get to us eventually. And then we have to go through the whole ordeal again of bugging our bosses to email the floor about it.

It makes me angry. It makes me anxious. And some days, I cry about it. But the problem many of us asthmatics run into, is we need our “toxic” jobs for one important reason… health insurance for our asthma. So, it becomes a double edged sword. Quit, and try to find a job that doesn’t flare up our symptoms, but then lose our insurance. Or, try to stick it out at the job that keeps making us sick year after year which forces us to use our insurance more frequently.

I don’t know what the answer is. Workplaces banned smoking. Why won’t they ban air fresheners? To me, they are just as bad…maybe even worse. As I type this tonight, my lungs are still pinched from what I breathed in at work earlier today. And I’m already feeling anxious about going in tomorrow.

I live in the Lake County area of Illinois, and I can’t find a company anywhere in my county that does not allow air fresheners of any kind in the workplace. Trust me, I’ve looked.. for years. I would start that kind of company myself, for sensitive people like me, if I could.

I know it’s frustrating. So, I wanted to write and share about it…

Share your stories in your comments as well. Are you dealing with this issue at work too? What did you do to solve the problem? Did you have to leave your job eventually? Do you work from home or did you have to go on disability? Do you get occasional irrational thoughts at work about murdering the latest coworker who brought in something new?

*winky face*

Hang in there dear readers…. If you’re a (clearly insane) asthmatic who uses air fresheners or scented candles yourself, for the love of God, get rid of them! Are you crazy?!?

Yours truly, Super Asthma Lung Lady