Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a medication or a nose filter we could use to block out scents? It would certainly come in handy for migraine sufferers whose attacks hinge on scent triggers.
The holidays are especially hard. With perfumes, air fresheners, scented candles, and potpourri — many gatherings can be fraught with stress and, of course, migraine attacks. Asking others to avoid wearing or using scents around us is the only way to avoid this trigger.
…And it’s a really tough thing to ask. Here are some suggestions for making the conversation a little less uncomfortable.
If You’re Hosting the Party…
Let everyone you invite know that your house is scent-free and to not wear perfume, cologne or scented lotion. You may choose to explain that scents are a migraine trigger and you need to minimize your exposure to triggers in order to be a good host. If you think they may ignore your request, tell them ahead of time that you cannot allow anyone who is wearing scents into your home and you will ask them to leave if they are.
If Someone Else is Hosting…
Explain the situation and ask if they will avoid using scented products in the house and wearing perfume at the event. Make it clear that you will have to leave the event if anyone arrives scented. Then enlist their help in spreading the word to guests.
Other Considerations to Keep in Mind…
- Scents are very personal and people can get offended when they feel like you don’t like the way they smell. Be sure to say scents, not odors, which implies that the smell is offensive – even if you find perfume repulsive.
- Make sure people know that this isn’t a personal preference, but a health issue and that you won’t be able to spend the holiday with them if they wear scents.
- If you don’t follow through on your statements, no one will believe scents really are an issue for you.
- Use discretion in deciding which events to make this request for – it’s a lot to expect everyone at a work party or at a huge New Year’s Eve celebration to forgo scents, but it’s totally reasonable to ask people at family gatherings to do so.
If holidays are truly about being with loved ones, then people should be happy to do whatever they can to ensure you’re able to join the party.
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