oversensitivity to smells causing severe pain reactions

By MaggyBunny Latest Activity November 14, 2016 at 6:15 pm Views 3,877 Replies 1


My coworkers have been increasingly inundating the bathrooms with scents and sprays and now have put in automatic spays that go off every 10 minutes… (it doesn't help that my office is right next to the restrooms and I'm one of the only ones that doesn't have a door to their office) the chemical smells are causing my fibromyalgia to create pain in my back and shoulders from it. Now someone has been spraying things around the general office space. The bathrooms are a single locking room, so I've taken to using the men's room because they don't use spray, however now there is an automatic sprayer in there as well. I got a note from my doctor saying no sprays, perfumes or colognes, but the director said that we can't really enforce that because that would interfere with other co-workers rights too… I'm now at the point that I can not use the restroom at work and I'm thinking I'm going to have to go down the block to the grocery store if I can't wait until I get home. Sometimes I wish other people could feel exactly what I feel if only for an hour or two, just so they would understand this is not some made up thing… and back to crying again Sorry for rambling I'm just so defeated right now, I hate coming in to work, I hate leaving the house, I hate dealing with everyone that cant understand that someone who looks normal can be sick and that scents really can make someone sick

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  • Dr Gary
    Dr GaryCA November 24 at 10:37 pm   

    Wow, Maggybunny, I am sorry to hear this. I have often talked about similar issues with my clients. It's rough when you have a clear need for an accommodation, but the decision-makers at your workplace just don't get it, because it's so far outside of their own experience. You're absolutely right, no one knows what it's like to be impacted by scents like this if they haven't been through it themselves. A shame. And this is an accommodation that could be made, that wouldn't have a big impact on other people. I am wondering if you have a human resources representative that you could talk to, who could hear you out and discuss a potential solution. This might require a letter from your physician to support you. If you don't have an HR department, I am still wondering if a letter from your doctor might help you to help your manager understand this is real. Just an idea. I can understand why you would feel defeated. But I am hoping you will continue to advocate for yourself. Please keep us posted on how you're doing.