Smells Causing headaches, and how to prevent them

My wife just recently started a new position with a flavor/ fragrance formulation and manufacturing company. It pays better than unemployment, we could use the money, and the work is relatively easy for her. Unfortunately, she said the smells coming from the sample lab near where her cubicle is are atrocious, and have caused her migraines the first two days working there. This morning she described the small as “scalded puke”.

So, it’s a job hazard, somewhat expected given the company, but much stronger than she anticipated. If there is anyone out there that has had to deal with strong smells in the workplace, can you please lend advice on ways to handle this? She does not want to leave the job, but is afraid she may have to if she cannot get use to this.

I had to deal with strong smells at the last job and they gave me lots of breathing problems. The place tried filters but nothing super high end that would work. Unless they positive pressurize her area with clean air she’s probably not going to get relief. It sucks but her health concerns should be a top priority as it’s something that can’t be replaced.

Oh, man. I remember vividly one day when I walked into what turned out to be an incense store. I don’t know what was in there, but by the time I hit the back of the quite small space, I could feel a headache roaring my way, and by the time I managed to get back out, I had one of those leave-me-alone-my-head-is-about-to-explode headaches that really stick with you. It was miserable.

I have no advice to offer.

I completely sympathize with your wife as I have the same issue with strong smells and migraines.
Can she put a fan in her cell…cubicle and blow the noxious air away from her?

Maybe doing what the morgue guys do and dabbing a bit of something under the nose to diguise/overwhelm/hide the smell. vicks might do in a pinch, but there are some essential oils out there at Bath and Body Works she could look into.

Oh, your poor wife! My primary, and frequent, migraine trigger, is strong perfumes/scents of all sorts, so I can definitely commiserate. I especially have a terrible time when I’m in a situation where I can’t really escape the perfume, like while I’m flying, or attending the theatre. I basically just have to sit there and suffer, but I have finally figured out a couple of ways to help alleviate the problem, which are, on preview, exactly what Shirley Ujest suggests. :slight_smile: Oh well, since I’ve already typed it all out…

  1. I find that ‘fresh air’, blowing directly on my face, helps. If I’m on an airplane or in a car where someone nearby is wearing strong perfume, I aim the vent directly towards my face and turn it on high. It helps a great deal, actually. Perhaps your wife could place a small fan on her desk to get the same effect.

  2. The other thing that sometimes works for me is fighting the migraine-triggering scent with another scent that does not trigger a migraine. In my case, I have a lemon cake-scented lotion that I put on my hands that seems to sufficiently mask other perfumes. I’ve also had success with chocolate-scented lipgloss. It takes me a while to find a lotion or lipgloss that has a scent that doesn’t make me sick, but once I do, I bring it with me everywhere, just in case. This, however, is a somewhat risky suggestion, as I never know when my safe scent is going to magically blend with the problem scent to create a new, even more terrible scent. Still, it’s worth a try if nothing else works.

If I was your wife, I would also probably take a prophylactic dose of ibuprofen half an hour before I got to work to at least try to minimize the pain. Good luck!

ug, I feel for her. I get the same reaction although it doesnt take huge amounts for me. if shes never had smell related migraines before it might just be the volume of stench and after a bit she may adjust…or not. I agree with the fan in the face trick but there is an issue, the fan has to be pulling in clean air from some place else for it to work (at least for me) just blowing around the stink may not work at all.

I scared some poor woman outside target the other day, I walked out as a woman wearing a quart of rancid whales ass walked in and I made a pretty unpleasant face in response only this poor little old lady was right in front of me. not sure what she thought I was about to do but she was obviously a bit frightened. (understandable, I am 6’3" and about 225# with pretty long hair to boot)

Could she simply ask if there’s a chance she could be moved to a more distant cubicle? That might not help much, if it’s all one big open area, but at least perhaps the smell wouldn’t be quite as strong.