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Air Fresheners May Trigger Asthma and Allergies

If you have asthma or allergy, you may want to avoid air fresheners and other chemicals products used to spread fragrant scents because these products may trigger asthma and allergy symptoms, a new study suggests.

According to a study conducted by Dr. Stanley Fineman, an allergist at Emory University and Atlanta Allergy & Asthma Clinic, the chemicals in some of these products can trigger sneezing, and runny nose – all symptoms for allergy.

“With the asthmatics, there’s really good data showing their lung function changes when they’re exposed to these compounds,” said Fineman.

At the group’s meeting in Boston, Dr. Fineman explained the potential hazards of air fresheners and he was hoping to raise awareness of the issue so that doctors and allergy and asthma sufferers would be more aware of the hazards of this products.

“A lot of patients say that they don’t correlate an increase of their symptoms with exposure,” said Fineman.

“There is not necessarily an increase in allergies to any of the compounds in fragrance products, however, that products such as air fresheners, plug-in deodorizers, scented candles, and wick diffusers seem to be used much more often.”

“Most people with asthma are chemically sensitive, and many fragrant products such as air fresheners have chemical make-ups and therefore they are potential irritants,” said Stanley Caress, a professor in the department of environmental studies at the University of West Georgia.

A 2009 study by Anne Steinenmann and Stanley Caress at the University of Washington found that nearly a third of people with asthma also have an exaggerated sensitivity to chemicals and more than a third reported irritation due to scented products.

“The more chemical fragrances around the patient, the more likely it is has asthma attacks. Patients with asthma should try to avoid artificial fragrances products,” said Caress.

Caress said that his advice can also be applied to products labeled “natural” because some allergy sufferers are also sensitive to natural objects like wood, or certain flowers.

“There are other ways to make your home smell nice, such as baking cookies. This is basically just another aspect of what we do, in terms of finding out what triggers a patient’s symptoms, and how we can help them deal with it,” said Fineman as quoted from MSN.

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