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To expect health care professionals, workers, etc. to not wear scents

(237 Posts)
Bimbop5 Tue 04-Oct-16 03:49:39

I don't understand why in this day and age that health care workers, meaning doctors, nurses, care aids, etc need to be told not to wear scents? They should know not to wear them due to asthma, sinusitis, multiple chemical sensitivity, etc, etc. And yet where I work they have to continually talk to these people and explain you cannot wear perfume or any scented products at work. It's ridiculous. People have to turn their care aids away due to them wearing scents and in turn are left trying to care for themselves when they are sick. It's nuts! It reminds me how smoking used to be allowed in hospitals and remember what the fight it was to finally ban this. I hope in my lifetime people will learn how much this hurts people with illness and allergies. I'm only 41 but man, we have so much to learn in society. People have a right to have clean air.

putputput Tue 04-Oct-16 04:12:40

Unless it's part of their work place policy you can't enforce a blanket ban. Nearly all toiletries are scented with some form of chemical, should they all be banned too?

I do agree if someone was wearing something overwhelmingly strong then they should be told by management.

Bimbop5 Tue 04-Oct-16 04:55:31

Yes it is a work place policy and it's easy to find scent free products nowadays. We have an requirement for no scented products at all. It is hard to enforce but most people do follow it. Health care is very important. smile maybe it's not this way in the UK? I'm in Canada.

Rosae Tue 04-Oct-16 05:02:28

I think possibly it isn't the same here. I am a health care professional but have never heard of having a totally no scent policy, though strong scents are not allowed. And no scent toiletries are not easy to get hold of and can be very expensive...

londonrach Tue 04-Oct-16 05:14:05

Health care professional in uk here never heard of this before. No ban ever in any nhs trust ive worked in. Common sense not heavy smells. None scent toiletries thats a new one.

DubiousCredentials Tue 04-Oct-16 06:07:20

The midwife who cared for me after I had dd absolutely stank of cigarette smoke. I would have preferred perfume.

When I worked in retail we were told not to wear heavily scented products but I never ever saw this enforced.

sashh Tue 04-Oct-16 06:13:29

Some o us do care a lot, I'm decades out of healthcare and shocked someone when I said I was going for a curry on a Friday evening. The hospital had an Indian chef and there was some sort of curry on in the canteen each lunch time.

I never ate curry at work because I got fairly close to people, I could smell their breath, I'm sure they could smell mine.

U2HasTheEdge Tue 04-Oct-16 06:21:27

I work in a hospital as a NA and wear very light perfume.

It's fine. Strong scents, no but light perfume that you haven't doused yourself in is fine.

CatNip2 Tue 04-Oct-16 06:46:05

I have never smelt perfume on any health care worker either at the hospital or GP surgery, and I am there a lot now with the elderlies. DD is a student HCP, and if she didn't have a good spray of a quality deodorant twice a day she would definitely be a bit whiffy by the end of the shift. No rules in her trust about what to use though.

Common sense surely.

Digressing slightly, I do find it bizarre though that hospital HCP in the US can wear jewellery, make up and long fingernails.

CatNip2 Tue 04-Oct-16 06:47:20

By make up I don't mean a bit of mascara either, I mean a full face of slap and lippy.

KC225 Tue 04-Oct-16 12:25:47

My DH is a former secondary school teacher and he would grumble about his lung deterioration and the long term damage of LYNX asphyxiation by teenage boys

Salmotrutta Tue 04-Oct-16 12:40:27

Ah yes!

Nothing like a bunch of teenagers arriving in your classroom just after PE smelling strongly of whatever Spray of Choice they've just doused themselves in! grin

Many of them like to spray it on in my classroom causing clouds of scented reek to float around the room so that the whole place smells like the perfume section at an airport Duty Free..

Every1lovesPatsy Tue 04-Oct-16 12:47:55

Totally off point. Last time I was in A & E (with my son- concussion), the doc smelled of body odour and I thought the fact he did (not the smell) was refreshing. I work in an office where any human smells are masked or immediately noticed (think library type atmosphere). It is tedious. People smell occasionally, of course people take steps to mask it, but it shouldn't be so shameful.

Excessive chemicals are as bad as excessive BO.......rambles on....if you are busy and physical you are bound to create sweat.......ramble...ramble.

ElspethFlashman Tue 04-Oct-16 12:54:05

It's just a Canadian thing, sorry.

I'm in Ireland and there's no formal policy against it here either. Mind you, nobody actually wears strong scents so it seems common sense is enough of a deterrent.

Do "no scented products" include scented deodorant? If so, that's a bit excessive. You'd have to wrench my deodorant from my cold dead hands. Nobody may be able to smell it but me, but it's reassuring on those horrible muggy days on a top floor ward with no air flow.

helpimitchy Tue 04-Oct-16 12:59:43


I suffer at work due to those automatic air fresheners. One of my colleagues also douses herself and the elderly clients she bed bathed in scented products sad

They are very damaging to health and my sinuses are extremely painful after being at work.

Sister in law has just stayed with us and dh had to ask her not to spray perfume in the house as it was so strong and makes us feel
sick and headachy.

MissDuke Tue 04-Oct-16 13:11:14

I am an HCP and the only place I have heard of this is in fertility clinics. I was told there not to use anything but an unscented roll on as it apparently could potentially harm the embryos. This is the only time I have been told to minimise the use of toiletries.

Bimbop5 Tue 04-Oct-16 15:52:09

Wow yes it's definitely different here then. Just as an FYI you can find unscented deodorant in any pharmacy here and it's the same price as regular kind. But deodorant usually isn't a problem. Also in the hospitals there are signs everywhere saying no scented products or strong scented flowers (like lilies or sweet peas). And you can't wear anything to mammograms, MRI or ct scan or any ear,Nose and Throat doctor. Or if you see a neurologist. It's very strict. People will be sent home if they reek.
Practically any specialist you are told not to. Actually thinking about it even my Vet has a sign! smile

I was just so upset hearing about one of my clients yesterday who couldn't get home care because she had to keep turning workers away due to her allergies and she was completely distraught on the phone. It's just an easy thing for a person to not do and yet so many believe it's their right to wear scents. I think of it like a uniform. When you are at work you abide by their policies, on your own time do what you want. Surely, our health compromised patients deserve clean air, they are already sick, let's not make it worse for them.

I am fine with essential oils but I would never dream of using them at work. We don't smoke around sick people so why make them breathe in these chemicals?

sonlypuppyfat Tue 04-Oct-16 16:01:04

Do these people who don't like scented products do they not mix with anyone at all in case they have perfume on

Sirzy Tue 04-Oct-16 16:07:18

I can't say I have ever come across a HCP who smelt strongly.

I have been on a children's ward with ds which was full of chesty children where the nurse had to kindly remind one of the mums that spraying body spray in the room really wasn't a wise idea!

WhoKnowsWhereTheTimeG0es Tue 04-Oct-16 16:09:13

You are often much closer to HCPs/carers than other people you mix with generally. If you're going to be within arm's reach of other people for anything longer than a passing monent it's courteous to avoid anything but the lightest scents. I've developed migraines from being stuck close to string peefume wearers in cinemas and theatres, and don't get me started on those awful squirty air fresheners.

teainbed Tue 04-Oct-16 16:10:40

Worked in the NHS for 13.5 years never come across a policy like this ever.

Bimbop5 Tue 04-Oct-16 16:21:31

Yes some of them have to as they end up in the hospital when exposed. I know from person experience that perfume and especially cologne gives me congestion and bad headaches. If I'm around perfume long enough I have breathing problems due to asthma. Years ago I worked for a private company and my boss wore extremely strong perfume. I smelled of it when I got home, had to wash my coat every night, lol, ugh. After a week of working there I had terrible asthma and finally went and explained it to her. Oh it was so difficult! I didn't want to offend her. And she gave me my pink Slip! Fired. I told the temp agency that placed me there but there was nothing they could do. Looking back now it was discrimination but really wouldn't have been worth it to pursue.

Bimbop5 Tue 04-Oct-16 16:23:25


Yes it's sad for these people it's very isolating. Most live alone and their lives have become very small.

maggienolia Tue 04-Oct-16 16:26:28

Never heard of this and I work in health care.
The same courtesy needs to apply the other way too. I've been in houses with people smoking and we're expected to suck it up.

Headofthehive55 Tue 04-Oct-16 16:30:56

I'm often on the bowel ward. I am very glad if anyone if anyone is wearing perfume.

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