We ask all patients and visitors not to wear anything perfumed/scented when attending the clinic.
We strive to keep the allergy testing clinic as scent-free as possible. The use of scented products is not permitted within the building at any time, including materials used for cleaning. All staff have received training on how to comply with our scent-free policy.
The reason for the restriction on scents is that there are many perfume-, scent-, fragrance- and chemically-sensitised patients attending the clinic who may react to just a small amount of a wide variety of smells. If they are reacting to something in the air, this may affect their allergy test results and, for some, it may cause a reaction which leads to a runny nose, breathing problems, headache or nausea.
Even without using a spray of perfume or aftershave, many people are unknowingly filling the air with scents that may cause an adverse reaction in a sensitive person.
Becoming scent-free is particularly important when undergoing allergy testing and treatment at Breakspear Medical. Anyone wearing scented products may be asked to wash or shower and change into a hospital gown during their visit to reduce the impact.
It is a current cultural phenomenon that so many things are scented and most people feel that a smell like a mountain meadow means that it is clean, fresh and desirable. Not many people give thought to what it is that is creating the enticing artificial smell; the smell is in fact volatile organic compounds (VOCs) being inhaled as vapours and absorbed through the skin.
As Breakspear Medical is a medical facility specialising in allergy and environmental medicine, new reports and studies that focus on these areas of concern are frequently reviewed by our doctors and collected for reference in our medical library.
More and more studies are being published that link more frequently occurring conditions, such as non-specific headaches, asthma, eczema, dermatitis, psoriasis, multiple chemical sensitivities, chronic fatigue and numerous other conditions, to fragrances.
Breakspear Medical recommends that all our patients live a low- or no-scent lifestyle.
Steps to becoming scent-free
Do not use perfume/aftershave or any scented toiletries
- Please avoid using scented soap, standard hair products, skin lotions or any other perfumed toiletries.
- Be sure not to wear clothes, which may still have traces of fragrance on them.
- Standard cosmetics, such as lip balm, should also be avoided. If you use makeup, please ensure it is scent-free.
Wash and dry your clothes with unscented laundry products
- Most laundry detergents, fabric softeners and anti-static dryer sheets are scented, which can adversely affect you and other patients. Use a ‘for sensitive skin’ or scent-free non-biological laundry powder with low perfume levels or none. Note: sometimes it can take several washes to significantly reduce the fragrance from clothes that have been cared for with scented products.
- Bicarbonate of soda will effectively clean your clothes and scent-free anti-static balls in the dryer (which are unscented) will help reduce static and wrinkles.
- Dry-cleaned clothes need to be thoroughly aired, by hanging them unwrapped in a well-ventilated area for an extended period before bringing them into the clinic, or if possible, leave them in your car.
Eliminate air fresheners from your environment
- Do not use house or car air fresheners, particularly ones that spray into the air, as these can adhere to your clothing, a handbag, briefcase, rucksack or footwear, as well as on hair and skin and leave a detectable scent.
- Do not use scented candles or potpourris or burn incense in your home, as these may also leave a scent on hair, skin, clothes and furniture, which could trigger a reaction in you or another patient.