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  1. #1
    Platinum Member Mercurial Girl's Avatar
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    Air fresheners, headaches, family & misery

    My stepdad recently got these "febreze noticeables" plug ins for the main floor. Ever since he plugged it in, I have had a huge headache. I was unable to sleep last night except for 3 or 4 fragmented hours, because my head was pounding so hard it hurt to have it on the pillow. I've had this headache and nausea for almost 24 hours now. My room is in the basement, but I still smell that stuff wafting down here.

    My night last night, and today (I can barely manage to keep my eyes open right now to type) have been so miserable that I am ready to drop out of school to get a job and move out of here to get away from it. Not only is my headache excruciating, but the scent itself is incredibly nauseating. Leaving the house has no effect, as once I get the headache, it seems to stay with me no matter how much fresh air or painkillers I take. I asked him to unplug it but he doesn't really care as he is having no issues with it. He thinks I'm just being sensitive or something. He has no immediate health issues with scented things the way I do, and I'm very sensitive to them, so he doesn't "get" it.

    He LOVES febreze, he sprays the stuff all the time. At least then, I'm able to avoid the house for a few hours until the smell dissipates. But the plug in air "freshener" is 24/7 and I can't escape it. I try to have the basement windows open as much as possible but it's still very cold out, and even in the dead of summer it can be very chilly down here cause I don't receive any sunlight and there is no padding under the carpet. I have an air purifier in my bedroom (for when my mom comes during summer and smokes 4 packs a day) but it hasn't helped much either.

    I'm seriously ready to throw away my entire university education (and the thoussssands of dollars I paid for it) away if it means being able to get away from this terrible nausea and headache and that disgusting smell...

    But is there anything else I can do? He refuses to stop using febreze and plug ins and febreze scented magic erasers and anything else "febrezey" that he can get his hands on.

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  3. #2
    Super Moderator annie24's Avatar
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    wow! now that's a creative way to get a step kid out of the house! spray them out with febreze! have you talked to your mom about this? many people do have scent sensitivities and it makes sense that you have huge headaches. can you stay in your room and declare it a no febreze zone?
    There's no place like 127.0.0.1.



  4. #3
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    I would advise seeing your doctor and asking him/her to give you a letter stating you have a reaction to this product and that it is dangerous for you.

  5. #4
    Platinum Member Mercurial Girl's Avatar
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    My mom is also in love with the stuff...and she's her own little mess that I wont even get into here. She also lives in Mexico 10 months out of the year, only coming here for the summer. She comes over for those 2 months and smokes like a chimney and so my stepdad sprays more febreze crap to cover the smell. And she likes it because she thinks it means that it's "okay" to smoke inside the house (which she wont quit doing, never, and for nothing in the world)

    I am lucky to have my bedroom in the basement, but the air exchange here just pushes the nasty smell into my room anyway. I try to block it off and close it, but it doesn't do much.
    I still have to go upstairs too, for food or to do laundry, etc. and the headache comes almost immediately after being up there for only a few minutes.

  6. #5
    Gold Member Cadence44's Avatar
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    The companies making air fresheners work hard to make us believe they aren't harmful. How could they be bad when they smell so nice?

    The reality is that air fresheners are full of chemicals, some toxic. The plug in air fresheners release volatile organic compounds, which can definitely cause headaches. Ever get a headache from new car smell? VOCs.

    If you do a search on chemicals in air fresheners, you might be able to educate your parents on what's actually in them. Here's a start: http://www.howstuffworks.com/framed....0524123900.htm

    As someone also sensitive to smells, I can commiserate. It's tough trying to reason with people who don't have the sensitivities... they think you're just whining. It would be nice if they could be in our shoes and experience what it's like.

  7. #6
    Platinum Member SnowFox's Avatar
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    I've wondered why all these air fresheners have become so popular the past few years. I find myself thinking- if you need an air freshener to make your house smell good, isn't that a sign that maybe you should just clean it instead?

    I hope you can find a solution - I personally think those things are unhealthy and while they might be fine for occasional use, to use them constantly just doesn't seem right. I can't see how inhaling chemicals could be healthy for anyone.

  8. #7
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    Omg I thought I was the only one that got bad headaches from air fresheners. My mom used to have one in her van and I told her it bothered me and put it in the back of the car but it still gave me a headache so I asked her if I could throw it out. Then recently the car I bought... The previous owner had an air freshener and I thought it actually didn't bother me but shortly it started to take affect and was hard to rip off but I threw the thing out of my car. LOL. Air fresheners can be nice but can't he use candles or something that isn't going to cause headaches/migraines!!!

    I guess I'd go with what others are suggesting, talk with your mom or see a doctor or something. I'd be pissed too but don't throw away your dreams over it. I'm gonna do some reading up on this myself because it interests me on how these stupid air fresheners cause unbearably painful migraines. Ugh it hurts my head just thinking about it.

  9. #8
    Platinum Member itsallgrand's Avatar
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    I agree with DN.

    It doesn't seem like talking will accomplish anything. So you need to be able to show them that this is making you actually ILL.

    That's pretty bad if you feel you can't even function at home. Do you have an otherwise good relationship with him?

    I relate bc I am sensitive to quite a few chemicals and perfumes; that Axe body spray is real bad for it, my skin breaks out and my throat starts to close up something awful.

  10. #9
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    This is probably terrible advice but if talking hasn't worked, I'd be taking the passive-aggressive approach now.

    While he is sleeping and throughout the day when he is not looking, go around and just unplug the stupid things. Place them on the floor next to the wall outlet. At first, he may just plug them back in. Don't give up and don't back down. Keep unplugging them. Eventually he will get fed up and say something... at that point say "Well f***!... They make me want to puke!!"

    It will force the issue. He will get the hint and if he has any sense of humour at all, he will laugh about it one day.

    Sometimes talking isn't enough. Sometimes action is required.

    I wouldn't suggest throwing them out, though. That's just mean. But a gentle nudge in the right direction sometimes works wonders.

  11. #10
    Platinum Member Mercurial Girl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cadence44 View Post
    As someone also sensitive to smells, I can commiserate. It's tough trying to reason with people who don't have the sensitivities... they think you're just whining. It would be nice if they could be in our shoes and experience what it's like.
    Yes, they both (my mom & stepdad) think that if it doesn't bother them, it must not bother anyone else either

    Quote Originally Posted by TennesseeGirl View Post
    I've wondered why all these air fresheners have become so popular the past few years. I find myself thinking- if you need an air freshener to make your house smell good, isn't that a sign that maybe you should just clean it instead?
    That's the thing...the house is NOT clean...this is why he is using them, I think. He has a dog who he lets piss all over the carpet, and he doesn't ever clean it up. She also pees on the hardwood floor and he does a half assed job of cleaning that too, so it STINKS in this house. He likes the air fresheners because of the illusion of clean. Or err, the smellusion of clean. I point out everything and he thinks he's actually doing a good job of cleaning, meanwhile there are thousands of pee spots on the carpet and who knows what else is festering in the underlay.

    I have two dogs of my own and a rabbit who all stay downstairs and I manage to keep everything looking and smelling clean with baking soda, vinegar, and the occasional few drops of lavendar oil or something like that.

    Quote Originally Posted by itsallgrand View Post
    I agree with DN.

    It doesn't seem like talking will accomplish anything. So you need to be able to show them that this is making you actually ILL.

    That's pretty bad if you feel you can't even function at home. Do you have an otherwise good relationship with him?
    I do have an otherwise good relationship, but he doesn't GET it. I actually threw up in the kitchen sink RIGHT in front of him this morning, and he still thinks it "must be something else"

    Quote Originally Posted by RedDress View Post
    This is probably terrible advice but if talking hasn't worked, I'd be taking the passive-aggressive approach now.

    While he is sleeping and throughout the day when he is not looking, go around and just unplug the stupid things. Place them on the floor next to the wall outlet. At first, he may just plug them back in. Don't give up and don't back down. Keep unplugging them. Eventually he will get fed up and say something... at that point say "Well f***!... They make me want to puke!!"

    It will force the issue. He will get the hint and if he has any sense of humour at all, he will laugh about it one day.

    Sometimes talking isn't enough. Sometimes action is required.

    I wouldn't suggest throwing them out, though. That's just mean. But a gentle nudge in the right direction sometimes works wonders.
    I might end up doing that. I'm a bit uncomfortable doing that though because I am living here rent-free, so I feel like I have no say. But the pain honestly is so immense that I REALLY am considering dropping out of school in order to escape it, so pissing someone off a bit might be my only other option.


    Thanks for the advice everyone.

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