Has anyone had a respiratory reaction to chemicals that no one else smells when they have a cold? - AgingCare.com

Has anyone had a respiratory reaction to chemicals that no one else smells when they have a cold?

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Okay, first off, I do not suffer from olfactory or any other type of hallucinations.

I just came down with a cold last week, and this afternoon I had the same experience I had a number of years ago, also during the time of a cold. Today, when I opened the door of the balcony to shoo a pigeon away, my lungs took in one gulp of a horrible smelling chemical that I could not identify - a cross between chlorine, ammonia and something else I can't identify. It took my breath away. When I left the apartment shortly thereafter to run an errand, the smell was overpowering in the hallway and outdoors, even at my destination, which was miles away. I had to put my hand over my nose and mouth. Of course, everyone was acting quite normally and the few people I ventured to ask didn't smell anything. When I got home I eventually recovered and called a tele health number. The nurse, at least, believed me and did not think I was crazy. She actually suggested the paramedics but I said I would go to Emergency once I got mom settled. Which I didn't, but I am definitely going to follow up. I don't know if I'm developing some kind of asthma from environmental triggers or if my body is producing its own chemicals that are interacting with those outside because of my cold. I am convinced there's a logical explanation to this, lol.

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Globetrotter, is there any way to determine what other substances could cause the spasms so you can avoid them as much as possible? Something like the skin tests for allergies?

I thought that asthma was in fact latent, silent until it was triggered by certain substances.

You've helped me, though, as I've been working on finding out what triggers some breathing issues for me. The fact that you returned to normal so the issue wasn't asthma is a help in my own sleuthing efforts.

What did your doctor suggest doing if this happens again? I'm wondering also if there are doctors who specialize in environmental health. If not, I think it could be a specialty; there are enough toxins in the environment, that's for sure.

But I'm glad you're feeling better - that's the best news of all.
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Well I went to my doctor yesterday evening and he told me that I what I experienced was a bronchial spasm in response to exposure of a chemical to which I was sensitized (thus the reason why nobody else smelled it), and asked if I had any history of asthma, which I don't. He asked me did my breathing return to normal after the attack and I said yes (I stayed in all Sunday and was able to go back to work on Monday), so he said it wasn't asthma. But how would I know? Isn't there a type of latent asthma where you don't have the attacks but your breathing, particularly inhalation, is inefficient? However, it is probably environmental illness which I had for a number of years.
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Interesting, Sendme2help, although for me it happened when opening the door to the balcony, not driving. I spent thousands of dollars on driving lessons and didn't make it to the road test (once I failed and had to return to the centre just after I started out, the other time I didn't even go for it. Too dangerous for me and others because of my visual spatial/perceptional/reaction time issues. I'll have to hire a chauffeur like Max on Heart to Heart.

I stayed in on Sunday and was able to go to work on Monday, but I have an appointment with my g.p. this evening. I would like to get some breathing tests done to make sure nothing is "afoot".
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Looking up olfactory hallucinations during a full moon, NOT! lol.
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Ok, all the pot smokers and meth cookers in my area-when having a cold, it just smelled different, that could be it, since it was at the door, and for Globetrotter, it was somewhere while driving.
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Over the years I've tried different things at home to help me with my smell scense. Scented candles at first but found after a while I end up with a smooty residue on everything, even when using soy candles with leadless wicks. Lately it's been thoses scented wax cubes - melted with light bulbs instead of candles. They work at first but fade quickly. Plus I have vaulted ceilings in the entire house, except the bathroom - so I have to use three of these wax melting thingies to get the scents to be strong enough. The latest thing I am interested in trying are those aromatherapy defusers. I was looking at the flameless kinds - there are ones that work with ultrasound and ones called nebulizing defusers - not sure how those work but my research seems to indicate nebulizers put out the strongest scent. Has anyone used either of these machines? Neither are cheap so I'm hoping for some recommendations before I plunk out semi-big bucks for something that doesn't do the job. Anyone? Sorry Globetrotter, not trying to hijack your thread - maybe something like this could help you too!
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Globetrotter, mint is wonderful for inhalation - just the fragrance of it (as well as cinnamon) improve my mood. Lemon is another great fragrance. During gardening seasons I'll go outside and pick some lemon balm, bring it inside and rub the leaves periodically.

I also like basil, but it's more of a heady fragrance than mint or lemon. Lavender is another.

And of course, in season, there's nothing to beat the fragrance of peonies and old fashioned (especially some of the David Austin) roses.
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Rainmom, that's not crazy, odours get stuck in my nose for a long time too. Tar just about renders me unconscious too, and diesel! I believe you and I have almost psychic ability when it comes to sense of smell. A couple of friends helped me paint an apartment one day a long time ago. We brought one of those desk lamps with the bendable coil that you could attach to the desk. Well of course the smell of paint made me sick, but in the midst of that I started smelling something burning. The others didn't. We looked around and, sure enough, the heat from the lamp was warping the wood from the desk.

Interesting how our bodies respond differently from the trigger: with me its respiratory and brain fog/confusion; with you its a migraine - how horrible! I hope when I go to heaven it will be scent-free and there will be no burning of wood!
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Sorry, SendmetoHelp, I've been using this strategy for memory retention so I can respond to posts easier; I forgot to delete your comments.
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by-product of the metabolism of the illness no signs of infection ake any medication

SendmetoHelp, it sounds like we have the same experience. Isn't that elusive origin enough to drive you crazy? We should report it to our doctors; I bet there are many more people out there going through and the health profession is clueless. I'm going to get myself checked today.

Pre-existing toxins in the sinuses or brain - very interesting theory, although I, like you, show no signs of infection, yet anyway. However, I am exposed to a multitude of toxic chemicals five days a week combined with household allergens/toxins, so they must have accumulated to some extent in my system.

Now this by-product of the metabolism of the illness, like acidosis and what not, is I believe spot on and I wondered the same thing, particularly if its an ammonia type chemical smell that cannot be identified from any source. It's similar to - and I don't know if you have had the same experience - jumping into the pool and suddenly getting a burning and smell of smoke in your nose. I get that when I change positions during yoga exercises sometimes. That's probably some type of ammonia base. I think are body gasses are out of whack and when they come into contact with another chemical in the environment we get a reaction. This would be an excellent research study for the medical scientists, better than some of the drivel that comes out now.
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