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Friday, February 1, 2013

Essential oils causing asthma attacks?

(Shutterstock image)

Can essential oils cause an asthma attack? I recently heard about teachers who were having asthma attacks because parents of their students were using essential oils.

Essential oils are the natural compounds that can be found in roots, flowers, bark, stem or seeds of plants. Some people believe they have healing powers.

Essential oils can smell quite strong, and the problem with that is in my opinion, essential oils can fall under the "irritant" category of causing asthma attacks. Irritants are strong scents that can cause asthma attacks. It can be cigarette smoke, cleaning agents, perfumes, etc.

Keep in mind that when you have asthma, your body "over-reacts" to simple things. Things that don't bother other "normal" people-like being around pets, breathing cold air, eating certain foods, exercising, etc, can bother someone with asthma. There's a whole list of things that can cause asthma attacks.

And just because it doesn't cause a problem for you, doesn't meant that it isn't a problem for someone else. I'm not bothered by certain medications, but other people are. That doesn't mean it's not an asthma trigger, just that it is for them.

I found one website that talked about asthma and essential oils. This is from Escents Aromatherapy:

Many aromatherapy books warn against using essential oils to treat asthma. Some asthma sufferers are sensitive to fragrance and find that it triggers attacks. While you don't want to make the situation any worse, aromatherapy, using essential oils, can offer promising results when used with care. Because asthma sufferers can be extremely sensitive to scent, do a sniff test first. Test the essential oils or blend of oils you want to try by simply sniffing it to make sure there is no adverse reaction.

Just one more thing to think about when you have asthma and a body that over-reacts to irritants. We need to protect our lungs, they're the only set we have!

27 comments:

  1. some of food that also trigger asthma attack like peanuts and nuts, According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAI), more than 3 million people in the U.S. have allergies to various foods, including peanuts.

    AOK Emergency Room

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    1. Thanks James, I blog about a lot of different asthma triggers. There are a lot of foods that trigger asthma attacks, such as soy, wheat, eggs, milk, tree nuts, and seafood.

      And new triggers can happen at anytime, even with things you have been exposed to before.

      You always have to be on guard when it comes to asthma :)

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  2. I think the biggest problem is in using essential oils that are fragrance grade and not therapeutic grade oils. Many of the oils on the market say they are all natural when they in fact have fillers or are chemically processed to get more oil. My husband can not walk down the soap or perfume aisle in a store yet has not had one problem with any essential oil made by YOUNG LIVING. They are organically grown and pure

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    1. Hi Flowerhugger. I understand what you are saying, there are a lot of strong scents out there. I am glad you found something that works for you! :)

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    2. there is no such thing as theapeutic grade, its a lie. I have had a reaction to a YL oil, had to use my rescue inhaler because of it. So it can happen to all brands.

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    3. That's the frustrating thing about asthma, we all can react differently. You have to know your body and know what you need to avoid and what works for you. I'm glad you are being careful :)

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    4. I don't even have asthma and I reacted severely to diffused Young Living essential Oil. I nearly ended up in the ER. I feel it is way over used. This happened in a place of business that had a diffuser going. THANK YOU for bringing this issue to light.

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    5. I don't even have asthma and I reacted severely to diffused Young Living essential Oil. I nearly ended up in the ER. I feel it is way over used. This happened in a place of business that had a diffuser going. THANK YOU for bringing this issue to light.

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    6. I had a severe asthma attack this morning in my classroom bc of a student that was covered with Thieves!! Way too much and my asthma went into hyper mode and it sent me home :(

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    7. That's so frustrating! People who don't have asthma don't understand.

      I tell them that it's nice that they can tolerate _________ (perfume, cats, pollen, etc)

      But with asthma, our bodies are like Drama Queens - they over react to things that don't bother other people.

      And many times, we can't stop it from happening.

      If you live in American, you may be entitled to accommodations under your "disability" of asthma.

      Here is some info from the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of American

      http://www.aafa.org/page/asthma-allergies-and-the-american-with-disabilities-act.aspx

      Hope this helps!

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    8. Natural only means that they're sourced from the very flowers and plants I'm allergic to, anything with rose or lavender or Lily will give me any instant headache whether it's natural or fake, sometimes even before I'm aware of the scent

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    9. It's frustrating. Many people swear by essential oils, but ANY strong scent will trigger an asthma attack for me. Frequently, we have to defend ourselves and explain over and over again what asthma is and why we cannot tolerate strong scents.

      It gets old after a while!

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  3. It is very important that we learn the causes of asthma to help us or our love ones overcome any uncertainty...http://newshealthtoday.com/facebook-a-new-cause-of-asthma/

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    1. Hi Francis, thanks for stopping by! Interesting article! That person's story shows that stress can cause asthma attacks.

      It is important to know what can cause (or trigger) asthma attacks so you know to avoid those things. It's different with every person.

      Sounds like that young man had stress as a trigger.

      Hope he's doing well! :)

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  4. I like how the advice given by the aromatherapy person is to test the essential oils by....sniffing them. Sure, let's make people with life-threatening asthmatic conditions *SNIFF* the oils first to see if the oil sends them to the ER, I'm sure they won't mind being guinea pigs.

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    1. I think some people mean well, but we know our bodies best and what may trigger an asthma attack.

      I would not sniff any strong scents, as I know that they WILL trigger asthma attacks for me.

      Stupid asthma!

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  5. I went to an essential party friday,by the time I came home I felt like I was smothering. I have been sick with shortness of breath all weekend

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  6. I went to an essential party friday,by the time I came home I felt like I was smothering. I have been sick with shortness of breath all weekend

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    1. I'm not a big fan of any strong smells. Essential oils would set off an asthma attack for me.

      I hope you used your inhaler!

      I avoid essential oils, scented candles and perfumes. My lungs just can't handle the smells :(

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  7. Thanks for sharing this extremely informative article on asthma causes. I recently read about asthma causes on website called breathefree.com. I found it extremely helpful.

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  8. Thank you for this! We just had the opposite problem. My sons school receptionist was diffusing oils in the front office (and claiming she was using the diffuser as a humidifier only!!!) I had to throw a fit in order to get it removed. It was very irritating to me, and my son even complained that when he goes near the office his chest feels "funny". Glad they are gone now! Use them at home, but not in an environment that affects others!

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    1. That's so frustrating! I agree - use them at home, but not in public where it can cause other people to have asthma attacks :(

      Good for you for sticking up for your son! It's sad that these people will never understand what it feels like to have asthma.

      Sometimes I will have someone jog in place for 30 seconds, then plug their nose and breathe through a straw. I let them struggle physically, then once I see a little panic in their eyes, I'll have them pull out the straw and tell them that is what asthma feels like.

      Only they can pull out their straw, we can't.

      Asthma makes it hard to breathe - which can also make you panic and afraid.

      I wish people would understand that

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  9. I had allergic asthma reaction to wintergreen oil someone used. Have been battling asthma for a month now. Please do not use wintergreen oil. I researched it and found out it has same ingredient as aspirin which bothers me. Also, if you get too much of it, it could literally kill you. I got a massage and the therapist used some on my back and I began having asthma symptoms. So, be sure to tell massage therapists what you are allergic to so they don't make you sick with scented oils.

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  10. I had allergic asthma reaction to wintergreen oil someone used. Have been battling asthma for a month now. Please do not use wintergreen oil. I researched it and found out it has same ingredient as aspirin which bothers me. Also, if you get too much of it, it could literally kill you. I got a massage and the therapist used some on my back and I began having asthma symptoms. So, be sure to tell massage therapists what you are allergic to so they don't make you sick with scented oils.

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    1. Yes, everyone with asthma has different triggers (or causes) of asthma attacks. It sounds like you know what triggers asthma attacks for you. It is important to communicate with your massage therapist, good thinking!

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  11. Yes, I've used ultrasonic diffuser with essential oils. It wasn't too bad. I decided to get an aroma humidifier due to more output of scent. My Chest got tight after 1st day, by day 3. I couldn't catch my breath and inhaler didnt help. I only use inhaler during the change of seasons. So it was very scary feeling. No more essential oils in humidifier.

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    1. That's the problem with asthma, what works for one person may not work for another.

      I try to tell people that asthma is a Drama Queen (if you have teenagers, you know how they can over react.) Our bodies do the same thing with asthma - they over react to things that don't bother other people.

      So, we just have to know what will trigger an asthma attack and avoid it!

      I hope you feel better soon and called your doctor when you were having problems. If I feel like my inhaler isn't working, I call my doctor to see if I need something else.

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