Help with a food/air borne allergy

GnizmoGnizmo Registered User regular
I have a question I am hoping y'all can help me with. There is a long version, but the short is that apparently I have an allergy that was in part being masked by (and masking) a chronic rare neuromuscular disorder. I finally figured it out after being dismissed by 4 allergist thanks to Wikipedia, Google, and knowing that black and white pepper come from the same plant. It did take me a solid hour to piece it together though.

Anyways I talked with my doctor who confirmed my suspicions that I have an allergy to limonene which research say is found in approximately 105% of cleaning products with a 4% margin of error. I am only slightly exaggerating sadly. I get really dizzy and my stomach turns after a while pretty dramatically if I smell the stuff. Avoiding it would be nice, but the extra cleaning efforts of Covid make that almost impossible. Honestly, normal cleaning makes it exceedingly difficult. Turns out limonene is used as a very cheap and effective cleaning agent because you get it from orange peels. Ingesting it is obviously worse, but manageable at home at least. I haven't noticed any problems from the smells of food, but I have also been aware of this problem for like 2 weeks now.

Is there a good solution to trying to filter out smells that does not involve blocking up my nose? Are cloth masks a thing that can help here even theoretical? I am way out of my depth to be honest. Any tips on managing a food allergy to shit as common as most citrus, rosemary, and fucking black pepper! would also be appreciated.


  • NightDragonNightDragon 6th Grade Username Registered User regular
    Maybe this is helpful?

    I feel like it's going to be much easier to remove/replace the products you use, rather than try to filter it.

    In the meantime, maybe you can find a room filter that uses replaceable charcoal filters? I have a room air filter to handle pollen, and I've noticed it's also pretty great at filtering out any smells from cooking or the like.

  • GnizmoGnizmo Registered User regular
    For the home the filter could be great and something I hadn't thought of. If it's filtering smells it will probably work I think, and I do like air purifiers in general.

    The mask or portable filter would be to help at work, the store, etc where the cleaning chemicals will mess me right up. Hum. Thinking of it an air filter could do the trick in the office too probably. Being that I should be able to work either in a private office, or seclude myself most of the time thanks to the nature of my work (therapist) it will be pretty easy to set-up too if it is effective.

    Thank you for a really great suggestion!

  • furlionfurlion Riskbreaker Lea MondeRegistered User regular
    The best, but most expensive and least comfortable solution, would be a fitted respirator. That way you could filter out everything. If you want to go the face mask route,I imagine any mask designed to protect from vapors would work better then ones designed to protect from particles.

    sig.gif Gamertag: KL Retribution
  • dispatch.odispatch.o Registered User regular
    Generally speaking odors aren't an allergy, they're a sensitivity. It doesn't mean they can't cause all the same symptoms for a different reason though. Especially if it's an odor of something you have an allergy to.

    I work with a lady who's allergic to citrus oil. She has symptoms of a chemical sensitivity when she smells it, but as long as she's not in contact with the protein that causes the reaction she doesn't go into anaphylaxis. You've never seen someone in their 70s move as fast as she does if she gets the faintest hint of someone peeling an orange.

    So that should be good news, you shouldn't be able to go into anaphylaxis from the odor by itself. It also means antihistamines won't do any good. The only thing I can think of to get rid of the odor "contamination" would be to wipe everything down with a light mixture of water and vinegar. Perhaps start with your office and bedroom.

    There's nothing about coronovirus that requires we go apeshit with harsh cleaners. Soap and water is just fine, dilute bleach if you really want to until you find a more traditional cleaner you can tolerate.

    I have a similar reaction to most perfumes, including the ones they put in shampoo and candles. Hospitals are supposed to be scent free but half the people there drown themselves in stink because they are assholes.

    Odors are really difficult to filter without finding the source. You're in for an awful lot of reading labels and wiping surfaces. I have no solution for places outside your home unless you buy a respirator with cartridges or a disposable mask rated for nuisance odors.

    The 3M P95 line is what I've used for painting and using solvents. It works pretty well.

  • GnizmoGnizmo Registered User regular
    The good news is I have not had an anaphylaxis reaction yet, and I have been hit with this stuff daily for the last 35ish years. I admit the odor part has me confused because it doesn't quite make sense to me that I would have an allergic reaction, but Benadryl definitely helps even from the smell so I am pretty sure it is.

    The soap part is a big frustration though. So limonene is used as a cleaner because you make it from orange peels. Any cleaner with a lemon or orange scent will likely have limonene. If it doesn't, then it still might! Dawn dish soap has it, for example, and it is NOT listed on the package. You see it's an essential oil so it doesn't have to be listed as it can be considered a trade secret. I have found one company willing to label all the stuff they use called 7th generation or something close to it.

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