Article of Interest: Why Are COVID-19 Long-Haulers Developing Fragrance Allergies?

COVID-19 long hauler at home

Our team at the Hoffman Toxicant-Induced Loss of Tolerance (TILT) Program at UT Health San Antonio wanted to share this article from Very Well Health, which describes new fragrance sensitivity in a COVID-19 long-hauler.

We think you may find his experience interesting and relatable.

David Skoog credits COVID-19 with making him allergic to his own car.

The 2013 Chevy Sonic used to serve as his respite from cramped New York subways. Now—four months after contracting COVID-19—Skoog is struck with an onslaught of symptoms every time he steps inside it. His lungs react first, with fits of wheezing and coughing, while his skin erupts in itchy red hives all over his limbs.

“There is an unknown airborne perfume or substance in my car that causes immediate respiratory distress,” Skoog tells Verywell. “The allergy literally came out of nowhere. I think it is tied to my altered sense of smell; I didn’t lose it, but it became hyper-sensitive. Scents such as soap trigger a coughing fit.”

Skoog is a long-hauler, which means that while a viral test will declare him free from COVID-19, his body says otherwise. He suffers from a stream of debilitating symptoms such as fatigue, shortness of breath, brain fog, joint pain, and insomnia. They all combine to create what Skoog describes as “an everyday battle controlled by COVID-19.”

The article also discusses treatment and coping strategies. Read the full external article at Very Well Health.

How chemically sensitive are you?

Take the Brief Environmental Exposure and Sensitivity Inventory (BREESI) survey:

  1. Do you feel sick when you are exposed to tobacco smoke, certain fragrances, nail polish/remover, engine exhaust, gasoline, air fresheners, pesticides, paint/thinner, fresh tar/asphalt, cleaning supplies, new carpet or furnishings? By sick, we mean: headache, difficulty thinking, difficulty breathing, weakness, dizziness, upset stomach, etc.
  2. Are you unable to tolerate or do you have adverse or allergic reactions to any drugs or medications (such as antibiotics, anesthetics, pain relievers, X-ray contrast dye, vaccines or birth control pills), or to an implant, prosthesis, contraceptive chemical or device, or other medical/surgical/dental material or procedure?
  3. Are you unable to tolerate or do you have adverse reactions to any foods such as dairy products, wheat, corn, eggs, caffeine, alcoholic beverages, or food additives (e.g., MSG, food dye)?

If you answer YES to any of these three questions, take the Quick Environmental Exposure and Sensitivity Inventory (QEESI) and share the results with your doctor!

To learn more, visit the Marilyn Brachman Hoffman TILT Program website.


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