Author Topic: Meeting etiquette meets allergies  (Read 2829 times)

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weschicky

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Meeting etiquette meets allergies
« on: July 19, 2013, 02:38:53 PM »
This didn't happen to me, but since I am highly allergic to fragrance (hives, watery eyes, rashes, headaches, sneezing, you name it) and best treated by avoidance, I want to be prepared if it ever happens, and I've found myself in somewhat similar situations, so I'm wondering if I handled things well....

Coworker was in a meeting of the client's Board.  One of the senior board members pulls out a bottle of cologne IN THE MIDDLE OF THE MEETING and spritzes himself a couple times.  Coworker, who has no allergies, stayed put, but if I were in the room, I would have had to leave for health reasons, or stay in the meeting by sitting as far from the spritzer as possible--a doorway, in front of the air supply register, or something unusual like that.

Would you say something before leaving or moving yourself around mid-meeting, and if so, what?  All I can usually come up with in my panic to leave is "I'm allergic to fragrance and have to excuse myself/relocate" but I wonder, since this is the Board of a client, is that appropriate?  Is it better not to call attention to myself by quietly getting up and moving, leaving people to wonder why I'm gathering all my belongings and relocating?

Outdoor Girl

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Re: Meeting etiquette meets allergies
« Reply #1 on: July 19, 2013, 02:51:17 PM »
First of all, who does that?!?!?

Secondly, I would just get up, gather my belongings while saying, 'I'm sorry; I'm going to have to leave as I am allergic to scents.  Please email me any questions you may have for me.'  And I'd leave.  Sorry, I'm not going to suffer an allergy or asthma attack for a meeting.  I've asked for doors to be opened when a room is getting stuffy but that wouldn't cut it for freshly applied cologne.
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BeagleMommy

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Re: Meeting etiquette meets allergies
« Reply #2 on: July 19, 2013, 04:20:12 PM »
 :o

Protecting your health is not rude.  I would have picked up my supplies and moved to where my allergies wouldn't be affected.  If questioned, you could just say "Because I'm allergic to fragrances, I have to move away when they're applied."

Seriously, who applies cologne during a business meeting?!  That's just bizarre.

EllenS

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Re: Meeting etiquette meets allergies
« Reply #3 on: July 19, 2013, 11:31:23 PM »
I think moving during the meeting would be a lot less disruptive/embarassing than an uncontrollable attack of hives and sneezing.  Better to be proactive (power position) than to be sent out of the room like a little kid who has to go to the school nurse.

*inviteseller

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Re: Meeting etiquette meets allergies
« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2013, 12:51:18 AM »
I also have those allergies and I seem to attract people who bathe in their cologne.  I would just get up and politely say that you have allegies to colognes/perfumes and you would not be able to continue the meeting at this time.

EllenS

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Re: Meeting etiquette meets allergies
« Reply #5 on: July 20, 2013, 01:24:35 AM »

Would you say something before leaving or moving yourself around mid-meeting, and if so, what?  All I can usually come up with in my panic to leave is "I'm allergic to fragrance and have to excuse myself/relocate" but I wonder, since this is the Board of a client, is that appropriate?  Is it better not to call attention to myself by quietly getting up and moving, leaving people to wonder why I'm gathering all my belongings and relocating?

Sorry, misread the first time and thought you were asking whether to move or try to tough it out.  I think you should say something brief, but not overly apologetic.  "Excuse me, I have allergies."  would be enough, I think.  If you were meeting one-on-one with someone perhaps you could reschedule, but in a Board meeting you'd have to either get as far away as possible or leave.

weschicky

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Re: Meeting etiquette meets allergies
« Reply #6 on: July 20, 2013, 07:36:06 AM »
I was in grad school in a small seminar and someone pulled out scented lotion mid-class (clearly her dermotologist never explained that lotion works best on wet skin!) and I had to sit in the open doorway for the rest of class. I know these people are out there and my odds of continuing to find these people are high, like *inviteseller's. Thanks for the backup, folks!

TootsNYC

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Re: Meeting etiquette meets allergies
« Reply #7 on: July 20, 2013, 10:20:47 AM »
First of all, who does that?!?!?

Secondly, I would just get up, gather my belongings while saying, 'I'm sorry; I'm going to have to leave as I am allergic to scents.  Please email me any questions you may have for me.'  And I'd leave.  Sorry, I'm not going to suffer an allergy or asthma attack for a meeting.  I've asked for doors to be opened when a room is getting stuffy but that wouldn't cut it for freshly applied cologne.

Yeah, on all counts. And, who does that?!?!?

And, absolutely, just say, "I'm sorry--I'm allergic to scents and I have to leave right now. Email me?" And go.

Believe me, nobody is going to be thinking YOU are rude. They're going to be right there beside OutdoorGirl and me, going, "Who does that?!?!?"

jaxsue

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Re: Meeting etiquette meets allergies
« Reply #8 on: July 20, 2013, 11:44:30 AM »
I have no allergies to scents, but even I think that spritzing cologne on during a meeting is rude.

Alias

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Re: Meeting etiquette meets allergies
« Reply #9 on: July 22, 2013, 10:17:32 AM »
Scents annoy me, but not to the same extent as you I think!  I back up everyone who says politely leave the meeting.  Ideally mention your allergy before the spraying starts, but I bet that'd be hard!  As it's a client, I'd personally suffer though as it would be more of an annoyance for me than a full blown allergy.

I had a coworker who came to work every day with a very heavy perfume on (Thierry Mugler Angel), and always reapplied it after her lunch.  I'd cough and sneeze my way through the day sitting 6 feet away from her (very open plan office, no walls at all).  I did eventually ask her to reapply it in the bathroom instead of her desk as it bothered my sinuses.  She continued to wear it every day, I continued to sneeze, but felt I couldn't as her not to wear it at all.  She eventually did get tired of it (or maybe someone bought her something different!).

cwm

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Re: Meeting etiquette meets allergies
« Reply #10 on: July 22, 2013, 01:20:05 PM »
I was in grad school in a small seminar and someone pulled out scented lotion mid-class (clearly her dermotologist never explained that lotion works best on wet skin!) and I had to sit in the open doorway for the rest of class. I know these people are out there and my odds of continuing to find these people are high, like *inviteseller's. Thanks for the backup, folks!

OP, in the original situation at a work meeting, I don't think it would be terribly rude at all to get up and leave quietly, and if pressed, explain that you're allergic to scents and don't want to bother anyone else with a reaction, and that they can email you with any questions.

As to the above part, I've been in situations where I was in a lecture type class and had to apply lotion. When I put lotion on my wet skin, it leaves a slimy residue and feels disgusting. I have to wait until my hands are dried off. And sometimes in the winter I have to reapply lotion five or six times a day, depending on how much exposure I have to the outside air. I've had my elbows crack and bleed because of dry air, and without applying lotion constantly they just get worse and worse. It's nearly impossible to find travel sized lotions that work well and have no scent, so I will apologize on behalf of all of us who have to do this, but I never really experienced anyone with allergies so severe that they would have to relocate away from me or outside the room. If someone mentioned it to me, I'd probably try to step outside to apply lotion, if that would help, but there's sometimes where you can't really do anything else or don't realize it's a problem.

But cologne in a meeting? Who DOES that?  :o

bopper

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Re: Meeting etiquette meets allergies
« Reply #11 on: July 22, 2013, 04:23:07 PM »
Clueless people do that!

One time I was driving my exchange student for school, and she sprayed her deodorant in the closed car.
I have asthma and was not happy about that!


If I was at work and someone did that I would go to someone I know and say quietly that I had to step out as that was going to affect my breathing/cause sneezing to disrupt the meeting.  Or perhaps ask if we could take a break and then talk to someone about what to do.

ShadowLady

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Re: Meeting etiquette meets allergies
« Reply #12 on: July 23, 2013, 02:04:47 PM »

One time I was driving my exchange student for school, and she sprayed her deodorant in the closed car.
I have asthma and was not happy about that!


If someone had done that to me in a car before I could stop them, I'd pull over to the side of the road, and make them exit the car, and wait outside while I had both front doors open to air out the car.  And then the rest of the trip would be done with the windows down, even though it would mess up their hair.  It would be the consequence of their action of putting on perfumed items without asking first.