Spring strikes 40 million Americans with seasonal allergies each year bringing on the usual coughing, sneezing and red itchy eyes. But researchers report that allergies may also cause psychological harm. Studies show allergies worsen mood, cognition and quality of life and can double the likelihood of depression.
On the surface, if you can’t sleep well and you’re rundown and miserable, it’s bound to worsen your mood and make you more vulnerable to depression. Moreover, when you’re congested and have to breathe through your mouth to get oxygen, it’s irritating and unattractive. Sufferers often avoid socializing and isolate themselves which further increases their risk of depression.
There’s no evidence that allergies actually cause people to feel depressed, but emerging studies reveal allergies can be a risk factor for depression. Beyond the sleep problems that can lead to poor concentration and depression, research suggests that there’s a biological component to the “allergy blues” that afflict so many allergy sufferers.
Q: I am really sensitive to perfume and fragranced body products (especially soaps and lotions). I get a rash and I cough when I spray on perfume or am near someone wearing heavy cologne. What’s in them that is so irritating? ~ K.A., Huntington Beach, CA
A:Artificial fragrances aresynthetically-derived substances used solely to impart an odor. They are a common offender of adverse allergic reactions.
Pre-market approval of fragrance materials is NOT required. With the exception of color additives and nine prohibited ingredients, fragrance manufacturers may use any raw material in a fragrance formula and are exempt from disclosing the chemicals on their label.
Fragrance ingredients need only be listed on the label as “fragrance” thereby limiting the FDA’s surveillance and actual authority over the fragrance industry.
Fragrance Free or Unscented…..Are They Really?
There are no official government definitions for “fragrance free”, “unscented”, or “natural fragrance”. In short, manufacturers can formulate their own interpretation of such label claims.