What I Wear in Bad Air :: Melanie

2016 Melanie and Jaiden 1Melanie and Jaiden

When I wear my mask I noticed people couldn’t see me smile at them and would avert their eyes and not smile at me.

I will usually speak and say hello. Most people will nod or say hello back even if they don’t smile or look at my eyes. Some will shrink away like I have Ebola. I’ve felt like a leper when that happens. I just hate that my kids are learning that lesson about humanity so young. I hope it will help instill a more compassionate nature in them as they see how not to be.

I started using fabric stickers on my mask sometimes and noticed that people would smile at them. I felt less invisible even if it was my stickers they smiled at more than me. I have several different ones including penguins, crosses, and holiday relevant ones I wear around Christmas time.

I have twins, and they need me to be able to function for them. There are still certain places where I do get self conscious, like at their school where kids stare at me. I get scared that I will embarrass them.

My son is a great protector though and will warn me if there is “smelly stuff that makes you sick”.  My teenagers have handled it surprisingly well too.

I have a job that requires dealing with people so I try to make everything as fragrance free as possible. We’re doing a bake sale  to raise money and I’m very nervous because if I need my mask I’ll likely put off potential customers.

I also use the Woody Knows Gas & Pollutant nose filters which are very subtle and help a ton, but they often aren’t enough and they don’t prevent me from swallowing it if the air is thick.

My son was diagnosed at 4 years old with “cough variant asthma”.  I was diagnosed with “adult on-set asthma” and was told it is probably from over-exposure to fragrances and candles. I also get severe migraines triggered by fragrances.

My mother has severe asthma often triggered by perfume and she keeps ending up in the hospital. She wears a mask every now and then, but only after she’s already hurt herself trying to manage without.

My symptoms are triggered mostly by fragrances, but I can’t tell you specifically which chemicals, because I can’t find out what exactly is in the products to try and determine the specific causes. I just know that different products cause asthma attacks, migraines, sneezing and runny itchy eyes, and sometimes dizziness and a nearly complete shut down of my thought processes.

It started slowly, with me only being affected by some perfumes, or some cleaners. Later I became sensitive to nearly all fragranced products, so we ended up becoming a completely fragrance-free family. Luckily I do have supportive friends and family.

It is isolating. I miss a lot of the school events for my kids. All I ever wanted to be was a Mom. When I was a little girl and someone would ask, that was always my answer. I dreamed of the PTO, of volunteering, and of being a part of everything. Instead I miss out on so much, because of what other people are wearing.

~ Melanie

I use the I Can Breathe masks and add stickers to them. I also use the Woody Knows Gas & Pollutant nose filters.


For more info on masks see:

When We HAVE to Wear A Mask to Breathe and Function

Please take action in whatever way you can to ensure we ALL have the right to a healthy environment, and so industries are stopped from polluting us for profit.

also, please

Be fragrance-free. It’s good for you, it’s good for me.

P.S. …  I have no control over the ads or the RELATED posts shown below.



3 responses to “What I Wear in Bad Air :: Melanie

  1. where can I buy good cotton tight masks and nose plugs Woody please in urgent need I live in BC. high pop pollution.

  2. Wow! Thank you Melanie for writing out your story. :) I am sorry though that you have to go through this too. I have Multiple Chemical Sensitivity…which means chemicals and scented products have a very negative impact on my life. It’s not a good club to belong to is it? :-(

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