Thanks to the work of scientists Richard Axel and Linda Buck, who won a Nobel Prize in 2004 for their work on our ability to smell (via Nature), we know how and why we are attracted to certain smells and perfumes. Unfortunately for us, perfumes can be so alluring to some people (particularly small children), that this sweet-smelling and attractively packaged liquid might be ingested.
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Perfumes are generally made with a mix of isopropyl alcohol, essential oils, and water-soluble ingredients. Of these, the most known ingredient is alcohol, which is often used to keep a perfume stable and smelling like it should. Healthline says it is difficult to determine if there are any other products in perfumes which we should be aware of as these ingredients are classified as trade secrets — and as a result, these are not listed.
The alcohol found in perfume, which Web Poison Control says can make up between 20 to 95 percent of a scent, is enough to cause trouble if it is ingested because alcohol can cause blood sugar to drop below normal. A spritz or two in the mouth isn”t normally a cause for alarm, but If more than 30 milliliters is consumed, the alcohol in perfumes could be enough to get drunk on; and people (especially children) can get sleepy, develop slurred speech, and have difficulty breathing.
Perfume ingestion can even cause someone to pass out or have a seizure. Because perfumes were not created to be eaten, they can even have toxic alcohols like the ones found in windscreen washer fluid.
Healthline has identified specific physical conditions that could occur if someone you know has perfume poisoning and will need to seek immediate medical attention. These symptoms include higher body temperatures; hives or boils; confusion; and nausea or vomiting. As part of the treatment, you or the patient may be asked to drink plenty of water and to eat small snacks to keep blood sugar from dropping. Overnight hospitalization may also be required depending on how sick you are.
But you won”t need to drink perfume in order to have problems with it. It”s also possible that its scents and fragrances can leave you with skin issues. Symptoms of this problem, which is classified as contact dermatitis, include hives, itchy or flaky skin, burning or redness to the skin, and sensitivity to touch.