Many people use deodorizers such as incense to cover up or eradicate malodorous smells in their homes. Incense emits a person's favorite scent as it burns, but people can have allergies or sensitivities to it. Though this type of allergy is relatively uncommon, one can suffer any number of symptoms.
Deodorizers like incense often contain fragrances to which people with incense allergies are actually reacting, according to Dr. James Thompson at Healthcentral.com. People with multiple chemical sensitivities or weak immune systems are particularly vulnerable to incense.
While many allergies are caused by organic substances such as pollen and mold and cause the body to produce Immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies, incense allergies are caused by synthetic materials and do not create the same type of physical reaction. That is why some people consider reactions to incense a sensitivity rather than an allergy.
Incense allergies can cause symptoms such as skin hives or dermatitis, shortness of breath, sneezing, headaches, coughing and eye or throat irritation. Extended exposure to incense fragrances can sometimes be life-threatening.
A person with incense allergies should consider using more natural products, such as herbs, extracts and essential oils. These do not contain some of the harmful chemicals that are in the more commercial brands of incense.
There is no cure for incense allergies. If you have this condition, your immunity or allergy symptoms may improve over time to the point where you can handle some exposure to incense. Until then, however, it is best to simply avoid incense and other fragrances entirely.