The Southwest Health District reminds patients and visitors that its 14 county health departments and their campuses, other facilities and events are fragrance-free and tobacco-free to ensure that environmentally-sensitive patients won’t experience ill effects during visits.
“That means staff members, patients and visitors are asked to refrain from wearing fragrant products such as perfume and hand lotion when they come to health departments,” said Southwest Health District Health Director Dr. Jacqueline Grant.
“People may not realize that an application of the perfume they enjoy may trigger a significant reaction in someone sitting next to them in a waiting room,” she said. “Yet we have literally had to bring out crash carts, stabilize patients and get them emergency care because of adverse affects caused by sensitivity to a fragrance.”
In addition, it is not uncommon for patients and visitors to county health departments to have respiratory conditions made worse by exposure to tobacco smoke, she said.
“People with lung disease, the elderly and the very young are among those who are most at risk of complications from second-hand and even third-hand smoke,” Grant said. “Studies show that after the smoker has departed, tobacco smoke lingers on fabric and clothing, where it can cause harm to someone vulnerable who comes into contact with it.”
She stressed the fragrance-free, tobacco-free policy aims to make visits to the health departments and public health-related activities as comfortable and healthy as possible for everyone.
“Nobody wants to see infants, the elderly or those who have chronic diseases suffer unnecessarily,” Grant said. “We believe when the public understands why policies such as this one are in place, they are supportive.”
For more information, contact your local county health department or go online to www.southwestgeorgiapublichealth.org.