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SJHH / Patients & Visitors/ Your Visit Or Stay/ Scent-free Campuses

Scent-free Campuses

St. Joe's has a scent-free policy!

We are committed to providing a scent-free environment. We request that all staff, physicians, learners,volunteers, patients and visitors respect the health of others and use unscented/fragrance-free personal care products. 

This includes perfume, cologne, scented aftershave, lotions, soaps, sprays, hair products.  

Facts about Fragrances, Scents and  Perfumes:

  • Fragrances are mixtures of hundreds of different chemicals designed to have a particular scent.
  • Most of the chemicals in fragrances remain in the air for a long time.
  • Some people are more sensitive to perfumes and other scented products than others. The health effects of fragrances can include: headaches, dizziness, nausea, fatigue, shortness of breath/wheezing.
  • Fragrance-free products are preferred over Scent-free or Unscented. Such products are available at local drugstores/grocery stores at the same price as their scented versions. 

For more information:

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. Who does the Scent-free Policy apply to?
This policy applies to staff, physicians, volunteers, learners, patients, visitors, contractors. 
2. Why does the hospital need to be scent-free?
St. Joe's is scent-free because scents/fragrances can make some of our patients and staff feel sick. We want to create and maintain a healthy and safe environment for everyone. See the next question and answer about symptoms some people may experience.
3. What symptoms can some people experience when exposed to fragrances/scents? 
About 30% of Canadians have some type of sensitivity to fragrances. Severity can vary from person to person. 
Some people experience mild symptoms while others experience significant symptoms which can include:
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness
  • Nausea
  • Shortness of breath/wheezing
  • Fatigue
  • Skin irritation
  • Numbness
  • Difficulty with concentration
  • Insomnia
4. Products are labelled “fragrance-free”, “scent-free” and “unscented”.  What is the difference?
“Fragrance-free” products generally do not contain any added fragrance and therefore are better tolerated by most people. 
“Scent-free” and “unscented” products may contain chemicals that mask the odour of the product therefore may affect persons who have sensitivity to fragrance.  
Look at the ingredient list on the back of the product.  If “fragrance” or “parfum” is listed as an ingredient, it means that the product does contain fragrance – even if it’s labelled as “unscented” or “scent-free”.
5. What can I do to prevent harming people affected by scents? 
You can avoid using perfumes, colognes, scented aftershaves, lotions, deodorants, hair products. Choose “fragrance-free” personal care products. Many can be found at your local drugstore/pharmacy/grocery store. 
6. If no one in my work area is bothered by scented products, do I still need to adopt scent/fragrance-free practices at St. Joe’s?
Yes. Some people may be suffering in silence and/or you may travel to other areas or persons come to your area. Hallways, elevators, meeting rooms are common areas in which fragrances linger in the air.
7. Are essential oils permitted?
No, essential oils are not permitted at St. Joe’s.
8. Are flowers permitted?
Flowers with strong scents are not permitted. Florists can assist with this when purchasing/ordering flowers.  
Examples of flowers with strong scents and should be avoided in hospital are freesia, lilacs, lavenders, lilies, hyacinth, narcissus, chrysanthemum, helianthus and peonies. 
9. How is this policy communicated to all?  
A communication campaign with information and resources on our internal and external channels is underway. This includes information on our website, unit signage, and all-staff communication. Additionally, work has started to include this on appointment cards/notices/phone calls.
10. Who can I go to for assistance if there is a situation which needs attention? 
The managers and directors of every program are available and can help. If you’re a patient or visitor and you’ve already left your appointment or unit, please feel free to fill out a Patient/Family Feedback Form here

Thank you for your co-operation and for helping maintain a healthy and safety environment for everyone at St. Joe's!