Reactions to Disinfectants

I'm really not sure if this is allergy related, asthma related or if it's somehow related to both (so I'll post on both forums to be safe).

Tonight, I sprayed our couches and pillows with Lysol. This is normal for me when I'm picking up the house and tidying up. My husband and son were out on the tractor when I sprayed the couches. A short time later after they came back inside, I'd say within 10 minutes or so, my husband and son sat down on the couch together. Very soon after our son said he was itching badly. We looked on his torso and sure enough he was breaking out in hives. We gave him a dose of Benadryl to try and keep the hives from becoming widespread.

Has anyone else ever experienced this, or something similar? And if so, would Seventh Generations disinfectant spray be any safer than the Lysol (since it's plant based)? Advice?



Comments 37

  • Melanie Carver

    Hi @CAPuttPutt,

    Sorry to hear about the hives and I hope they haven't spread. I think it would be hard to know if it was related to the Lysol or related to something he was exposed to while outside on the tractor (especially since spring pollen allergies are in full force right now).  Does he have any known allergies?

    (Side note: I combined your two posts into one and then "shortcut" them to both forums so that all responses will be in one place for you.)

  • K8sMom2002

    Hugs on the hives! I agree — it could be the Lysol or it could be environmental allergies.

    It had been awhile for us to have experienced that, but a few weeks back, DD woke up with hives in the small of her back and itching all over. We didn't think it could have been anything she ate (she'd not eaten anything since supper the night before.)

    The pollen that day was super high, and she'd been playing with a friend's new puppies that were "outside puppies," so it could have been a combo of all that. 

    Our allergist also says that hives can be the result of a kiddo's "allergy bucket" overflowing. High pollen plus something else (the Lysol, exercise, stress or excitement, a food that he usually tolerates, or all of the above) could combine to create a perfect storm for hives. 

    Could you talk to your allergist's office and see what they would suggest? 

  • CAPuttPutt

    @Melanie Carver Thank you for helping with the forum I know the allergens are in full swing right now, especially here where we are in FL (oak pollen is terrible here). The last two days have been wet so I thought that most of the allergens that were flying around in the air would have been grounded (at least while it was wet). I'm sure it didn't inhibit them all, but I was hoping it would've cut down on them.

    Our sons allergies have actually not been bad this season, though the husband and I have been suffering. I actually didn't know I had an ear infection (and sinus infection) until last Tuesday about 3am, when I woke up in severe pain. Turns out my eardrum had ruptured. I see an ENT tomorrow to find out why, as an adult, I've been getting so many ear infections (I've had probably 6-8 since Dec. 2016), and to see if I will be able to fully regain my hearing in the effected ear.

    @K8sMom2002 Thank you! I haven't called the allergist. My thinking was that if it happened again, I would call. I just figured they would tell us a "give him Benadryl, and watch for any more hives" type answer, which is honestly all they can do over the phone. He's spontaneously broke out in hives before, back in early January. We were at my brothers house for the week and after showers he was playing with my nephew in his room when he came out and said he was all itchy. Lifted his PJ top and poor thing was washed down with hives all over his torso and back. Gave him Benadryl and put some calamine lotion on him. Then over the next three to four days he would break out in hives (this was after we had gotten back home), but it was less severe each time, and only on his extremities.

    He went outside today, and he said he was itching on his stomach….but we went back inside and he never did break out, the itching subsided as well.

    Sometimes allergies just don't make much sense as to the why's and how's of when they'll strike.

  • LK

    CAPuttPutt,  Oh, that is painful to have your eardrum rupture!  Years ago I had a blister on my eardrum and that was painful enough!  Never did know what it was from.  Hope the ENT can help!

  • K8sMom2002

    Hugs on the ear pain — I do hope the ENT can help solve the mystery!

    I used to hate to "bother" a doctor by calling — I was afraid I would just be viewed as a pest. But then a doc told me gently that he can only assume no news is good news and that everything is going fine unless I call and let them know of a problem. 

    Our DD's hem/onc is the same way — even if we don't come in (and it's 3 hours away, so we only come in if absolutely necessary), he likes to know if something goes wrong or something unexpected happens. They like to note it in her chart so they have a record of it. 

    Another way you could handle it is to start a symptom journal so when you do visit with the doctor, you'd have a list of everything that has happened.

  • Melissa G

    @CAPuttPutt has your son had any more itching the last few days?

    Our weather here has been crazy, warm for a few days, then cool and snow!  We are all struggling with our allergies/sinuses.  

  • CAPuttPutt

    @Melissa G He’s had a couple of “mom, I’m itchy” moments, but none have produced hives or anything of the like. I did notice his nose was running a tiny bit today, but it wasn’t bad. 

    I, however, have been suffering with my sinuses. Turns out, my chronic ear infections have been caused from my sinuses being so severe (saw the ENT Wednesday). The dr switched my nasal allergy medicine & scheduled me for allergy testing in April. I take Zyrtec every morning, Benadryl at night, and do my nasal spray morning & night, but still I’m congested and going through Kleenex like candy. Depending on the outcome of the allergy testing, we may consider allergy shots. We have to do something about my sinuses. If not, my ear & sinus infections are only going to become more frequent and severe, which can damage my hearing permanently. 

    Sorry, I got a little off topic here. 😐 

    Thank you for asking about him! We had a mild cold front move through yesterday with rain and wind, but tomorrow it’s supposed to be in the 80’s (Florida). Sometimes fronts can make his asthma flare up, but this one did not  

  • Melissa G

    Glad to hear your son is doing a little better! I hope the runny nose doesn't turn into anything. 

    Uggh, on the sinus and allergy front! It is so hard trying to find the right medication combination.  There are five of us in my house and we are all on different meds to control our symptoms. Good luck with the allergy testing! I hope the drs can get you some relief asap! 

  • Shea

    I have heard of Lysol reactions. Clients where I used to work had bad reactions to Lysol and the certain laundry detergents–that was before I ever had allergies or asthma. I am not a fan of Lysol since having asthma, I started using this anti-allergen spray for the couches (its expensive so I just use it once every month for the couches):


    Then vacuum them weekly, and my couch cases do unzip and come off so I wash them quarterly (probably more like twice a year but I try to do that quarterly they are just a pain!). 


  • K8sMom2002

    Omigoodness, Shea, Lysol does me in, too! Some years ago my sister brought in a can of Lysol in amongst her cleaning supplies when we "gift" each other with helping to clean. Somehow it got left behind and DH found it. So not good! I kept having to hide it until I could return it, and he kept finding it! 

    Caputtputt, hugs on the sinuses — that's not so very off topic, if you ask me! I hate that you're enduring it — hoping you'll feel better soon. And I do hope you and your doc can figure out a good plan forward so that you can preserve your hearing! I've heard many people have found relief with allergy shots — it takes a while, but they were helpful to some.

    Glad your kiddo is doing better as well. Hope the "mom, I'm itchy" moments will go away soon!

  • Marie E Natzke

    Catputput, I get allergy shots every 2 to 3 weeks. They help me. I get 3 shots. Pollen ragweed dust mites/ molds/ dog,cat,birds 

  • Kathy P

    I get allergy shots too. They do seem to help, but it is a time commitment. 

    Sorry about the sinus issues. I've dealt with chronic sinusitis in myself and my son. It took back to back to back rounds of antibiotics to finally clear it up. Has you doc ever recommended sinus rinses? They really help for me. 

  • Tiffany F.

    absolutely avoid Lysol!  I dont even have asthma and that crap flares me up!  Its very very bad for even 100% healthy lungs.  If you want a fabric refresher, try Mrs. Meyers Room Refresher, its made with essential oils and no chemicals.  I make my own cleaning products now, and buy my laundry soap (much cheaper) .  Grove has all-natural products and I cant remember how they do it, but they are much cheaper than the prices you'd find on that stuff in the grocery store.  We have completely went all-natural in our house. 

    I made a video of how I make my all-purpose cleaner for our house for pennies.  And on that channel, I have a whole playlist on asthma-friendly topics.

  • CAPuttPutt

    @Kathy P Yes, the doctor gave me the rinse bottle. I have to get some distilled water though before I can use it. Brain eating amoebas scare me. 

    Thanks @Shea! I looked up the link you sent. The reviews were really good on it. 

    @Tiffany F. I actually have used Grove before. I try to stick with good cleaning products, such as Mrs. Meyers, Seventh Generation, etc. Lysol and bleach are usually the only harmful chemicals I clean with, and that’s simply because I’m unsure if anything else can work as well as them. Since this reaction to Lysol, I’ve been looking at the SG disinfectant spray. Generally I trust their products. Thank you for the videos as well, I will definitely look at them!! 😉

  • Shea

    Yw. I feel like that spray helps me– (the couch is one of my banes on cleaning). I wish I woulda got a wipable couch! (One day, lol). I also spray and wipe my mattress casing when I dont feel like unzipping it and washing it (I cannot wash that thing weekly–its too hard, so that is my compromise). 

  • CAPuttPutt

    @Shea Yes, we have the allergen mattress covers too, but I will not wash it weekly…’s such a pain! I’m in the process of “deep cleaning” our house….and I’m congested from it. But I’m hoping it will help in the long run. The new nasal spray helps (astelin) and I’m still taking Zyrtec and Benadryl. 


  • Melissa G

    @CAPuttPutt-have you talked to your doctor about maybe switching your antihistamine? For me, it seems if I stay on one med for so long it isn't as effective. A switch may help. 

  • Tiffany F.

    @Shea  & @CAPuttPutt  I am not in any way trying to sound rude just wondering why you feel the need to clean your couch often?  Pets?  Its not something I think about very often.   Can I suggest maybe getting the couches professionally cleaned? Lysol leaves residue behind, so while you "may" be getting the anti-bacterial effect (I dont think bacteria lives on fabric very long) you are still putting a lot of build-up on your fabric over time.   And these particles remain and can irritate everyones skin and breathing.   So you have to remember to weigh pros vs cons.  Bacteria are not all bad, so day to day bacterias around your environment aren't necessarily bad they assist your immune system in learning to fight.  Having a sterile environment isn't the goal, and would have to check again but I am pretty sure bacteria don't survive but a few days on fabrics so most things are completing the life cycle with no issues.  Therefore, I am not sure if you want to be spraying lysol all the time.  if you have a particularly bad bout of sickness in the house perhaps set aside a fund in the savings to where you plan to have your couches professionally upholstery cleaned once a year (which is great care for most couches).   I would skip the lysol altogether.  

    I am trying to get a better grasp on why you want to use Lysol so much so I can understand and offer better suggestions.  If there are any in the house, I'd recommend no pets on the fabric couches.  Plan to budget to get them cleaned once a year around sick season and skip the lysol altogether.  

  • Tiffany F.

    PS.  I just got my couches cleaned by a local Service master cleaning company and they are like brand new!  We have them cleaned every spring along with what carpet we have.  Even when I spray Mrs. Meyers I avoid the couches, because I dont want lingering residue to build up. My carpets get cleaned twice a year due to my daughters allergies and asthma.  We plan to get bamboo flooring throughout (hopefully next year)

  • K8sMom2002

    Tiffany, you make a good point about overusing antibacterial cleaners. I know we depend on them a lot because those of us with asthma that's triggered by upper respiratory infections dread catching other people's germs, but Lysol and other aerosols trigger my asthma, so that's one thing I can't use. 

    One thing that I've really enjoyed is my steamer. The manual that comes with my particular steamer says that it disinfects if you expose a surface to 8-10 seconds of steam. It freshens up the scent of things without adding fragrances or chemicals.

    Of course, if you have a large surface, it will take some time, but like you point out, you don't have to go to that trouble every day for most items.

  • CAPuttPutt

    @Tiffany F. We have microfiber suede couches, which I do not like. We plan to get different living room furniture when the kids are older, but for now this is what we're dealing with.

    I didn't take your reply as rude at all!  But I do appreciate you making sure that @Shea and I knew you were coming from a place of helpfulness, not rudeness….sometimes there can be confusion and misinterpretations.

    My primary reasons for spraying Lysol is the fact that we a) have 3 boys b) live in the country on 50 acres with a garden, creek, and pond c) my boys love being outdoors and playing with everything nature provides (lizards, frogs, dogs, goats, rust, mud, dirt, the pond, the fish in the pond, minnows, toads, etc) and finally d) have outside animals – none inside. We have the boys wash their hands when they come inside, but frankly if they've been hugging on a goat, cat or dog, I know their clothes have nasty microbial things on them (not to mention that they are going to wipe their hands on their clothes, especially if they're fishing at the pond and changing the bait on their hooks), and it's just not practical for them to change several times a day. They don't always come in and go straight to the couches, but at times they do…and eww.

    I completely agree that the overuse of antibacterial agents can, in the end, do more harm than good. Bacteria can and will become resistant to them if overused. We use the pocket bacterial hand sanitizes only when we cannot wash our hands.

    @K8sMom2002 I would love to invest in a carpet cleaner, one that allowed me to also clean the couches. What kind of steamer do you use?

  • LK

    Caputtputt,  We live on some acres and have horses.  When our kids were little we also had dogs and since they were in 4-H, they raised bucket calves and steers.  So I completely understand about the clothing having all sorts of stuff on it that you don't necessarily want in the house but can't have our kids changing clothes multiple times during the day.    

  • Tiffany F.

    Can you have indoor clothes and outdoor clothes? they change as they go in and out? but its the same outfit for the day… they just have to change, so it may make them think twice about running in and out so much.  My mom always locked the door on us – once we were out, we were out other than for meals!  I now understand….  Having a toddler I relate to the constant dirt, we have had to do more laundry for sure but always change her upon coming in as its the only way I can keep the house preserved.   I figure is another load or 2 a week worth preserving expensive sofas and carpets for years to come.  Usually in the summer she's in shorts and tanks so they take up hardly any room in our washer, its nothing to throw those in with another load.   I have just surrendered to the fact I will be doing LOTS of laundry for the next 20 years!  

  • K8sMom2002

    Caputtputt, my steam mop is from Reliable — a Steamboy . I've had it since 2008 or 2009.

    I've actually used my Steamboy to steam my sofa.

    My sister recently loaned me her half of my mom's Shark canister steamer. I like it so well that I may buy my very own. They don't make a Shark canister steamer anymore, I don't think, but I've seen this similar  that looks to be similar — and it's fairly inexpensive, at about $140. With it, it would be easy to steam clean soft upholstery. 

    I paid about a hundred bucks for my Steamboy back in 2008-09, and I know it's earned its keep in just saving me $$ from cleaning solutions, not to mention not having to put up with breathing problems from fumes.

    Another trick that I use, because my indoor dog likes to get on my sofa: On the arms of my soafa, I keep throws. I spread out the throws on the sofa for her to lie down on, then I wash them in hot water. Maybe before your guys come in, you could put a "barrier" throw down?

    My mom INSISTED on having sofa cushions that had zippers so she could wash the covers. Alas, these days it's really hard to find sofas with 1) removable cushions and 2) cushions with zippers. 

    The last sofa I got, I told my DH that if he messed this one up, I would replace it with lawn furniture that I could hose off.

  • CAPuttPutt

    @LK Yes! Living and working on a farm/land is a whole different can of worms. Usually, we are outside on the weekends. Boys go in and out to get different toys, depending on what they're playing (survival, hunting, cops, etc) so the house suffers. I do make them take off their boots & shoes when they come in….I have a big plastic basket at the door just for shoes.

    @Tiffany F. Changing clothes (having one indoor and outdoor set per day) might work for us during the week, I'll have to try it I stay with our youngest and do virtual school with him here at home due to his asthma. But on the weekends it would not. I do agree that it would help save the furniture. And when we get a new living room set, there will be much different rules as to how we care for it and such. We try, now, to put towels down if we have to sit on furniture while we're dirty or sweaty….and it does help.

  • CAPuttPutt

    @K8sMom2002 HAHAHA!!!! Yes I completely understand! I do have the hubs to put down towels and he's great about doing it. He and I both can't stand the couches we have now, but both try to preserve them as much as we can against abuse.

  • LK

    Caputtputt, Yes, we always took and take our barn shoes off in the garage and don't wear them in the house.  Like your family we were outside most of the weekends and the kids would run back in the house for various things.  Good memories!    The years go by so quickly!!

  • Melissa G

    When Bekah gets back from her horseback lessons, her boots get left at the door, and she goes straight for the shower. She is normally covered from head to foot in dirt.    I still do not understand how she gets so dirty! 

  • Shea

    @Tiffany F. I dont use lysol, (I dont do well with lysol) but I use an anti-allergen spray, it has this neutalizing ingredient for dust mites, dander, pollens as well. We dont shower/bathe every night and often we come home after being outdoors and sit on the couch without changing first… I definitely shower and change after yardwork, but not each time I go out, and we have had high pollen counts every day lately. And I also have been airing out my new mobile home to let this formeldyhyde new smell out (its almost gone now)…. The weather was nice for it, but we had high pollen counts, so I sprayed it on after those airing out days. It says to apply every 30 days . I vacuum my couch too. Its a fabric couch so dead skin cells and dust mites will get on it and we both have allergies to those.

    I used to break out when vacuuming but not since getting this high quality Hyla vacuum that really prevents dust from shooting out as I vacuum. But in the future a wipable couch will easier to manage!

    I spray my zipper mattress encasement with the ADMS anti-allergen spray because my allergist said that dead skin cells will fall through sheets and normally would go into a mattress but if you the zippered encasement they just kinda sit on the encasement and collect and then dust mites get on them and eat them and if u put a clean sheet on top of that it isnt going to do much– the dust and mites will be on the encasement!– so I spray the anti-allergen spray and wipe it when I wash the sheets and that seems to help with that issue. I wash the encasement too just not weekly–more like monthly-ish. 


  • LK
    Melissa G posted:

    When Bekah gets back from her horseback lessons, her boots get left at the door, and she goes straight for the shower. She is normally covered from head to foot in dirt.    I still do not understand how she gets so dirty! 

      Your Bekah is a girl after my own heart as far as horses go!!  

    That's what happens when you have fun with creatures who love to roll in dirt, mud or whatever is available!  Fond memories!!  

    Does she ride Western or Hunt Seat/English in her lessons?  I think you are on the eastern part of the US, so probably Hunt Seat?  How long has she ridden?

    Sorry for all the questions!  Just love to talk 'horses'!!    

  • CAPuttPutt

    I am in the process of spring cleaning at the moment. I love the feeling of having a beautiful, clean smelling house. Until this year, I never realized just how bad cleaning makes me feel, as far as sinus congestion and headaches go. I've always just assumed I felt so crappy because of my nerve disorder. I'm not completely congested, only slightly, but I have noticed I can hear fluid in my ears again.

    Have any of you used a Swiffer mop, one that is supposed to "trap and lock dust"? We have hardwood floors (laminate) and even when I sweep and mop, you can still see dust on the floor when the sunlight is shining in.

    @Tiffany F. I am in the process of getting my order together from I don't know where you live, but right now Publix has Seventh Generation products on sale for 25% off, and sometimes you can find coupons for SG. Just a thought if you live near a Publix.

  • Shea

    Oooh thanks for the sale tip @CAPuttPutt I love 7th generation products. I also like the dry swiffer pads for the swiffer, but dont frequent the wet ones because I like to use unscented and they have quite a scent (although it doesnt bother me as bad as some other products). I often will vacuum, then the next day swiff and mop because doing it all in one day is too much for me. Swiffing is better than sweeping to me. I have hard floors too (except for I use a small rug by the front door and just in front of the shoe basket and they trap a lot of dirt so it doesnt just blow around the floors. I also have an area rug in the living room. I consider these little rugs dust traps that help prevent the dust from always being kicked up in the air.

  • CAPuttPutt

    @Shea Thank you! I’m seriously considering purchasing the Swiffer for the dust. 

    Also, I don’t know what kinds of cleaning products you use but Publix has a pretty good sale going on. Clorox cleaners, Lysol wipes,etc. are also on sale (which I usually add coupons to so I get a really good deal). I added a pic of one of the sale pages. Just a heads up! 😉

  • Tiffany F.

    @CAPuttPutt thank you for sharing!  I am near Pittsburgh and we don't have Publix around here 

  • K8sMom2002

    Tiffany, sometimes you'll see similar sales at other chains … worth a shot! Also, my DH is in the grocery business, and he says that most stores/chains are on a six-week cycle. So if something on sale and you miss it, keep an eye out in a month and a half … chances are something similar will be on sale again. It might not be that brand, but it could be that type of product.