Monday, January 18, 2016

Middleton daycare center scare reminds us that "less is more" when diffusing essential oils.

The Middleton news report (read here) is a great reminder that essential oils are potent, and that it is important to work with a trained aromatherapist to learn SAFE USE.

This could happen at a dog day-care, veterinary clinic, spa, boarding or training facility if improper essential oils are diffused, the diffuser has too many drops of essential oil, or is diffused too long without proper ventilation.

The Middleton daycare staff used essential oils to "help with the different smells in the room of toddlers and to help with the viruses that are going around."

Firefighters on the scene believe that essential oils being diffused caused "the children and teachers in that back room to become nauseous, light-headed and spacey."

A well-ventilated room, the proper amount of nonirritating, nonsensitizing essential oils in a diffuser with a one-hour timer is a safe way to diffuse essential oils.  Consult a well-trained aromatherapist about books and other resources.


What you can do to safely diffuse essential oils:

When diffusing essential oils, it is important that the area has good ventilation. This can be as simple as opening a door or window for a few minutes every hour.

Follow the diffuser manufacturer's recommendations for how many drops to use, and how many square feet the diffuser will service.  Example: if 3 drops of nonirritating, nonsensitizing essential oils can service a 500+ square foot area, continuous diffusing may not be a problem in a well-ventilated home or office.

Some diffusers (see photo above) have an intermittent setting and a timer. Diffuse for an hour, then allow a 2-hour break for fresh air to circulate. If you need to diffuse another hour, for example, to calm fretful dogs during a storm, please do so.

If using disinfecting essential oils, diffuse for just 15 minutes in a 24-hour period when children or animals are not in the area.Some essential oils (such as cinnamon bark) commonly used in disinfecting blends (a popular one is named Thieves) are highly sensitizing and irritating to the mucous membranes of children AND animals.

Avoid diffusing when birds are present, and use caution around cats.

Be sure to consult a well-trained aromatherapist and get a good reference book.  Our favorites include:

  • Holistic Aromatherapy for Animals, by Kristin Leigh Bell
  • Essential Oils for Animals, by Nayana Morag
  • The Aromatic Dog, by Nayana Morag