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PostPosted: Sun Aug 27, 2006 9:07 pm 
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Joined: Sun Aug 27, 2006 8:53 pm
Posts: 21
Location: Vancouver
I have been meaning to sign up for this forum for ages, and finally did it today... so hello!

Like many of you, I have multiple food allergies, including anaphylaxis-inducing allergies to peanuts, nuts, and selfish, and serious allergies to apples, eggs, tomatos, oranges, potatoes, legumes, soy, etc etc. (sigh) - most of which have appeared in the last 10 years or so.

I find it profoundly frustrating, especially since I love fine food and travel and not worrying about dying... :shock:

The big challenge for me right now is flying, since airlines have gone back to serving nuts on planes. (Air Canada is now selling cashews and almonds, whereas they used to not serve nuts at all.) I'd love to go home for a visit (Toronto), but even the smell of nuts has put me into a serious asthma attack before, and I'm worried about that, or worse, happening on a plane. So I'm thinking about starting a petition, since there are so many nut-allergic adults and kids these days.

I'm also very honoured to be writing for Allergic Living, which I think is a fantastic magazine. For so long, I felt really alone with all of this; and while I wouldn't wish my condition on my worst enemy, I'm so thankful that we've all been given this opportunity to share our experiences, both good and bad.

That's it, that's all - really nice to meet you all!


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 27, 2006 10:07 pm 
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Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2005 6:48 pm
Posts: 614
Location: Ontario, Canada / Cambridge, UK
Welcome to the forum, Jennifer.

If you're starting a petition with Air Canada, I'd be the first to sign it. :)

You may be interested in this thread:

http://www.allergicliving.com/forum/vie ... sc&start=0

_________________
16-year-old son: peanuts, nuts, raw egg whites, asthmatic
Self: allergic rhinitis, fragrance/chemical sensitivities, oral allergy syndrome


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 28, 2006 8:17 am 
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Joined: Thu Aug 24, 2006 3:18 pm
Posts: 9
Jennifer:

I am a new user to the site as well but share all of your concerns where commercial air travel is concerned. I would be more than happy to sign the petition as well.

Yoli


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 01, 2006 11:06 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:53 pm
Posts: 1454
Location: Canada
Hi Jennifer, and welcome! I'm definitely on board with the petition idea. It is something I'm very concerned about. I was actually hoping that Anaphylaxis Canada would take a stronger position on this. (It is mentioned in their latest newsletter as an option, but they don't actually come out and say that it is a policy that ought to be adopted.)

It might be worthwhile trying to see if some allergists would be on board with this issue. Dr. Stark (I think that's his name) wrote an article on animals and airtravel in the lates edition of AL . . on the basis of that article I have a hunch that he'd support making flights nut-free. If you are wanting to start something, I could ask my allergist. I just think that some sort of official statement from the medical community would have more weight than a petition alone.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 03, 2006 6:31 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 05, 2006 1:05 pm
Posts: 528
Location: Burlington, Ontario
Hi Jennifer, welcome!

I don't know enough about law, but maybe what is needed here is a class action suit against some airlines for discrimination against peanut and nut allergic people. Albeit an invisible one, it could be considered a type of disability. The reason for limiting it to peanut and nut allergies is that those seem to be worse for being airborne (no pun intended!). There is no reason for being so inflexible and refusing to stop serving them. Yes, you cannot guarantee that other people won't bring them on board, but just stop serving them!

Anybody know a lawyer who could determine if such an undertaking is possible?

_________________
15 year old - asthmatic, allergic to cats, dogs, horses, waiting to be "officially" diagnosed for anaphylaxis
12 year old - asthmatic, allergic to tree pollen and mold, OAS
Husband - Allergic to amoxycillin
Self - Allergic to housework only


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2006 9:36 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:53 pm
Posts: 1454
Location: Canada
I read on another website that an airline in the US *is* being sued on the peanut issue . . . I believe it was Continental. It will be interesting to see how that plays out.


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 Post subject: nutty airlines
PostPosted: Thu Sep 07, 2006 1:03 am 
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Joined: Sun Aug 27, 2006 8:53 pm
Posts: 21
Location: Vancouver
Wow! Thanks so much for your replies and your encouragement. I'm definitely going to do it.

And Helen, I think it's a great idea to have allergists on board. Could you ask yours? I'll contact Dr. Stark. (I was a patient of his years ago!) Maybe we could figure out some wording that they and their colleagues could all sign onto.

Also, because Westjet serves nuts as well, and because Wesjet and Air Canada are such fierce competitors, I was thinking that we could challenge both to open the skies to nut-allergic fliers, and see who is the first to do it. This would be a great way to get some press about it.

What do you think?


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 07, 2006 1:21 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2005 4:04 pm
Posts: 2044
Location: Gatineau, Quebec
I think that it never hurts to try. :)

K.

_________________
Karen, proud Mom of
- DS1 (12 yrs): allergic to cashews, pistachios, Brazil nuts, potatoes, some legumes, some fish, pumpkin seeds; OAS
- DS2 (1o yrs): ana. to dairy, eggs, peanuts; asthma


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 09, 2006 2:44 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:53 pm
Posts: 1454
Location: Canada
hi Jennifer, great idea about dealing with westjet as well as air canada. I'll ask my allergist next week when I see him next . . . i'll just get a sense of whether he'd be willing to sign a petition.

As for the wording, I like the quotation from Dr. Stark in the Summer edn. of AL magazine:

In an article in _Allergic Living_ magazine, Dr. Donald
F. Stark notes that he and a team of medical researchers "obtain[ed] air filters from a Canadian Pacific Airline aircraft that showed traces of peanut antigen, proving that the peanut snacks served on these airlines did get into the airline ventilation system and
could potentially trigger anaphylactic reactions in peanut-allergic patients."

--perhaps a reference to the issue of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology in which this study was published would be a good idea as well (I could look that up if needs be---I photocopied it and should be able to dig it out).

--a brief description of the health risks of flying with PA and asthma; a brief description of the treatment required for an anaphylactic reaction onboard a plane (maybe mention that in severe cases, a tracheotomy is required); a statement which will cause Air Canada to reflect on their legal and moral responsibility towards patients with severe allergies

***people who argue *against* restricting allergens in public settings generally make the case that you can't possibly guarantee an allergen-free environment *even* if one is not asking for one. We should clarify that we are not seeking a guarantee; indeed, no one with anaphylaxis is ever guaranteed a reaction free environment anywhere. What we are asking is that Air Canada refrain from creating an environment in which a reaction is *likely* to occur. We aren't asking for security to inspect for hidden peanut packages in carry on luggage.

--the discourse surrounding the whole issue of restricting allergens in public places seems to always veer towards a discussion of individual responsibility. I've noticed this in my own communication with public relations in airlines as well as in responses to attempts to restrict allergens in a school setting. People tend to think that an argument *for* restricting the sale/presence of allergens is a suggestion that the responsibility for an individual's health condition is being shifted from the shoulders of the individual (who suffers from the condition) to others (the majority who don't). The question of whether the extent to which the allergic individual is put at risk is entirely avoided in this way. In their responses to customers, the nut-serving airlines tend to suggest that *individuals* take responsibility for their own health condition by being careful about what they eat, bringing appropriate medication, etc. It might be a good idea to prevent them from making this argument (although I have no doubt they will no matter what) by emphasizing that there is *nothing* that the nut allergic person can do to protect him or herself in this situation.

--maybe the use of key terms like "accessibility issue" or maybe even "disability" (I'm not sure of the current terminology . . . I've heard the term "functional disability" used . . . I wonder if there is a term for a disability that is situational. i.e. I woudn't say that PA is a disability, but it is during a commercial flight!)

--perhaps a reference to the lawsuit facing Continental? (am abivalent about whether this would be a good idea or not)

Just brainstorming here! I think someone who isn't as long-winded as I am :lol: should write the petition.

-----------

something to consider: would it be possible to create a petition which is circulated and signed electronically? Or are those petitions not taken as seriously? Or might it be a good idea to get people to sign an electronic petition but then to mail it out to those in the medical community who wish to sign it by hand?? To make it easier, maybe only allergists and respirologists would sign it by hand and all other doctors would sign it electronically like everyone else?


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2006 2:34 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 15, 2006 2:02 pm
Posts: 44
What a coincidence that this is the very first discussion thread I should chekc out after joining this forum today! This is the very reason I joined - to find out other people's opinions about safe air travel, what you might know about different airlines policies, etc. I would certainly be willing to sign a petition or do whatever I can.

My daughter is thinking of flying to England this spring to study, and although I want to encourage her to be fearless, I feel that I can't in all good conscience give my ok for her to fly that far. Trapped in that steel box for 8 hours? It is true that one cannot protect oneself from certain things, i.e., other passengers bringing dangerous snacks on board, even if they are not actually served by the airlines. What does one do if there is a problem over the Atlantic? Epi-pens are not a guarantee. - you need to seek medical care even after administration.

_________________
Mum of 19 year old daughter - asthma and life threatening allergies to nuts, peanuts and seafood


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 17, 2006 7:09 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:53 pm
Posts: 1454
Location: Canada
I didn't get a chance to ask my allergist the last time I was in . . . the office was an absolute zoo and I didn't even get to ask all the questions I needed to about my own allergies. But I'll try to ask him within the next couple of weeks.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2006 10:51 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:53 pm
Posts: 1454
Location: Canada
I never did mention this issue to my allergist----but I could still pursue this if we are still going ahead with this idea. You can send me a PM if you'd like.


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