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PostPosted: Thu Sep 24, 2009 8:06 pm 
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Location: Canada
Ok, I read that sometimes a smell can trigger an allergic reaction. Is this true, or just nonsense found on google?

Thanks


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 24, 2009 8:54 pm 
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I know a woman who is anaphylactic to airborne fish. There is none allowed at her work because she has had multiple anaphylactic reactions.

I don't know that it is the smell but the fish itself that is in the air that causes her anaphylaxis.

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me: allergic to crustaceans plus environmental
teenager: allergic to hazelnuts, some other foods and environmental


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 25, 2009 7:30 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
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Location: Ottawa
An anaphylaxis reaction occurs when there is ingestion of an allergen. By ingestion I mean the allergen (usually a protein) is introduced into the blood stream where is causes the chain reaction known as anaphylaxis.

It's important to remember that eating isn't the only way to introduce an allergen into the blood stream:
-Contaminated surfaces can introduce an allergen through a a break in the skin or intact skin can then be touched to eyes, nose or mouth.
-Airborne (dry particles or droplets) allergens can travel into the nasal passages and cross the mucous membrane into the blood stream.
-Airborne vapours can introduce droplets to the lungs.

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Daughter: asthma, allergies to egg, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, most legumes (not soy) & penicillin. Developing hayfever type allergies.
Husband: no allergies
Me: allergies to some tree that flowers in May
Cat: allergic to beef, pork and lamb


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 25, 2009 7:59 am 
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Great summary Susan. Thank you!

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me: allergic to crustaceans plus environmental
teenager: allergic to hazelnuts, some other foods and environmental


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 25, 2009 8:24 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2005 6:39 pm
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Location: Toronto
Just to add to the discussion ....

FYI, while studies showed children didn't react just to the "smell" of peanut butter - a jar was opened in their presence in one study, the situation if different with fish/shellfish.

When these are cooking, the proteins can become airborne and a significant enough amount of the steam can cause a reaction in the allergic person. (I've had such a reaction, when I accidentally got a shrimp facial in a kitchen at a house party. Completely didn't expect to react. Did.)

The exception with allergens such as a peanuts is that an airborne reaction can happen if enough of the allergen was present in a confined space and there was a means of getting it into the air.

The best example? When they give out those little vacuum sealed packages on a plane, the combination of the burst of air from unsealing and the no. of people opening simultaneously. In a famous study by Can. allergist Dr. Donald Stark, these actions led to peanut residue being found in air filters.

No wonder you ask - it's not entirely straightforward. Gwen

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Allergic to soy, peanut, shellfish, penicillin


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 25, 2009 10:00 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 17, 2009 4:13 pm
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Location: Canada
Thank you all for your info. This is a new allergy. I have only been living with it for a year, and had two reactions so far. The first reaction was extreme because I was out running and this caused my reaction to become more severe.

So should I be concerned about walking past Chinese restaurants? Or in say, a food court?? Or should I just wait and see if it affects me in that way?

For the record, I hate this. It's a pain in the butt...and I feel terrible for the little kids that have allergies, and those of you who have multiple allergies!!!

And what is a shrimp facial???


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 26, 2009 4:47 pm 
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Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2007 1:40 am
Posts: 423
Location: Alberta, Canada
I can only tell you how I feel when I am around the smell of my allergens. I have never had a very bad reaction just to the smell but I have had very bad reactions to to cross contact... I never stay in an area where I smell something that bothers me I instantly feel sick to my stomach. I have felt this way by restaurants, by chocolate stores, and even in the baking isle by the bags of nuts, and coconuts. I have felt this way then looked around only to find I am standing by a restaurant... I always just trust my instincts if something is bothering me I am out.

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Me-Allergic to Peanut, Tree Nut, Coconut, Shellfish, ASA and Asthma
My Husband and Children No Allergies


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 26, 2009 6:28 pm 
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Location: Canada
Thanks! Yes, I feel the same way around fishy smells...do you think it's nerves?


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 30, 2009 12:16 am 
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Location: Alberta, Canada
I don't think it is nerves, as I have started to feel sick to my stomach, I am sure before the smell has registered in my brain. In some of the situations where this has happened I would prefer to stay where this is going on (with no issues) so why would I do this to the point of needing to leave? I also don't think that I would have a deadly reaction (it may by possible??), so it is not a fear driven thought I don't think. For these reasons I fully believe it to be a true reaction. Who knows what would happen as I don't usually hang around long enough to find out. :?

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Me-Allergic to Peanut, Tree Nut, Coconut, Shellfish, ASA and Asthma
My Husband and Children No Allergies


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 30, 2009 1:10 am 
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Location: Canada
I hope I didn't offend you suggesting its nerves...my allergy is so new to me and I'm just learning about it, and how to deal with it best. I really appreciate all of your input!!! :)


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 30, 2009 1:58 pm 
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Location: Alberta, Canada
Hi saynotofish not offended at all. Some times I wonder how my comments are read. When a person cannot put a face and a feeling into what is written different tones can come into play. Anyways on topic I do think it is very real (a reaction) :D :D

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Me-Allergic to Peanut, Tree Nut, Coconut, Shellfish, ASA and Asthma
My Husband and Children No Allergies


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 05, 2009 5:09 pm 
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Joined: Mon Sep 05, 2005 12:53 am
Posts: 373
Location: Alberta
Reacting to smells was talked about at the allergy conference in Edmonton back in April. A few doctors spoke about the potential dangers of airborne fish proteins during cooking and peanuts / nuts on an airplane and in bulk foods stores, but stressed that the protein needs to be ingested through these routes for anaphylaxis to happen. Rubbing it on the skin does not induce anaphylaxis unless it is subsequetly ingested.

However, these doctors also spoke about the anxiety that smells can trigger - and how this anxiety can closely resemble anaphylaxis. He gave an example of his daughter who broke out into hives due to nerves about a dance audition. She is not allergic to anything. That's why he said it's important for ER docs to distinguish between actual anaphylaxis and severe anxiety (which can include hyperventilation which looks like difficulty breathing, etc.).

When my son had his last reaction, we realized that he had drank the wrong milk and during the time period between realizing this and getting him to the ER, he got very upset and scared. The ER staff actually sedated him with IV antihistamines so they could get a better handle on what his true vital signs were. Turns out it was true anaphylaxis, but it didn't start happening until about 20 minutes after consuming the milk so the first part was hysteria. So then they began the full treatment, although the IV antihistamines were very helpful. Should have given the Epi at home, but he had no symptoms!


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 05, 2009 5:12 pm 
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Location: Alberta
Oh, and a funny story ... I work in a pharmacy, and we have a patient who is prone to hysteria. She spends tons of money on cosmetics, and one night she "felt funny" after smelling a perfume. Of course, she was not having an anaphylactic reaction at all, but ran back and demanded that the pharmacist give her an Epipen right away! Not knowing what had happened, he obliged, and then she went back and shopped for another hour despite his pleas that she go to the local medical centre.

She did this another time too .... and no amount of education is going to convince her that she does not need the Epi in these cases.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 05, 2009 6:01 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
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Location: Ottawa
Oh well, at least we know a dose now and again won't harm her. :roll:

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Daughter: asthma, allergies to egg, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, most legumes (not soy) & penicillin. Developing hayfever type allergies.
Husband: no allergies
Me: allergies to some tree that flowers in May
Cat: allergic to beef, pork and lamb


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 24, 2009 10:18 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 1:25 pm
Posts: 323
I have experienced anaphylaxis from fish smells. And I can firmly say that it is not caused by nerves in my case as this summer I have experienced symptoms from airborne fish (while being outside... so diluted a lot and reaction was minor)... and it took a looooong time for others around the table to actually figure out why I just got up and left as it took a few minutes after that for them to smell anything... and they confirmed with the neighbours that it was fish. But at the time when I felt something was wrong, no one could smell anything even if they were actively trying to find out what caused it...

But fish is my only allergen where the reaction is to that level, I never had that kind of reaction from my other allergens.


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