I'm trying to gain information on:
1. How widespread is the reaction to airborne peanuts?
2. How serious is this reaction?
3. What measures are you taking to prevent airborne reactions?
Any and all help is truly appreciated!
Real world stories and documents on airborne reactions and anaphylaxis can be found on this page- "Airborne Anaphylaxis Is Real A Place for sharing stories" https://www.facebook.com/groups/152168661512655/
peanut baking --> ER visit
My 17-year-old son had a severe reaction (requiring a trip to the emergency room) when visiting a home where peanut cookies were being baked.
My understanding is that the cooking vaporized the peanut allergen, making it airborne.
So I'd avoid homes & bakeries where one knows that there's a likelihood of peanut products being cooked/manufactured.
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Airborne reactions occur when there is peanut protein in the air that is breathed in by a peanut allergic person.
Airborne reactions are often viewed as too unlikely a threat, but they deserve attention. In most cases, there must be a large amount of peanut proteins present in a contained space in order to trigger a reaction. For example, high-risk situations include airplane flights serving peanuts because the air is recycled and peanut proteins accumulate, and restaurants where peanuts are crushed on the floor as a part of the atmosphere. Situations in which large amounts of the protein is in the air are uncommon, but certainly happen. This helpful article explains a doctor’s perspective of the airborne reaction, and why it is misconceived to be a “rare” occurrence.
Airborne reactions are important to keep in mind when you may be in a contained space where people will have peanut products around you. In uncontrolled environments like this, it’s best to be prepared for the worst. If you begin to feel any symptoms of an airborne reaction, leave the space immediately and get some fresh air. This article explains how the airborne proteins can affect allergic people, and how you should take action in such an event.
Sometimes, a person can confuse an airborne reaction with a contact reaction. If a person touches peanut protein without noticing and reacts to it, they may assume their reaction was due to airborne peanuts. This community post thread discusses the difference between airborne and contact reactions, and gives examples of times this confusion may happen. It is important to have proper cleaning techniques and wash your hands regularly in order to avoid contact reactions, as they tend to occur more frequently.
The severity of an airborne reaction is usually less than when peanut proteins are ingested. Symptoms often include wheezing, coughing, itchy eyes, and swollen lips. The reaction will rarely escalate to an anaphylactic level where epinephrine is required. Read more about treating different types of reactions here. Another thing that varies among people is the age at which they become sensitive to airborne peanut protein: even if you have never had an airborne reaction before, you may find that this changes with time. This community post discusses people’s changing experiences with airborne reactions.
We reached out to our Facebook community with this question, and they had some stories to share about their own experiences with airborne reactions. The post can be found here.
We hope you have found this information useful!
I've had one airborne reaction (that I remember) it happened in a shop that sold peanuts in packets, in their shells. When I first went into the shop I started to feel a bit tight in my chest and as I spent more time in the shop my asthma started coming on and I needed my inhaler. When I got to the checkout I noticed that a bag of peanuts had been opened by someone and there were peanuts everywhere. They had probably been there a while considering my chest started to feel tight as soon as I entered the shop it felt like (the entrance was on the complete other side of the shop to the peanuts). I started to feel sick (I think it's because my anxiety was through the roof at this point - what if I had a full blown allergic reaction?. As soon as I went outside I took my inhaler and tried to breathe in the fresh air. I also went to the toilets to wash my hands (just to calm my anxiety about reacting).
My asthma was really bad for about a week after - I took my reliever inhaler multiple times in the day and STILL had trouble breathing.
From the information I've read airborne reactions can happen but there is an extremely small chance that you will need your Epi pen (though of course carry it with you at all times). For me, my airborne reaction happened in shop that didn't have any open spaces apart from the door, so there was very little ventilation.
Personally, I take measures to avoid possible airborne reactions out in public. I think that no matter how small the risk is, if a allergic reaction (anaphylactic, touch or airborne) may occur it's extremely sensible and a good idea to steer clear from it.
For example, the other day I was waiting for the bus at the bus stop and a guy came out of the shop and opened a packet of peanuts and stood at the bus stop. There was a large chance he was also waiting for the bus, so I decided to wait for the next bus after the one that was coming because even though my bus journey wasn't very long, being on a bus that will be crowded would be a slightly dangerous move. Waiting another 10 minutes for the next bus is a small price to pay than having another asthma flare up.
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