Contamination fears

Posted on: Fri, 05/29/2015 - 11:33pm
Momobubble's picture
Joined: 01/03/2015 - 06:25

I have OCD so I am very anxious and concerned daily about germs and such. Part of my OCD is about having an allergic reaction. I'm allergic to peanuts and have reacted to peanut dust in the air before. I always get concerned about touching things in public such as clothing and money. I get anxious that they have peanut dust on them and I will have a reaction.
I am starting to come out of my comfort zone and keep challenging my anxiety to go shopping/go out alone more and more and of course the thought of having a reaction alone in public is very scary.

What are the chances of having a reaction say because of touching an item of clothing in a store or more importantly money.

Posted on: Sat, 05/30/2015 - 7:25am
amerikanegirl87's picture
Joined: 08/07/2014 - 22:26

It can be very scary for sure. I don't have a peanut allergy but my son does. From what I've researched it looks like there's only a chance for anaphylaxis if the peanut dust/proteins get ingested. Or if peanut dust is inhaled (the amount depends on the person and how severe their allergy is to it). Obviously people are allergic to peanuts through contact too... my son gets redness and hives if he touches it. But it's not a life threatening situation when he just touches it and he doesn't anaphylax. (I try to avoid all contact with him every touching it obviously, but when we've done skin testing etc, that's been his reaction.) But he is only two, so I'm always nervous about him at parks touching playground equipment when I've seen other kids there eating peanut butter sandwiches and then going and playing on the same play structure. If I see that we usually go home from the playground right then, but I know people do that even when I'm not there and I don't see it. And my son puts his hands in his mouth a lot and rubs his eyes. But I'm always careful to wipe/wash his hands after he is in a public place touching things or if I'm uneasy about the place. So I think if you just are diligent about washing your hands and not rubbing your eyes etc when out in public I don't think you would anaphylax. I'm not a doctor so I don't know for sure. But that's what my understanding is. I hope this helps! Also a really helpful book for me in understanding the allergy is The Peanut Allergy Answer book. I would definitely recommend it! I think it will help answer this question better than I did.

Posted on: Fri, 06/05/2015 - 3:26am's picture
Joined: 06/21/2013 - 11:03

Thank you for reaching out to our community! Your fears are understandable, especially considering you’ve reacted to peanut dust before. And we know you aren’t the only one who’s curious about cross-contamination on everyday items like money and clothes.
There seems to be contradicting information as to whether smelling or touching peanut can cause a reaction. Many medical professionals say that airborne reactions are rare, yet there are plenty of first-hand accounts of these reactions happening – like yours. This article discusses the paradox further.
Additionally, several members of our community have shared their experiences with reacting to the smell or touch of peanuts. Check those out here, here and here.
An allergic reaction occurs when someone comes into contact with peanut protein. If a reaction were to occur from touching something like money or clothes that had peanut residue on it, it seems likely that you’d have to come into contact with it very soon after the residue was added. Money, for example, gets touched, moved, etc., so much that any residue would probably get removed within a very short amount of time. If someone were eating peanuts, then grabbed a dollar bill and handed it to you, that could potentially cause a reaction – but you’d probably know the person was eating peanuts and wouldn’t chance it. Staying aware of your surroundings can be very helpful in preventing reactions.
Another previous discussion among members of our community contains a comprehensive list of unusual or unexpected sources of peanut, which you can read
Anxiety is very common among people who live with food allergies, but it can be successfully managed. Find out what you can do to overcome anxiety here.
We asked our Facebook community to share their experiences, and here’s what they had to say.
We hope you find this information helpful and wish you the best in overcoming your fears!

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