Can you smell it?

Posted on: Sat, 06/09/2007 - 4:01pm
Sarahb's picture
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Joined: 01/22/2007 - 09:00

My 3yo is PA. Today we went to a birthday party at a commercial birthday party place. As we were signing in I could smell peanut/butter. It was so odd. I just stopped and looked around slowly...wide eyed. The lady checking us in asked me something and I said "I smell peanut butter" and she nodded. She was eating it right then. sigh. She had just stamped DS with a party symbol on his hand. He was fine...we were fine....besides being appauled that people eat while at work when they are working with the public (this happened to me with a checker at Trader Joe's too) but anyway....my question to you adults with PA is......can you smell it?

My sense of smell alerted me to potential danger for him....but will he be able to do the same for himself someday? He has never successfully eaten any peanut butter.

And if you can smell it....does it smell sweet or rancid? To me it smells good and makes me feel warm and fuzzy - although that is fading fast.

Thanks!

Posted on: Sat, 06/09/2007 - 4:59pm
ajgauthier's picture
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Joined: 04/13/2005 - 09:00

I can most certainly smell it if it's the same room as me. It's not a warm and fuzzy smell...I can equate probably what you smell to how I smell and associate soy or sunflower seed butter.
Peanut butter, peanuts, peanutti-ness smells "like hives" I can't really explain it. In a way, it does smell rancid...just plain old "ALARM ALARM ALARM" goes off in my head.
Here's a 'for example' from this spring:
At work we have a separate small building that's the business office. It's just an open plan with 4 offices (closed door type) on the outside, the rest are open desks. Maybe...50ftx50ft space. So I went in to get some info set for a grant application and was talking with the person. After a moment, I was like, "oh geez...we have to go outside, something doesn't smell right in here. There's peanuts somewhere. I have to leave before I want to hurl."
She was like, "nope, I haven't seen any" and I was like, "do you mind going outside?"
So we did...she was cool with it. A few minutes later the office manager comes out and was surprised to see us. It's a very friendly office, she wasn't angry or anything. It was actually a beautiful day before it hit over 100. Anyhoot - C. said, "oh we came outside b/c Adrienne smelled peanuts" and J. was like, "oh my! I was eating shelled peanuts in my office just a few minutes ago!" AND she had her door closed! AND it was the back office!
So -- the "nose knows" I've been known in the past to smell my food before I ate it. Once upon a time in college I'd eat baked goods made by others or a cafeteria.
Edited to add:
So yeah, I think it's important for PA folks to "know" what it smells like, but I'm sure no one is going to stick their child's nose in a jar of peanut butter. Catchy 22.
Adrienne
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30-something survivor of severe peanut/tree nut allergy
[This message has been edited by ajgauthier (edited June 10, 2007).]

Posted on: Sat, 06/09/2007 - 5:36pm
McCobbre's picture
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Joined: 04/16/2005 - 09:00

See--this is why I think there is a real difference between smelling peanut and reacting to peanut protein in the air.
Adrienne senses that something is wrong.
I often confuse popcorn with peanuts. Anyone else? I will smell popcorn in a theatre or somewhere it's present, and I'll ask DH: "Do you smell peanuts?"
I don't know what it is abuot that smell, but it makes me think: peanuts!
However, w/r to my own allergy, I'm never wrong when I'm in the presence of it--until last week, nad it was actually salmon I was smelling.
This, to me, supports the airborne reaction aspect of PA (and other FA).

Posted on: Sat, 06/09/2007 - 5:46pm
ajgauthier's picture
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Joined: 04/13/2005 - 09:00

Quote:Originally posted by McCobbre:
[b]See--this is why I think there is a real difference between smelling peanut and reacting to peanut protein in the air.
Adrienne senses that something is wrong.
I often confuse popcorn with peanuts. Anyone else? I will smell popcorn in a theatre or somewhere it's present, and I'll ask DH: "Do you smell peanuts?"
I don't know what it is abuot that smell, but it makes me think: peanuts!
However, w/r to my own allergy, I'm never wrong when I'm in the presence of it--until last week, nad it was actually salmon I was smelling.
This, to me, supports the airborne reaction aspect of PA (and other FA). [/b]
I think I get what you are saying in regards to the difference..
If someone is eating peanut butter, and I smell it...it's just a bad smell and I want to leave the vicinity of the smell. I don't really start to phlegm up or get a runny nose. It's a smell, not much protein in the air. Same with peanutty energy bars, snickers, butterfingers.
But - if it's a Thai restaurant (I did that ONCE with friends) and I smell the peanutty stuff cooking...I flame all up - watery eyes, stuffy nose, coughing, the works. It didn't take very long. Once I was on a Delta flight some 20+ years ago now, and I recall having a horrible headache, stuffy nose, coughing fit when they served peanuts...took benadryl and my inhaler I was ok (I was a kid). I've been around someone shelling peanuts, same thing at the Thai place...flamed all up. When my mom made homemade pb (after I'd moved out) and walked in the door...30 seconds later...WHAM...flamed all up.
FOR ME --- there needs to be a measurable amount of peanut protein in the air. Peanut butter...doesn't trigger a reaction.
They really need to do a Mythbusters on this!
[img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] Adrienne
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30-something survivor of severe peanut/tree nut allergy

Posted on: Sat, 06/09/2007 - 11:30pm
Adele's picture
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Joined: 01/31/2005 - 09:00

I'm adult onset PA. I can smell peanut butter like most people can. Though it doesn't smell bad to me, it DOES ring alarm bells.
I can't determine if food is safe by just smelling it.
I fly Southwest quite often. When peanuts are served, generally I cough and sometimes my eyes itch. I am VERY aware of the smell of the peanuts when the bags are opened.

Posted on: Sun, 06/10/2007 - 2:39am
Sarahb's picture
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Joined: 01/22/2007 - 09:00

Thanks!
I'm hoping my son will have that sense of smell as a warning. Hard to know and probably nothing I can do about it either way.

Posted on: Sun, 06/10/2007 - 3:15am
starlight's picture
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Joined: 01/16/2004 - 09:00

Quote:Originally posted by ajgauthier:
[b]In a way, it does smell rancid...just plain old "ALARM ALARM ALARM" goes off in my head.[/b]
That's how it is for me too. Kinda like when you walk into a room with a gas leak.
I don't have airborne reactions, but walking by peanuts in the store is very disconcerting. It's a nauseating scent, and not in a reaction type way, but in a "I walked into a smelly bathroom" way. I actually hold my breath walking by just because the smell is so horrible, and I started doing that before I knew airborne reactions even existed.
I sat next to my best friend in high school every day during lunch, and she had a PB&J sandwich every day. The smell of pbutter seems to be slightly more tolerable than actual peanuts...but it may have just been that since I was smelling it every day that I just got used to it.

Posted on: Sun, 06/10/2007 - 8:50am
SpudBerry's picture
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Joined: 07/23/2002 - 09:00

I think it makes perfect sense that people who are allergic to peanuts won't enjoy the smell. My son - that we didn't know was allergic - would actually scrape food off his tongue - while screaming how awful it tasted. Before his allergy "kicked in" the first couple of times he ever tasted PB - he LOVEd it. But then just one time later - he was scraping it off his tongue.
I've also heard other parents talk here about how their children hated the taste before anyone knew it was an allergy they were dealing with. And aren't taste & smell very connected?
It seems to me to be some sort of built in safety device.
------------------
Sherlyn
Mom to 7 year old twins Ben & Mike
One PA since 13 months
One PA since 7 years
Stay Informed And Peanut Free!

Posted on: Sun, 06/10/2007 - 9:54am
McCobbre's picture
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Joined: 04/16/2005 - 09:00

(name edited out by office)--sesame seeds do have an odor. When we first found out I was allergic to them DH roasted some and I took a bite of them. Nothing happened (then--it would now, though). But I do remember that smell.

Posted on: Sun, 06/10/2007 - 10:11am
ajgauthier's picture
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Joined: 04/13/2005 - 09:00

Quote:Originally posted by SpudBerry:
[b]
I've also heard other parents talk here about how their children hated the taste before anyone knew it was an allergy they were dealing with. And aren't taste & smell very connected?
It seems to me to be some sort of built in safety device.
[/b]
when I smell it, I can taste it too.
...the story goes...
Before we knew I was allergic, my mom would give me pb on toast, just like my big sis. I'd smell it, look at it, then toss it...no wait...HEAVE IT...across the kitchen to go splat on the wall or floor. This was before I was 2 and had the reaction.
Adrienne [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
------------------
30-something survivor of severe peanut/tree nut allergy

Posted on: Tue, 06/12/2007 - 1:05am
Greenlady's picture
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Joined: 06/30/2004 - 09:00

My son (age 8) can definitely smell peanuts in the vicinity, even before me (and I'm very aware of the smell too). He'll say "my peanut sense is tingling." And he's always right!

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