Could You Have Confused an Airborne Reaction with a Contact Reaction?

Posted on: Wed, 03/05/2003 - 11:34pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

This question is actually raised due to a thread under Schools. It's the thread started by Cam's Mom about her allergist's letter.

williamsmummy made a really good point that I thought was worth discussing and investigating. When those of us whose PA children have had an airborne reaction, could they not have touched peanut residue instead, since peanuts were obviously around (for the smell to be airborne) making it a contact reaction instead?

For those of you, whose children (or yourselves) have had airborne reactions, if you're totally sure it was airborne, could you fill me in as to why?

I do believe that there are airborne reactions that cannot be confused with contact reactions. I have been very fortunate (touch wood) that Jesse has not had an airborne reaction yet.

But what about those members here whose children (or themselves) have?

How do you know for sure that it was an airborne reaction and that it was not a contact reaction mistaken for airborne?

Many thanks and best wishes! [img][/img]


Posted on: Wed, 03/05/2003 - 11:51pm
erik's picture
Joined: 05/15/2001 - 09:00

Hi Cindy,
I know I have had several airborne reactions.
1) Went to a Montanas restaurant and was waiting for a table. Did not realize I was sitting near a barrel filled with peanuts and that the bar was filled with peanut shells. At our table, started to sneeze and before I even began to eat I started to lose my voice. We left.
2) National Trade Centre - CNE. The HOme Show is held here. Nancy and I went once a few years ago, and they were serving ice cream covered with crushed peanuts at the snack booths. I started to sneeze, and sneeze more, and sinus congestion, and I left and went outside to sit on a bench. I had eaten nothing.
Airborne reactions for me have caused a runny nose, sneezing, and a hoarse voice (no other symptoms). I have not had a reaction like this for many years as I do not go to places (such as Montanas) where there are peanuts everywhere.
Although it must be a lage amount of peanuts to have the effect. If I am in a movie theatre, shopping mall, etc and someone eats an Oh Henry near by there is no reaction. But in a place like Montanas, I believe there is so much peanut dust in the air, that is why I have the reaction.
I also believe that if someone gets hives and nausea from what they think is an airborne reaction, that it could be from a contact/cross contamination reaction as you suggest, as I have never experienced hives or nausea, etc from an airborne reaction.

Posted on: Wed, 03/05/2003 - 11:55pm
river's picture
Joined: 07/15/1999 - 09:00

Cindy, I'm quite sure that airborne reactions to fish have been medically documented in the past. Since peanut evokes the same type of serious reaction, it stands to reason that peanut airbourne reactions are not only a possiblity but also a reality.

Posted on: Thu, 03/06/2003 - 12:14am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

erik, thank-you for your response. [img][/img]
river, I definitely believe that airborne reactions are a reality. What about the PA people we hear about on airplanes? They haven't touched residue have them, but only smelt the peanuts being eaten?
I strongly believe that there are airborne reactions that have nothing to do with perhaps having touch the peanuts that are causing the airborne reaction (or the residue thereof).
I just thought it was an interesting question worth looking at.
I know members here whose children have had airborne reactions and they touched NOTHING.
I am very fortunate in that Jesse has not had an airborne reaction (yet, touch wood).
Has your PA child had an airborne reaction?
I think, bottom line for me in all of this is, when our child does have a reaction, we go through the whole scenario. I am sure that if our child has an airborne reaction, we do wonder if it could have been contact as well. And we're able to either say yes, it *could* have been contact due to these circumstances or NO, definitely not, it was airborne only.
In the allergist's letter the allergist has stated that only "exquisitively sensitive individuals" (I'll have to look up the definition of exquisite again because somehow that didn't fit) have airborne reactions. This negated what Cam's Mom believes to have been her son's reactions. Now, a doctor negating what a Mother knows really doesn't matter, except in Cam's Mom's case where she needs the letter to get her child simply enrolled in school in a relatively safe environment.
No, sorry, I didn't want you to think that I didn't believe in airborne reactions. I do.
My best friend's son has airborne reactions.
She is the type of woman (and I think we all are) that would have analyzed the reaction to death (pardon me) and came to the very correct conclusion that it was an airborne reaction.
I think the discussion in the other thread was valid because it did raise the ? about whether we're thinking reactions are airborne, when, in fact, they are contact.
(This doesn't mean that I agree with that).
However, I do think it's an interesting question to raise, if for no other reason than to hear - NO, my airborne reactions were definitely NOT contact, no way, no how. There is no confusing the two.
Best wishes! [img][/img]

Posted on: Thu, 03/06/2003 - 12:15am
Love my C's picture
Joined: 04/03/2002 - 09:00

Hi Cindy,
I posted a bit about my son's airborne reactions on another thread, but will share here as well.
A couple of weeks ago at the grocery store with my son in the cart we were going through the check-out. My son was fine the whole time in the cart, no problems. While waiting for the checker to start checking us through she started talking to me while doing some paperwork. I caught a strong whiff of peanuts on her breath. I then noticed an opened candy bar next to her register. I looked over at my son and he was rubbing his eye very hard and saying "I'm SO itchy!" and his face had turned red and possibly a hive on his cheek. Now, some may say it was a contact reaction from the cart, but we'd been shopping for awhile w/ no problems and that whiff of peanuts was just so strong even to me. It was very depressing.
Late last year we walked into a room where someone had been eating from a bowl of mixed nuts and before my son had touched anything in the room he was rubbing his eyes.
Also, last year, my son was standing face to face (entirely too close) w/ another little boy who was eating the dreaded peanut butter Oreo. My son was breathing strangely (exxagerated) and I was at a distance and asked him what he was doing. He said he was "practicing his asthma". He was breathing like he does when he takes his inhaler through the aerochamber w/ mask. I ran up to him and his face was red and his eyes were watering. A scary moment.
There have been times that I couldn't figure whether he was reacting to contact or inhalation. I just knew he was reacting. But the times mentioned above I am positive that it was inhalation. I've doubted myself many times in the past because I just can't believe he could be reacting this way, but I have seen a pattern now. I think it's one of those things that until you experience it, you don't fully get it. Hopefully most will never experience it!
And I can't tell you how sad it makes me that he is this sensitive at 4 years old. It makes it very hard when other's don't believe you can react to just breathing it in. Just one year ago, we discovered he was contact sensitive and at that time didn't react to inhalation.
Anyway, thanks for letting my share ~ probably more than you wanted [img][/img] And I am VERY glad you are continuing to post. After all, ou are the 'mom' here in my eyes~and a class act!

Posted on: Thu, 03/06/2003 - 12:18am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

erik, I'm not contradicting you, because you very clearly outlined your airborne reactions. [img][/img] However, I would like to add that I also believe that you can have an anaphylactic reaction to airborne only. I know a couple of members here whose children have had anaphylactic reactions to airborne only exposure - no chance of contact or residue.
Best wishes! [img][/img]

Posted on: Thu, 03/06/2003 - 12:19am
Gail W's picture
Joined: 12/06/2001 - 09:00

I think this is an excellent question!
Whenever we discuss this with our allergist, he immediately jumps into theories re airborn reactions. We try to clarify that *we* don't believe that Mariah is having an airborn response, but rather that she is rubbing her eyes (and other mucosal membranes) with her hands that have picked up some small amount of peanut resin. She isn't having the classic "contact reaction" whereby she is having a reaction at the point of contact-- her hands. But she does, however, get "contact response" on her face (hives, swelling) from transferring it these mucosal areas.
Mind you, Mariah has undergone an "airborn" test in her allergist's office which seemed to suggest she is NOT ariborn sensitive.
I think it is very, very difficult to determine. If peanut is around via airborn, then reason follows there is also residue around.
[This message has been edited by Gail W (edited March 07, 2003).]

Posted on: Thu, 03/06/2003 - 12:25am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Love My C., no, your post about your child's reactions was exactly what I wanted and needed to see (although I feel sad for your child and you [img][/img] ).
Gail W., given that your daughter had the airborne test, do you ever think that she might, at some point in her PA life, become airborne sensitive?
Jesse's second anaphylactic reaction, where he almost died, as by merely touching a pb rice krispie square to his lip. Somehow I consider touching his lips VERY different than say had it touched his hand instead (I am searching for how to describe why I feel the lips are different).
At any rate, his anaphylactic reaction in December month was definitely due to contact residue. I believe, because he had a cold and was wiping at his nose, he got it on his hands from somewhere in that very small walk from the breakfast program to his classroom and it either went up and in his nose or through his mouth.
I am not a defeatist. However, I would not be surprised if Jesse did become airborne sensitive and even if one day he reacted anaphylactically. I don't mean to sound really awful about my son's allergy. It's just looking at his reactions and how they have been and all I can see left that we haven't experienced is airborne.
Of course, I'm touching wood this doesn't happen, but somehow think, somewhere along the line, given his history, it will. [img][/img]
Best wishes! [img][/img]

Posted on: Thu, 03/06/2003 - 12:28am
darthcleo's picture
Joined: 11/08/2000 - 09:00

A former co-worker of mine (the one who introduced me to PA, before I even had children) had an airborne reaction once, that was clearly airborne.
Her roommate baked brownies with nuts during the work day. She thoroughly cleaned the kitchen.
When my coworked got home, she never made it farther than the front door before having an anaphylactic reaction. She ended up spending 3 days in hospital, and the roommate got 'fired' ...

Posted on: Thu, 03/06/2003 - 12:29am
erik's picture
Joined: 05/15/2001 - 09:00

Hi Cindy,
Yes, if I had stayed in Montanas and continued breathing in all the peanut dust, it could have led to an anaphalactic reaction for me as well.
I believe that when I was breathingin the peanut dust, it affected me enough to cause sinus congestion, sneezing, coughing and voice hoarseness. This meant my body was releasing histamine and having an allergic reaction. So it means that if it had developed this far, a more serious reaction could definitely result. Although I also believe it is much more likely to have a serious reaction from ingesting a peanut product as the amount of peanut protein would be more from ingestion than from inhalation.
Your thread topic made a good point too, as some airborne reactions could actually be caused by contact reactions. If nausea was one of the symptoms, I would think it was possibly an ingestion reaction, but anything is possible with PA.
In my case, I have only had sinus, sneezing, voice hoarseness from airborne peanut dust, but maybe the reason I never had an anaphalactic reaction was that I left the peanut environment and went outside so this stopped the reaction from continuing (plus the fact that I had taken a Reactine (Zyrtec in the USA) which I find is a very good antihisamine to take (it really helps me during ragweed season).
As usual I am off topic so I'll sign off.... [img][/img]

Posted on: Thu, 03/06/2003 - 12:43am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

erik, you got me thinking (not that other people didn't). Here's something I rarely do when I'm discussing PA. I never think about my environmental allergies and how I'm affected by them and then take it one step further and make an analogy to PA. But it would make sense, wouldn't it? [img][/img]
I'm allergic to perfume and other scented things. As soon as I walk into a room with someone wearing perfume, my nose flares up, despite the fact that I've taken my daily antihistamine. I didn't touch the perfume wearer, I merely smelled her perfume.
I'm allergic to paint fumes. The day that we did a very small patch of painting here (out of the whole house needing to be done), I immediately had to open every window. I mean, as soon as my DH took the lid off of the paint can. And this was with the weakest smelling paint available. I had every window in the house open and yet, my nose went wild.
It was swollen, my rhinitis got worse, my sinuses were flaring up, and it also triggers a migraine.
So why would a PA child not have the same potential? To simply walk into a room where he can smell his allergen, albeit a food one, and have a reaction? The same as the kind you have outlined, erik, where you need to go home and take an antihistamine.
And with people with an anaphylactic history, would it not therefore make sense that they could/would/should (or even just simply *maybe*) react anaphylactically to something
that they are allergic to, simply be smelling it?
I react badly to the things that I'm allergic to smell wise. Of course, it is not an anaphylactic reaction, but then again, I don't have an anaphylactic history.
And why is it I would never think about my environmental allergies, and their severity, when I'm discussing PA (is it like discussing apples and oranges or can comparisions be made)?
Best wishes! [img][/img]


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