Doctor reports airborne reaction in airplane


hi - this may have been posted elsewhere already, and I can't locate the date on the article...I think it's in a NY Times archive. Link for the article followed by the relevant info:


By: Robert Eitches, MD

"Peanut allergy is a good example to examine, since it is one of the most widely known food allergies and is becoming more and more common. (It is also the food allergy most likely to be fatal). With classic food allergies, your body forms antibodies against the offending food. Even the smell of the food can cause a reaction in a highly allergic person. That's why peanut allergic persons do not like to fly in planes where nuts are served. I recently treated two different people who had severe reactions to peanuts while on a plane. Neither one of them had eaten peanuts and, in one case, the passengers within three rows of this person had offered to voluntarily abstain from eating any nuts. I suspect that either the smell permeated the cabin or some old peanut "dust" was present on the plane's tray table, which then may have rubbed off onto the allergic individual. "


On Aug 13, 2005


Good find...

Clicking on the printer friendly version [url=""][/url]

reveals that the article was published 12/5/2002.

On Aug 14, 2005

Thanks for the article, Adrienne. I think there's a problem that very few doctors believe in airborne reactions at all, and those who do limit their belief to reactions caused by peanut dust in the environment (such as lots of bags of peanuts being opened on an airplane) or peanuts being cooked. On the other hand, it seems that a good number of PA people believe in reactions from the smell of peanuts or peanut butter.

I don't think this article really would convince the naysayers that airborne reactions really happen. In the cases referenced, a doubter could say that the reactions came from contact with peanut dust that had settled on the tray tables, seats, armrests, etc., and weren't airborne at all. I don't think this "proves" that people can react to the smell of peanuts, although personally, I believe it can happen, and would like there to be conclusive proof of this, since I think it'd help us in terms of restricting peanuts on planes and in schools.

Has anyone else found any recent documentation of airborn reactions?