Adults with Peanut Inhalation Reaction and the workplace

Posted on: Fri, 06/05/2015 - 10:34am
LeavePeanutsatHome's picture
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Joined: 06/05/2015 - 16:55

Hello. I have recently discovered that I have a severe peanut inhalation reaction. If I am near peanuts or something with peanuts in them, I begin to lose mental awareness and mental clarity. It becomes difficulty for me to process information. I eventually feel as though I might pass out. If I can leave the area it will subside. Unfortunately, that is not always possible at work.I have been having difficulties in my office because my coworkers do not take this issue seriously. I have had to resort to taking Benadryl (which makes me sleep), and going to the ER for an Epi injection, Benadryl and breathing treatment have been necessary. I carry an Epi pen. I have not used this as it requires a visit to the ER thereafter.

Otherwise, I have had no choice but to live my life around this issue - I generally do not eat out, I wash my hands immediately after any known or suspected exposure;I no longer go to crowd events such as baseball games or movies; I have not flown on a commercial airline; I've changed my job from one where situations would dictate the possibility of exposure (and high pay) to that of being office based and not involving food or inherently exposed to food (at a much lower pay). Has anyone else experienced this issue? Can you please share? I am so frustrated. Medically, in my last allergy test, I did not test positive for a peanut allergy. However, I know I would get severe hives when eating them in the past.

I know of two other stories, one person once shared an office with my ex-husband. At that time, I did not know about the severity of my condition or my condition was not this severe. The other person is that of a person who suffered a seizure on a commercial airline flight due to peanut exposure. This was learned through a business acquaintance who did take this condition seriously. Help. I am now surrounded by people who think for some reason that this is not serious. I am pursuing this issue further through the medical community. Unfortunately, this seems to be something that is mostly undocumented or unknown or not proven as a serious condition.

Posted on: Mon, 06/08/2015 - 1:50am
Sable247's picture
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Joined: 01/26/2002 - 09:00

I'm sorry to hear of your difficulties with airborne peanuts. Have you taken the IgE test for antibodies in your blood to peanuts? It seems to be more accurate.

Posted on: Fri, 06/19/2015 - 7:45am
PeanutAllergy.com's picture
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Joined: 06/21/2013 - 11:03

Question of the Week: Answered!
Every week, PeanutAllergy.com answers one of the questions posted in our community.
Our Answer:
Thank you for reaching out to our community! Unfortunately, it can be hard to get people to take food allergies seriously.
You are definitely not alone. Many people with allergies face the difficulties you describe. This article discusses the challenges working adults with food allergies have to deal with. Also, this article has tips for how to avoid a reaction at work.
In 1990, a law was passed by Congress called the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). It protects people with a variety of disabilities, including food allergies (added in 2008). The law states that an employer must make “reasonable accommodations” for an employee with a disability.
One problem with the ADA is that the definition of “reasonable accommodation” is up to the discretion of your employer. You should speak with a supervisor to see what options you have. Perhaps you could suggest that peanuts be banned from the work space in the office so that you can avoid inhalation problems. If you want to learn more about the law, you can read this article.
Another member of our community had similar issues in the workplace. You can read about their story here.
You can also speak with your coworkers and try to educate them. Oftentimes people do not understand the severity of peanut allergies because they have not been exposed to it. They may not realize that peanut allergies can be a life-threatening affliction with severe implications for the health of the person who has the allergy.
We asked members of our Facebook community to share their experiences, and here’s what they had to say.
We wish the best for you and hope that with education and awareness your coworkers will become more understanding!

Posted on: Sun, 06/21/2015 - 7:50am
cathlina's picture
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Joined: 06/29/2001 - 09:00

It is NOT totally up to your employer. Your doctor provides recommendations for accommodations. Each and every time I have had an ADA document with accommodations requested thru my doctor, my employers followed it.
*They could provide an office space so you can close the door and an air purification system.
*They could work out a plan where you can work from home.
My desk at work is 15 feet from other employees which limits my exposure. And it is just between me and my supervisor. I bring my own food for lunch and eat in an area where there is no peanut exposure.
One of my employers made my entire work floor peanut free without me even asking. Some employees did not like it but I didn't really care if I was safe.
The one allergic reaction I did have at work was from a new blood pressure med that had blue dye in it.
Please get ADA paperwork from your employer, see your doctor, have him sign it and present it to your employer.

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