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Peanut Alergies and Flying

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Peanut Alergies and Flying

Old 3rd Jul 2008, 20:51
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Allergies

Recently a friend was traveling on a Canadian airline and prior to the flight he purchased a snack which contained nuts. The flight attendant observed him eating his snack and asked if it contained nuts. When he replied it did he was told to put it away as she was allergic to nuts.

Was this a valid concern?
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Old 3rd Jul 2008, 22:47
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Yes.





And for the sake on lengthening this message by ten words, is she in the right post?
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Old 4th Jul 2008, 09:01
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Unhappy great danger . . . . . . . . . .

Was this a valid concern?
It should be a GREAT concern. Least of all simply because of the individual's freedom to choose and consume a snack of his own preference.

More importantly, though, one has to question whether the member of cabin crew is fit to be doing that job, in that environment.

IF (and it would need verifying) she was so allergic to nuts that it was justifiable for her to ask a passenger not to consume them, then she might be at risk of a major anaphylactic reaction when in close proximity to nuts. This is a potentially life-threatening emergency, and ample grounds for an in-flight diversion. What if the aircraft was over the mid-Atlantic ?

IF it were true, that individual should not be doing that job. If she were NOT that allergic, then why has she bothered mentioning it at all ? Mere proximity is unlikely to be a problem, only if she ATE any herself.
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Old 4th Jul 2008, 16:59
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Told to put it away, or asked? Geez, take a chill pill. It is not unusual for us to have passengers who are allergic to nuts, and we always make a PA asking people not to eat any nut products and explain why. I've yet to receive a complaint from a passenger who objected to this. Some passengers bring their own food, so as to be sure they don't come into contact with nuts. They too cause a risk of needing to divert. Do we stop all people with an allergy from flying or just discriminate against crew? It may well be she had a minor allergy to nuts, causing breathing problems, but no serious risk, just very uncomfortable.
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Old 5th Jul 2008, 08:54
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It may well be she had a minor allergy to nuts, causing breathing problems, but no serious risk, just very uncomfortable.
Unfortunately that's a contradiction in terms.

I'm not sure it's a case of discrimination, more a question of reasonableness.

No more unreasonable than not having air traffic controllers with a stammer.

Personally, I'd always err on the side of the employee, but I'm not sure that it's safe to employ someone in such circumstances. I may be wrong.
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Old 5th Jul 2008, 09:21
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Smile I'll remember that one . . . . . . . . . ! !

No more unreasonable than not having an air traffic controller with a stammer.
Fantastic ! That's a really great comparison ! Thanks !

It's really not a question of discrimination. In an operation such as an airline, passengers are transient, constantly changing, and pretty much unpredictable. Sure, diversions happen occasionally because passengers are taken ill in flight. But we should expect much higher standards of reliability in the regular staff. Anyone who has a significant risk of an anaphylactic reaction occurring at FL 370 SHOULD NOT BE CREW - PERIOD.
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Old 5th Jul 2008, 11:58
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Red face goes on and on . . . . . . . . .

Interesting to note that this topic is not new. This discussion
on similar lines was over three years ago :

http://www.pprune.org/forums/cabin-c...s-when-cc.html

Then it was an employer who (in my view, very sensibly) turned down someone for employment as cabin crew who had known food allergy.
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Old 5th Jul 2008, 17:16
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Umm I don't think the cabin crew in question claimed she'd have anaphylactic shock if she came into contact with nuts. Also, it isn't a contradiction in terms to say she'd "just suffer breathing problems". Just as anyone with hayfever can have a mild reaction or extremely severe, the same goes for allergy to anything. She may well have had a mild allergy that left her uncomfortable. So you are saying it's ok for a passenger with an extremely severe allergy to nuts to travel at 37,000 feet (we've had quite a few travel with us who have severe allergy and carry an Epipen), but not OK for a crew member with a mild allergy. Gotya.
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Old 5th Jul 2008, 21:05
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Gotya.
If it makes you happy, then you've got me.


But I'm not quite sure that breathing problems constitutes a "mild allergy."

It sounds like you may have been on the end of a decision you don't agree with.

Post the facts, and we'll be glad to advise, without discrimination or confrontation.
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Old 6th Jul 2008, 00:22
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Unhappy misunderstandings, maybe . . . . . . . . ?

but not OK for a crew member with a mild allergy. Gotya
Well, no, that's not really what I said at all ! If an allergy is MILD, and proven to be so, and not life-threatening, then the cabin crew would have no problem working, AND FURTHERMORE would NOT have to interfere with a passenger's personal choice of on board snack.

it's ok for a passenger with an extremely severe allergy to nuts to travel at 37,000 feet (we've had quite a few travel with us who have severe allergy and carry an Epipen)
That's NOT QUITE in the spirit of what I said either ! If a passenger is known in advance to be very likely to suffer a life-threatening episode in flight, then no airline in its right mind should carry them ! My point was that, unlike staff, they fly infrequently, and facts are unpredictable, and often not known until the flight is well on its way.

Any "problem with breathing", especially at high altitude, is hardly well associated with the word "mild". The third line of Gingernut's very succinct post may well be the key to this one. I agree with his last line too.

Last edited by AMEandPPL; 6th Jul 2008 at 00:47.
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Old 6th Jul 2008, 14:48
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Ginger, no I haven't been on the end of a decision regarding allergies, but I have worked in health care and know people with allergies, so understand the problems. I have no idea how this cabin crew member reacts, but if it's anything like my daughter, her eyes will get sore and water, and nothing more. (not a peanut allergy) It's certainly not life-threatening, but quite definitley uncomfortable. The other allergy my daughter has makes her breathing "tight", but again, not life threatening in any way, more like hay fever.

We carry a fair few passengers who we know have severe allergies and carry an Epipen with them. We are told at the pre-flight breifing and we simply make a PA asking passengers not to eat any products containing nuts. Fortunately we don't have stroppy passengers who can't live without nuts for a few hours.

I really don't see the fuss in asking people not to eat nuts for a few hours. Would the friend have complained if he'd been told a passenger had an allergy to them? No doubt the crew member has been passed fit to fly by staff health, as the last thing she'd want is to put her own life at risk. I hope she asked the friend nicely, that of course makes all the difference.
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Old 6th Jul 2008, 21:33
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I can see your point, s'pose you need to be able to define "allergy."

Last edited by gingernut; 6th Jul 2008 at 21:54.
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Old 6th Jul 2008, 22:11
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Unhappy re: Naomi Campbell . . . . . . .

Fortunately we don't have stroppy passengers

So, obviously don't work for BA, then . . . . . . . . .

Was there EVER such a spoilt BRAT ? ?
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Old 7th Jul 2008, 09:12
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Def don't work for BA, I wear red. I have to say 99.9% of our passengers are very nice, the remainder I just think, "God help your other half". Anyway, I think it's all been said now, so ... I'm off to work
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Old 7th Jul 2008, 10:18
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Smile me too . . . . . . . !

Anyway, I think it's all been said now
Agreed ; thanks for a good debate Mz.

I'll get on with work too !
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Old 9th Jul 2008, 15:06
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Nut allergy/intolerance

Hi all,

Been waiting for a thread of this sort to come about: I have wanted to be a professional pilot since I was very young-yet I do have what I beleive to be an intolerance to peanuts. My situation is that so long as I don't consume them, which when I last did about 13 years ago, made me be sick after about half an hour or so of consuming it. I am perfectly ok if I'm at a party and there are nuts etc on the table, and their presence does not make by breathing difficult nor my skin itch. I know loads of foods especially biscuits like to have the label saying not suitable for nut allergy sufferers and so on, but I could consume packets of those until the cows go home! I have been told from a former airline pilot (been retired for about 5 years) that with this being the case-so long as I discuss this properly with the AME at the medical, I should not have a problem obtaining it.

I did think this may have been the case as I have read about people with more serious complaints such as asthma and diabetes etc who can still obtiain a class 1

My health meets all the other medical requirements as well.

If anyone can provide me with some more info/advice on this I would really appreciate it.

Thanks,

Adam.

Last edited by dunelmitepilot; 9th Jul 2008 at 21:30.
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Old 9th Jul 2008, 15:36
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I think you really need to be clear about the difference between an intolerance to something and a true allergy.

I'm intolerant to lemon meringue, it also made me sick some years ago, but I'm not allergic to it.

And I didn't declare this to my AME.
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Old 9th Jul 2008, 15:46
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Thanks gingernut. I may take it further and get an allergy test booked but the former airline pilot I mentioned in the previous post said it did sound like and intolerance rather than an allergy. He also mentioned that airlines try and refrain from serving food with nuts/nut oil in anyway due to the number of people who have the really bad allergic reactions-whereby if they just inhale the smell it can set them off!!!

I can't say I'd run the risk of not declaring it to an AME though-but fair play to you for doing it!!

A.
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Old 9th Jul 2008, 18:42
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Definition of allergy: "an abnormal reaction of the body to a previously encountered allergen introduced by inhalation, ingestion, injection, or skin contact, often manifested by itchy eyes, runny nose, wheezing, skin rash, or diarrhoea".

Can't say I blame her if she was trying to avoid any of these reactions to nuts.
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Old 16th Feb 2011, 18:17
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Nut Allergies

Hi everyone,

Ok so here's my story - I attended a Class One Medical at the CAA at Gatwick last December and passed everything including an exercise spirometry test for my asthma. So all well and good! BUT I have a nut allergy, and the CAA wanted me to see an immunologist, so I did and sent the report back to the CAA who advised me before that the likelihood is that my medical would just limit me to working in multicrew (which is fine, because I want to work for the airlines anyway!) I got a call from them today and they told me that they could only issue me an unrestircted Class two medical which would be fine for private flying etc, and that it would last 5 years. But this is the problem, I don't understand why they won't issue me a class one medical? They are sending me a letter to explain but it was all gobble di gook over the phone! They also said to me that when Easa bring in new rules next April, there is a possibility that they could refuse my application to upgrade my Class 2 into a Class 1?!

My nut allergy is not severe before everyone says I told you so! In fact the results were interesting. My peanut allergy came out really weak, Cashews came out negative. The main reaction was with brazil nuts which is much easier to avoid than peanuts, and also adding the fact that i havn't had a major reaction for almost 20 years and have never been incapacitated or taken to hospital because of it.

Please, if anyone has had any experience of this PM me, I would like to hear other people's experiences or criticisms, as I am really stuck as what to do. I will probably go and get some advice from an AME near Gatwick and see if I can argue my case that my nut allergy really isn't that severe. (I won't die from being in the same room as a nut, but making sure that nut isn't the person sitting next to me trying to work my epipen!)

I appreciate all responses and please PM me if you have naything to say!
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