Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Am I my brother's keeper?

A lot of people, on the topic of smoking bans, argued that they were the lip of a slippery slope. "Next thing you know, they'll be banning perfume! I mean, I find the smell of heavy perfume offensive!"

To which the counterargument was advanced that there was a difference between being offended by perfume and catching a bout of cancer from secondhand smoke. What this counterargument seems to miss is a phenomenon that seems to have cropped up in the last twenty years or so: people who are deathly allergic to everything.

I'm not sure where these people were in my youth: Every class had the one sickly kid who had the asthma, was 'lergic to school food, and had to bring special lunches from home, but nowadays it seems you can't swing a cat without hitting someone who'll swell up from anaphylactic shock and die when you do. There are people running around with epipens in their pockets in case they come into contact with everything from bee stings to paint fumes to shellfish to peanuts...

...to perfume.

The camel's nose is in the tent. If someone is actually medically sensitive to vapors given off by others, who do we stuff in the bunny suit? The allergy sufferer, or the rest of society?


(H/T to Unc.)

39 comments:

Duke said...

You are right, the camel's nose is in the tent....time to kill the camel
(that was insensitive I'm sorry)

Stuart the Viking said...

As someone who is sensative to perfumes (mostly the cheap ones), I can tell you that it SUCKS when I arrive early to a movie that I really want to see in order to be sure to get a good seat, watch the theater fill up, then, at the last minute, have some ass-hat that doesn't know a little goes a long way sit in the seat in front of me. At that point my choice is between leaving altogether, or searching for another seat in a crowded theater (which I detest and was the very thing I arrived early to avoid).

That being said. I wish people would be more considerate of others and try to cut it down to maybe half the bottle instead of the whole damn thing. BUT, I don't think the government should step in and enforce that at gun point.

s

WV axinedl: what my brain feels like after a couple of minutes around a perfume spaz.

Ruth said...

being one of those folks who's massively sensitive to scents, as in I'll break out into a sneezing fit at even a little much perfume, there's a point where the allergy sufferer needs to get over themselves and deal.

The government has no business regulating scents people wear. If its that bad then carry your epipen, if the person in question is someone you know and have to deal with on a regular basis then maybe its time to speak to them privately about wearing a bit less scent. But get the government out of my life.

I read these stories on these kids who are so violently allergic to X, that if X has even touched their desk since the last time it was wiped down they could have an allergy attack. And I wonder just what the adults expect these kids to do as adults. If your kid is that allergic you need to talk to your doctor about things that can be done to reduce the allergy, but screwing up the life of every other kid in the school isn't one of them.

DaveFla said...

Allergic rhinitis/sinusitis here. It's never occurred to me to try to ban others from doing *anything* in response to the situation, and I'm keeping that approach even if my kid winds up showing the same sensitivities or worse.

Bram said...

Sure we've gone too far. But I remember how incredibly rude smokers were back when they ruled the planet. You puffers did inspire a lot of hatred.

Too bad we can't seem to find a happy medium.

Mark said...

I actually have a theory about the rise in allergies. An allergic reaction is an inappropriate immune system response, the immune system sees something that's harmless and reacts as if it's harmful. I believe the rise in allergies is tied to the use of anti-bacterial everything from hand soap to dish detergent to laundry detergent. If you come in contact with actual germs your immune system learns to differentiate. If you've never been in the same room as a germ your immune system may say "Peanuts! OMG we're gonna die, quick, shut down the respiratory system, it's the only way!"

Makes sense to me anyway.

SGB said...

I wish we were allergic to bad government and could get the nannies to ban it.

RevolverRob said...

The rise in allergy sufferers is actually being studied. At least one piece of early evidence suggests that there hasn't been a rise in allergy sufferers, but a rise in diagnosing them. Additionally, at least some discussion has been given as to how the effect of being able to breath clean air (without say....second hand smoke everywhere) affects allergies and allergy sufferers. Meaning, once you booger bank isn't stopped up all the time from smoke, suddenly you can breathe everything and oh...all the things that trigger immune responses as well.

I think there probably has been a rise and it will ultimately be tied to the exponential increase in population, tied to the number of allergy sufferers who are free from natural selection, due to our current society and state of medicine. I.E. in the past if you were sick all the time, you'd be dead before procreating. Now with plenty of antibiotics, knowledge of microbes and how they effect you, it's much easier to treat illnesses that may have killed you in the past.

Also, as an allergy sufferer, and Epipen carrier it's not like I want to be allergic to bees and fire ants. It's just I am, and no I don't want to ban bees and wasps (those I can avoid), but the fire ants? I'd like to rid the planet of that little group of bastages.

parascribe said...

I think Mark and RevolverRob are onto something. We are raising entirely too many hot house humans in this country.

cj said...

"...nowadays it seems you can't swing a cat without hitting someone who'll swell up from anaphylactic shock and die when you do."

My favorite quote of the day.

Tam said...

cj,

It gave me great pleasure to write that. I went back and re-read it a couple times myself, I was so tickled with how pleasant it sounded. :)

Anonymous said...

"To which the counterargument was advanced that there was a difference between being offended by perfume and catching a bout of cancer from secondhand smoke"

You're as likely to get cancer from incidental exposure to secondhand smoke as you are from perfume, which is to say not at all.

-SayUncle

Woodman said...

Isn't this a law to require public employees that deal with the public to not wear scents?

While I'm not in favor of nannyism, seems to me this is no different than a private company saying you cant wear perfume at work. You want to wear perfume, go work somewhere else.

Because it's the government we're talking about here they can't just change the rule, they have to pass a law.

I get the get out of my life part of it, believe me. But, if I'm going to the DMV because I need a new license and I have a severe cheap perfume allergy I'm screwed. These are employees who the public has to deal with, for court dates, tickets, licensing, FOA requests, etc...

In fact, you could make a case that if the state offices were filled with smoking, perfumed, peanut butter eating employees that you are denying the services of the state to individuals.

Ken said...

"If someone is actually medically sensitive to vapors given off by others, who do we stuff in the bunny suit? The allergy sufferer, or the rest of society?"

Arrooonnnngh ornnnnnnghh raaannggh! (shakes bowcaster)

(Babel Fish Translation: "Which option gives more power to the functionaries of the state?")

Anonymous said...

Went to get my (forced by wife) flu shot last fall. Pharmacist giving shot asked if I was allergic to mercury. I replied, well yes, it is a poison.

Bad me. Turns out the preservative in the vaccine is mercury based.

I agree, Mark and Revolver Bob may be on to something.

Terry
Florida

perlhaqr said...

*stuffs the allergy sufferers into safety bubbles*

It's for their own good.

Jayson said...

Take the mutants and genetic freaks and dsend them to their own island.

And they can't leave. It's for their own good.

And allergic to CHEAP perfume? C'mon, man. That's not how it works.

Drang said...

I'm allergic to expensive perfume, I get this pain in the wallet whenever the wife looks at it... {rimshot}

"Hot house humans", consider the phrase stolen.
"Second hand smoke", and still no release of the WHO report that determined that there is, in fact, too a low statistically-indicated threat from second hand smoke that it's not statistically significant.
Seems like a epi pen for bee sting is different from one for nuts.
And I have an aversion to bell peppers. Literally cannot stand to be around them. Especially the green ones, the smell will make me ill. But that's not an allergy, and I simply refuse to be around them; rarely do I need to leave a room if they're being eaten. Maybe I should embrace my victimhood and demand damages from whoever starts eating raw green peppers...

CTone said...

Ha! The government wants to regulate common scents? Weird.

"The rise in allergy sufferers is actually being studied. At least one piece of early evidence suggests that there hasn't been a rise in allergy sufferers, but a rise in diagnosing them."

This is true. I'm a rare allergy freak in that I'm almost deathly allergic to whatever my body decides to be allergic to that day. It can be pepper during breakfast on Sunday, and then on Monday I'm no longer allergic to the same pepper from the same bottle. My doc says diagnosing freakshows like me is getting better, and no lie he's suggested I should join a gov't study of others like me. Oh yaaay! Where do I sign!

Anonymous said...

i have been deathly allergic to the toxic waste called 'perfume' for years now, if i walk too close the store of perfumes, soaps, gels, other crap, i can start blowing chunks...
the turdwurlders where i live don't bathe, they just slop on more scent from the dollar store, its like being in a 200 year old sewer that's just been soaked down...

there should be a death penalty for gratuitous perfume use...

i see people every day who suffer horrible reactions to the chemical filth around them...

i'm surprised that tam is not allergic to stupidity what with all of it shes exposed to on a daily basis...

Mark said...

Oh yeah, over-use of perfume makes me gag, but I don't think it's an allergic reaction. I LIKE my wife's perfume, but she puts it on lightly enough that I have to be within her personal space to smell it at all. If I can smell your perfume and I'm not close enough to touch you, it's too much. I used to work with a woman who left a trail of stench.

Perfume should caress the senses, not grab the senses by the throat, throw them against the wall, and yell "Smell me mother f**ker!!" in their faces.

Stuart the Viking said...

"And allergic to CHEAP perfume? C'mon, man. That's not how it works."

Jayson, that's exactly how it works for a vast majority of perfume alergy sufferrers. The cheap stuff uses cheaper chemicals, that's part of the reason it's cheap. The expensive perfumes use better chemicals that aren't as likely to cause a reaction.

I recently started dating a woman who smells like a dream. No watery eyes, no itchy nose, no burning feeling in my lungs. She wonders why I just want to smell her all the time. Perfume? Yep, expensive. I think her Dad buys it for her.

s

Woodman said...

Maybe I'm reading this wrong, and maybe that's the nose that's in the tent, but isn't this just saying that the people who deal with the public in the government can't wear scent?

Isn't that the deal everywhere people work? If I can smell you over the counter you might be wearing too much perfume.

And they have to make it a law because people in unionized public jobs aren't allowed to expect their employees to act like adults right?



WV Unbed. When my daughter doesn't get up for school I am forced to unbed her.

Tam said...

Anon 2:24,

Well, I do break out in hives from improper capitalization...

Stuart the Viking said...

"Well, I do break out in hives from improper capitalization..."

Tam, I love you. Not in the "Please have my puppies" sort of way, but love indeed. I was having a crappy day and that little piece of snark just made me smile.

s

Justthisguy said...

I'm with Stuart. The good stuff, like my Mom wore, doesn't bother me. The cheap stuff, well, OMG!

I think a lot of the objections are by people who are more sensorily sensitive than actually allergic, but I remember a few years back when I couldn't walk down the detergent aisle in a grocery store without actual pain in, and dripping from, the nose. I seem not to be bothered so much by it these days, but still buy unscented laundry detergent and shaving cream, and the least-stinky soap I can find for washing my body and hair.

Hyper-acute possible-aspy senses: Bug, or feature? E.g., I was told by an audiologist that I have unusually good hearing. This makes the tinnitus right annoying, not to mention the electrically amplified music in church. I take earplugs to church, and use them.

tanksoldier said...

In the private sector it's already happening. My previous employer banned scented products. If you had a noticeable smell, good or bad, you were sent home... due to "sensitivities" and "allergies".

In he government arena children are banned from bringing lunches from home, ostensibly due to the possibility of allergens (we all know it's so the district will get more money for it's lunch program, but the allergy angle is what they claim)...

Trans-fats banned in California, smoking... what's next?

robl said...

Gotta love the government.

Protecting us from the nonexistent cancer threat of second-hand tobacco smoke while spending us into caves heated by campfires.

Now that's love.

Anonymous said...

I have met a person who said she was 'lergic to methane (she could smell it too) and another who said she was 'lergic to all chemicals. They both worked for chemical companies in R&D.

Both cases pretty much shocked me to silence.

Gerry

Anonymous said...

anon 2.24
"i'm surprised that tam is not allergic to stupidity what with all of it shes exposed to on a daily basis..."
Exposure can build up resistance.
I believe that's Tam's secret.

Andy said...

"I'm not sure where these people were in my youth"

I've always guessed they were always there. Just already dead by that point and no one knew why.

Old Grouch said...

"...nowadays it seems you can't swing a cat without hitting someone who'll swell up from anaphylactic shock and die when you do."

Come for the snark, stay for the style...

Oh, and happy birthday!

Zendo Deb said...

There are 2 schools of thought on allergies. 1 is that since we grow up in virtually sterile surroundings - as compared to even 100 years ago - we never get a chance to develop resistance.

As far as food allergies - wheat in particular has been so over-bio-engineered it bears little resemblance to anything we may have been eating 10,000 years ago it isn't surprising a lot of us can't eat it.

Add in a healthy dose of things like MSG, various preservatives, a handful of anti-biotics, and the medical establishment's refusal to believe that we are a hunting species, and it's surprising we can eat anything.

Robin said...

... and another who said she was 'lergic to all chemicals. They both worked for chemical companies in R&D.


Wow. That's an amazing concentration of ignorance you stumbled on, Gerry.

Justthisguy said...

Robin, being around irritating stuff can sensitise you to it. It can also de-sensitise you to it.

Zendo, I concur. We were not meant to eat cereals. Having to plow, and eat cereals, is part of our punishment of being thrown out of the Garden of Eden, if you believe that, or just outbreeding the carrying capacity of the land for hunting and gathering.

Some argue that we started agriculture of cereals, and stationary living, so that we could brew beer. I agree with those people.

Justthisguy said...

P.s. "Beer is proof that God loves us, and wants us to be happy." -- Benjamin Franklin.

Spud said...

I'm allergic to yuppies, they all make want to yurrkie...

Anonymous said...

Robin, yes it was.

Justthisguy: Asked the woman who was "lergic to all chemicals if that included oxygen, water and glucose. Her answer was yes, then no, then I don't know.

Gerry

Mike said...

Once you realize that all the studies that say second hand smoking will kill people were faked (or at least the conclusions were), this actually makes sense.