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Topic: smoke allergies  (Read 12656 times)
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« Reply #10 on: February 18, 2012 04:28:37 AM »

I also have lupus & I have asthma. Both are severely triggered by smoke.

When you fill out your swap questionnaire the question reads do you have any allergies?

Yes, I write down smoke. Does that necessarily mean I am allergic to it? No. It does trigger medical conditions. I really didn't think the requirements for joining a swap was that I had to spend sixty seconds explaining personal medical conditions that are really none of my partner's business.

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« Reply #11 on: February 18, 2012 04:43:53 AM »

There is no one in my house who has smoke allergies, and yet I answer "yes" to that question on the questionnaire.  I just don't want anyone I love, nor myself, to be exposed to cigarettes, their smell, and the bad health effects. 

I agree, we shouldn't have to give a detailed medical diagnosis in order for our swap partner/organizer to be understanding and follow our wishes when it comes to this.

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« Reply #12 on: February 18, 2012 05:37:31 AM »

I didn't say that participants should have to give a detailed run down of their medical history but if someone finds that simply saying "I'm allergic to smoke" isn't enough then it is obviously worth considering emphasising why.

It seems clear to me (however I might be in the minority) that being open about your reason for requesting a non-smoking partner could easily solve this entire issue. If you don't feel it is necessary to expand on your answers then it should be reasonble to expect the same of your partner. For example if a questionnaire says "Do you or does anyone in your house smoke" I would simply answer no. However, if someone has a serious condition perhaps this answer doesn't cut it. Perhaps I should be saying "No, I don't smoke and I don't allow anyone to smoke in my home however sometimes friends and family who do smoke come over and they will have a cigarette outside in the yard and then come back in to the house so I suppose there is the remote possibility of fabrics or materials being contaminated with smoke." But I don't know how anyone could expect that level of detail if they're not willing to offer it themselves.

I also think claiming a "smoke allergy" when one doesn't exist could be doing a disservice to those with actual medical conditions. I don't understand why people are adverse to simply saying "I don't like smoke". It blurs the line between something which is a personal preference and something that could actually phsycially harm someone. If a swap organiser has to make decisions about partners and there are uneven numbers of people who smoke and people who say they have a smoke allergy then it could actually be a serious problem. Someone who maybe has a smoker in the house could ultimately be partnered with someone who "just doesn't like smoke" if they were considerate about their crafting and made sure everything was washed and kept far away from any smoke. Whereas this could potentially still be dangerous for someone who has asthma where even a small amount of smoke lingering around could trigger an attack. How is an organizer supposed to match people up effectively if everyone just says "I'm allergic to smoke" regardless of the truth behind that comment?

Anyway, I'm not trying to start any controversial arguments I'm simply trying to point out the difficulties that can arise in these situations and the OP's problem is likely the result of a lack of communication about swap partners' needs and not an actual attempt to ruin someone's swap.

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« Reply #13 on: February 18, 2012 08:53:00 AM »

I think that there is a big difference between saying allergic and don't like when it comes to the smell of smoke in swaps.

Saying you don't like means that you'd rather not have. It's like telling your swap partner that you don't like a certain color, and they may try their best to avoid it, but there is a chance that you will get at least a little bit of that color.

Saying you are allergic means that you can't have. I'm allergic to nuts. So, whenever I receive something that looks great and there are nuts in it I have to give it away or throw it out.

I think that the issue with smoke is that there are more people that don't smoke then do. When something that smells of smoke enters a smoke free area, it can have big effects on people that aren't use to it. I don't smoke, so when I receive things that smell of smoke it makes me ill. Headaches which turn into migraines and vomiting. Then I have to give away or throw out what was sent to me. And to honest it isn't fair when that happens. I take caution in letting others know of allergens in my home so they can be aware before I start crafting. So I work hard on my package and then they gush about how much they love it, and I have to get rid of the one I received because they didn't take caution or care with mine and I'm left empty handed.

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« Reply #14 on: February 18, 2012 09:49:52 AM »

... but couldn't find any verified information confirming it as an actual allergen other than the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America saying it can exacerbate Asthma and other allergies, which seemed kind of obvious anyway.

For example if I had a craft partner who said they were allergic to smoke, I would think "Oh no! What can I do to make sure I don't inadvertantly kill them?  Shocked" And I would then begin furiously Googling my little fingers to death about smoke allergies. However, having already been in this situation I know that all my Googling would turn up is that there is no scientific evidence to confirm that smoke is an allergen so I'd just think to myself, "Oh... So I guess they just don't like smoke. Fair enough."...

I'd just like point out that asthma can be just as deadly as allergies. I have asthma and I put the no smoke request on my swap questionnaires because I can't breathe around it. And, as others have pointed out, other conditions affected by smoke can be debilitating and painful.

I don't expect swappers to give an in-depth analysis of all allergens and potential triggers that could come in contact with swap items, especially since some things that can set off an attack aren't things people normally think to list (like artificial scents). I know I wouldn't if I didn't have to be careful. When I organize I ask for clarification if needed (Is woodsmoke okay? Are the cats in the craft room?) and have never had my head bitten off. I appreciate it when organizers ask me questions if they need to as well.

Communication is important on both sides, but there is a place to draw the line. (And I think just about everyone with an allergy or asthma or migraines, etc. has met people who don't take it seriously, even after explaining and sometimes even after them witnessing an attack. Or maybe it's a regional thing? )
« Reply #15 on: February 18, 2012 12:29:16 PM »

On the whole, I explain it when I think it's relevant, if it's not, I leave it as allergic to smoke. I really don't want to have to put off any partner or organiser by explaining in the same depth of detail that I do for my emergency information pack. I am well aware that I am accepted onto a swap by the goodwill of the organiser.

There are plenty of allergies out there, how many people mention dust? I know 3 people who are allergic to dust mites (PM me if you need more details), so I always mention it. A person can become allergic to ANYTHING that they are exposed to for a second time, so: common or not, allergies shouldn't be dismissed. If you google an allergy and it's not mentioned as common in the sites you choose to visit, doesn't mean it's a preference. Allergies also vary in severity, they can range from a mild itch, to full blown anaphylactic shock and death, both are classed as an allergic reaction, but clearly have very different results. Please, please, don't dismiss an allergy just because you've googled it and it's not common.

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« Reply #16 on: February 18, 2012 12:38:48 PM »

I hope I didn't imply that I think people's preferances or conditions should be ignored - I certainly meant no such thing! I think regardless of the reason, if someone has requested something then their partner should try their best to honour it. However, if someone has a health condition that is so serious that even the remotest whiff of smoke could be dangerous then I think it is worth mentioning because even people who don't smoke and live in smoke-free households can still come in contact with people who do and if this could somehow rub off on their crafting materials then it needs to be considered and I'm sure most people who don't suffer from any kind of smoke induced symptoms wouldn't think in such extremes.

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« Reply #17 on: February 18, 2012 12:40:04 PM »

My kids have smoke issues.  It makes one cough/sneeze really bad, and the other nauseous.  I try to avoid having them around friends of mine who smoke for those reason.  I also don't care for items that have been smoked around.  So, not smoking in the house and washing hands works for my kids.  If its a washable craft, I'd probably just wash it before I gave it to them.  But I guess best thing to do would just be to ask how sensitive your partner is.

And as far as people can be allergic to anything, no matter how uncommon it is..... I'm allergic to lettuce.  :/  Of all flippin things.  Good thing I don't have to include that in swap info though.  haha
« Last Edit: February 18, 2012 12:40:55 PM by FeliciaSlayDCRG » THIS ROCKS   Logged

« Reply #18 on: February 18, 2012 05:43:13 PM »

Thank you everyone for your helpful responses! Sounds like it's always a good idea to clear everything you can with your partner each time you swap. Smiley
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« Reply #19 on: February 18, 2012 11:33:00 PM »

I have a ton of allergies and I always outline them when I'm doing swaps. I haven't had any problems so far and communication has been a big part of that. I've been put with partners that have houses with things I'm allergic to (such as cats) and they just PM me to discuss what parameters would make things safe for me. Hasn't been an issue and hopefully it will continue in that manner!

leighi123 (and everyone else who has had problems) I am really sorry to hear that you have had this happen more than once. I know I would be devastated to work my butt off on a swap and to receive something lovely that I wouldn't be able to even keep in the house. I'm allergic to smoke too and the situation would be the same for me as well.
« Last Edit: February 18, 2012 11:42:55 PM by smashu » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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