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Andrew T. Austin
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Allergy, Hayfever, Hypnosis and Suggestion

Here’s an interesting anomaly.  A number of years ago when I was still a casualty nurse I was on the resuscitation team when we were brought in a man under a blue light and police escort in a rather severe and potentially fatal anaphylactic response.

He was working outdoors in a labouring gang and was bitten on the lower leg by an adder (viper) snake.  Whilst some of the team worked rapidly to get the guy stabilised I took the history from the ambulance crew whilst stripping the guy – the bite was apparently to the lower leg but the crew had been unable to locate the exact position of the bite – their main concern had been keeping him stable and transferred as quickly as possible to the department where our team was waiting for him.

The man’s symptoms were unmistakable – his face was heavily swollen, particularly his lips, tongue and eyelids, his blood pressure had plummeted, his skin had hives and a heavily mottled appearance, his breathing was laboured and greatly distressed.

High flow oxygen was supplied, further veinous access was gained, fluids given, adrenaline and chlorphenaramine was administered and whilst all this was going on, one unmistakable detail became quite apparent. 

Despite the heat of the day, this man had been wearing knee high Doctor Martin boots and fairly hefty combat trousers – essentially, there was no way that this guy had been bitten by a snake.  A snake had bitten at him (it was witnessed by colleagues) and probably made contact with the boot, but there was no possibility that this creature had injected any venom into him.  Toxicology later confirmed this.   Yet this man was clearly experiencing a near fatal allergic reaction.

Subsequent follow up demonstrated that he had never experienced a severe allergic reaction before, which ruled out any reference experience.  If a reference experience been present, it is possible for this to be triggered by the “suggestion” of the bite.  Later allergy tests demonstrated only a response to certain pollens – hayfever.

More on adder bites in the UK here:

Now, to help connect some dots…

Currently, I am working with an individual who worked in a particular workshop his entire life – a specific type of dust is always present in this workshop environment.  One day last year they started to become a bit unwell but ignored it thinking it was just a viral thing and struggled on.  They struggled on for about 16 days before collapsing at work and was taken to hospital where a rather severe pneumonia was diagnosed – a week long stay in intensive care, followed by a lengthy stay in hospital ensued.  Convalescence has been lengthy.  Problem is that during those 16 days of rather severe physiological stress this person was exposed to the dust of the workshop.  So now this person’s immune system has anchored the response to the dust, as demonstrated by allergy tests – and as a consequence they have acquired a severe and dangerous allergy - and the allergy shows up as…asthma, but only on exposure to the dust.

Here’s a nice overview of how allergy may be acquired:

And more a detailed view here: