The Kiss of Death: Beware a PBJ Sandwich

13 Jun

Anaphylaxis can kill you. And do so very quickly and unexpectedly.

Our immune system protects us every minute of every day by attacking microscopic creatures that could do us harm. Things such as viruses, bacteria, and other invaders. When a foreign organism enters our body, the immune system recognizes it and immediately goes to work building antibodies against it. These antibodies attach to the foreign organism and attract various blood cells to it. Mostly the various types of White Blood Cells (WBCs) we all have. The cells then damage and devour the invader. That’s a good thing.


But sometimes this protective system goes haywire. It over-reacts. It creates substances that lead to an acute asthmatic attack, a diffuse rash, a swelling of the face and hands and feet and other body parts, and a dramatic, and often deadly, drop in blood pressure. We call such an overwhelming reaction  anaphylactic shock.

The treatment for anaphylaxis is the immediate injection of epinephrine, antihistamines, and steroids. These either block the allergic reaction itself or mitigate the body’s reaction to it. But time is critical. These measures must be taken very quickly. This is why many people who have serious allergies carry small epinephrine injectors such as EpiPen.

Someone who is allergic to things such as bee stings, peanuts, certain foods or plants, or some medications can suffer such a reaction even if exposed to very small quantities of the allergen. A little dab can set off a major reaction.

Case in point: Myriam Ducre-Lemay.

Myriam was allergic to peanuts. She avoided them like the plague. But one evening, her boyfriend kissed her after he had eaten peanut butter and this set off an anaphylactic reaction that took her life.


Mayo Clinic Article:

Wikipedia Article:


2 responses to “The Kiss of Death: Beware a PBJ Sandwich

  1. wildninja

    June 13, 2016 at 8:58 pm

    Thank you. Many people don’t realize how serious food allergies are. There are different types of food allergies and different reactions also.

    After I gave a talk at work about food allergies, highlighting how important it was for a new employee not to contact peanuts at all, someone left actual peanut shells– on purpose– in his work vehicle. They should have been charged and they should have fired.

    This same guy had kids prod him with Snickers bars growing up. One was charged with assault.

    I remember a case from the PD in which someone smeared a peanut allergic man’s doorknob with peanut butter. Sickos.


  2. Cheryl Dale

    June 14, 2016 at 9:21 am

    The kiss of death, eh? Great idea for a murder mystery plot!

    Liked by 1 person


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