Patterico's Pontifications

4/18/2009

End of an Era: Patterico Develops Sudden and Violent Allergy to Soft Drinks

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 1:15 pm



There’s a tear running down my face now, and I think it’s just because I have been sneezing for the past five minutes.

Yesterday, I went into a four-minute sneezing fit as I was eating dinner. Minutes later, as I took a drink of Coke Zero, my nose tickled again, and I started sneezing again. I realized that I was sneezing every time I took a drink from the bottle.

It took me a while to realize, because I drink probably three cans of diet drinks a day.

I just figured there was something about the bottle. This particular Coke Zero was from a 12-ounce plastic bottle — a packaging I had never gotten before. Maybe I’ll just have to go back to the cans, I thought. I gave the mostly-empty bottle to my wife and said: “Take this. I can’t drink it any more.” I thought she would drink the rest, but instead she put it in the fridge.

Later, near midnight, I took the bottle out of the fridge and started to drink the rest, just to see what would happen. I started sneezing again. I waited ten minutes and finished the bottle, and sneezed again. The overwhelming urge to sneeze hit me the very second the liquid hit my tongue.

This morning, I drove my kids to swimming lessons, and took a can of Diet Dr. Pepper with me. I figured this would be different: instead of a bottle, it was a can; instead of a Coke Zero, it was a different brand of drink. I started sneezing in the car. My kids were laughing as I would sneeze every time I took a drink.

After swimming lessons, we went to McDonald’s. I sipped from a Diet Coke — from the fountain — and started sneezing.

I guess I have to swear off soft drinks. This is just weird, because it happened yesterday, all of a sudden, out of the blue — and I’ve never noticed a problem before.

82 Responses to “End of an Era: Patterico Develops Sudden and Violent Allergy to Soft Drinks”

  1. That’s really freakish. But it’s completely possible to develop an allergy to somethng you’ve enjoyed for a while.

    It’s not like you were getting anything healthy from the soft drinks, but I know it’s the most convenient way to stay hydrated in my world.

    I’d suggest seeing a doctor when you can.

    Juan (4cdfb7)

  2. Patterico – you should check this out.

    Or, have security cameras installed in your house – you never know if LA Times staffers are getting desperate. :)

    Apogee (e2dc9b)

  3. It’s hardly “soft drinks” but rather some ingredient. Perhaps it’s the artificial sweetener. Or the corn syrup that they use in most US brands.

    Try the pure stuff: get real Coca-Cola with real sugar, imported from Mexico at Smart&Final; or get the new Pepsi Natural at your local Vons.

    Both in old-fashioned glass bottles.

    Kevin Murphy (0b2493)

  4. Apogee, that’s the very worst sort of statistics.

    There is no link, but being fat can make you have cancer, as we all know, and if your have a poor diet, which really has little to do with soda and is a big picture thing, albeit sodas aren’t great for you, then that fatness causes cancer.

    What if you’re athletic, or drink only a few cokes, or like P, you drink Coke Zero? Then, you’re probably not getting fat from the sodas. If you eat lots of cheeseburgers, donuts, and drink water, the same applies to the person who drinks cokes too much.

    Just inane. Cokes are full of chemicals, but so is the air in LA. He’s pretty screwed either way, sad to say.

    I caught an allergy to a metal used in the production of nuclear missiles that I had inhaled in the service before I went to college. Just one day happened to be allergic to stuff in my lungs. I don’t know why the body decides to get uppity about its environment, but what can ya do?

    Juan (4cdfb7)

  5. Fortunately, there’s beer. I’m drinking one now. It does pose a problem at work, though. Unless your boss is very broad minded.

    You might try water in a plastic bottle. I’ve about five thousand empties around the house I could loan you. Women and bottled water; a marriage made in… Somewhere.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  6. “But it’s completely possible to develop an allergy to somethng you’ve enjoyed for a while.”

    Juan – I know what you mean. That’s sort of what happened to me with sex. Except it wasn’t my allergy, it was the people I was having sex with who seemed to develop an allergy to me.

    Oh well.

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  7. Kevin has a point, except that there aren’t that many ‘soft drink’ specific chems in both Dr Pepper and Coke Zero other than carbonation and food coloring… and all brands have those.

    Still, corn syrup is just bad all around. ‘real’ sugar isn’t healthy to eat either, but it does make for a better soda. I love Coke Zero, but other sodas have different sweeteners. It would be easy to drink seltzer, eat some sugar free candies with the same sweeteners as the sodas, and maybe something died with the same stuff cokes get, and see what the common factor is.

    Juan (4cdfb7)

  8. Juan – There was only an invitation to check out a link from the Mayo Clinic. I wasn’t implying obesity or cancer on Patterico’s part, and the ingestion of fat was simply part of the article.

    What seemed interesting was the (albeit loose) link between gastroesophageal reflux disease and the consumption of sodas. Some research points to a link with Sinusitis.

    I’m not a doctor, but I don’t think that Patterico is a helpless lamb led astray by my ‘worst sort of statistics’. He’s actually pretty good at dealing with statistics.

    I’m just trying to give information. I trust Patterico’s judgment to evaluate that info.

    Apogee (e2dc9b)

  9. That sounds terrible! Feel better.

    Tim McGarry (9fe080)

  10. That is bizarre. Try doing an ingredient comparision to see if you can pinpoint the common factor.

    OmegaPaladin (3468f5)

  11. I guess I have to swear off soft drinks.

    Just as well. Personally, I’ve never understood people’s undying fondness for glorified sugar-packed water—evident when a typical grocery store has boxes of soda stacked to the rafters.

    Plus the phosphorous contained in such drinks is bad for the body’s intake or processing of calcium. Therefore, soda is not too beneficial to the health of a body’s skeletal system.

    However, when I do have a craving for something along the lines of a cola, I’ll take a can of ginger ale to any of the colas. Less sugary and gunky to me. The only problem with ginger ale is few fast-food restaurants carry that product, whereas they all stock and sell other types of sodas, particularly the Coca-Colas and Pepsis. So most people apparently prefer brown-colored sugar water to almost anything else.

    Mark (411533)

  12. Not sure I could make it through the day without my triple venti mocha and Mountain Dews.

    JD (4d1a78)

  13. I have developed allergies to all cleaning products, as well as the unique plastics used to make vaccuum cleaners.

    JD (4d1a78)

  14. I gave up soft drinks completely many years ago, but when I can get my hands on the Mexican colas I usually buy at least a six – pack. You may also try some of the “natural” sodas like Jones Soda. They also come in bottles, and have few preservatives in their ingredient list.

    Dmac (1ddf7e)

  15. I need to be more clear.

    Patterico said: The overwhelming urge to sneeze hit me the very second the liquid hit my tongue. – This seemed very fast, so I looked up food allergies and time frames.

    I found this, which stated “An allergic reaction to food can take place within a few minutes to an hour.” – Which seemed to me to be too slow.

    Which led to the search for other soda related ailments, and the Mayo link.

    But the symptoms were sneezing and stuffy nose, which was how I found the second article, which states: For his part, Smith believes acid may not have to reach the sinuses or even the throat to exacerbate sinus woes. Instead, GERD or LPR could trigger neurological changes linked to sinusitis.

    Again, it’s just info, and I trust Patterico to evaluate everything.

    Apogee (e2dc9b)

  16. I have developed allergies to all cleaning products, as well as the unique plastics used to make vaccuum cleaners.
    Comment by JD — 4/18/2009 @ 2:33 pm

    That’s your story to Better Half anyway, right? 😉

    Stashiu3 (460dc1)

  17. Last year some research was conducted on people who lived across the country (both city and rural areas), and their blood levels all had much higher levels of parabens and other nasty plasticizers than were previously suspected – so an allergic reaction to that chemical is certainly possible.

    Dmac (1ddf7e)

  18. It looks like the curses the left have been sending your way finally stuck. Kinda a pathetic outcome for all that effort on their part though.

    Soronel Haetir (a3f11b)

  19. Maybe Janet Napolitano is slipping something into your Coke Zero when you’re not looking.

    Hey, anything to stop (or at least slow down) those right-wing extremist screeds, right Patterico? 😉

    qdpsteve (5eb540)

  20. Patterico : You have my sympathies. I have not developed an allergy to the Diet Rite cola that I drink but, after fifty year of enjoying red wines, I now start sneezing after one sip of a red. White and Rose are okay but any red sets me off. check with a specialist to see what in the colas are causing the sneezing. In my case,it is the “good” antioxidiants in red wines.

    Longwalker (4e0dda)

  21. I just can’t see how the near-instantaneous effect can be immunological in origin. The reactions take time, as plenty of different types of white blood cells have to chat things up with small proteins, cell-cell contact, histamine release, etc.

    On the other hand, consider Nutrasweet. It is a dipeptide made up of two amino acids, phenylalanine and aspartic acid. They are amino acids found in every protein of your body, and in most of what you eat. So when your body breaks down Nutrasweet, what is released cannot cause horrific effects.

    Yet I have students and friends who swear that Nutrasweet gives them migraines. I don’t think they are lying. I don’t see how it can happen, though.

    I’m not getting into the weird stories that medical conspiracy types have about Nutrasweet and serious disease. That’s a whole other topic.

    So I would agree that this is worth checking out with a specialist. The folks who suggested a link to GERD may be onto something. The effect you describe is so rapid it sounds like an aberrant reflex to me.

    Again, please check it out. And you know what? Some physicians are into research. Who knows? They might write it up, get it published, and you would be immortalized to medical students as the origin of the phrase “Frey’s Syndrome.”

    Oh, and don’t get me started on high fructose corn syrup. The ONLY good thing about ethanol laced gasoline is less corn to make that stuff.

    Eric Blair (ad3775)

  22. It’s not uncommon to develop what seems like an instantaneous allergy to a substance, although the reality is you’ve probably experienced increasing symptoms (headaches, minor body aches, etc.) that you didn’t associate with what you ingested.

    The culprit could be aspartame — it’s used in a lot of diet drinks — and so the first thing I would do is see how you react to other soft drinks that don’t contain aspartame. If that is the problem, the easiest solution is avoidance.

    However, increasing allergies can also indicate a declining immune system, something that is common as we age, so improving your immune system is also an option. You can do that by reducing stress, getting more sleep, eating healthier foods, and taking a daily walk around the block. There are also supplements that can help but I don’t discuss those online. You can email me for that.

    Anon (b0f193)

  23. after fifty year of enjoying red wines, I now start sneezing after one sip of a red.

    I was just saying to my family how much it would suck if that happened.

    However, increasing allergies can also indicate a declining immune system, something that is common as we age, so improving your immune system is also an option. You can do that by reducing stress, getting more sleep, eating healthier foods, and taking a daily walk around the block.

    You’re saying I need to sleep more than 4 hours a night?

    Patterico (cc3b34)

  24. Yes, Patrick. You do.

    Anon (b0f193)

  25. I am now drinking the original Coke, with sucrose and not that horrible high fructose corn syrup. It’s kosher and was made for Passover. A friend gave me the 2-liter container today after I fixed his mom’s computer.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (0ea407)

  26. Such a fast response … there are nerve pathways from your jaw up into your nasal cavities; maybe you have a cavity in a tooth that’s erroneously triggering a sneeze because of the acid in the drink?

    htom (412a17)

  27. Apogee, don’t take my comment the wrong way. I don’t know you and wasn’t attacking you. Just the godawful ridiculous ‘study’ you posted. Patterico isn’t the only person who might read it.

    Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if the weird crap they put in our drinks causes cancer. It’s just that so many people buy into crap studies that don’t make any sense. It’s the reasoning on that webpage I was critical of. no worries, though.

    Brother Bradley, that passover coke, how do you tell the difference between that and the real stuff?

    Juan (4cdfb7)

  28. Brother Bradley, that passover coke, how do you tell the difference between that and the real stuff?

    The Hebrew writing on the cap, with the symbol that indicates it’s kosher for Passover. Other than that, it’s just good old-style Coke, with sucrose and sans the nasty HFCS.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (0ea407)

  29. Not to make light of the situation, Patterico, but it reminds me of the first time I drank Vernor’s ginger ale. I breathed in as I sipped. And I sneezed instantly and disastrously (I was 17, on a date, and trying to impress a young lady with my savor faire—epic fail!).

    Eric Blair (ad3775)

  30. Bradley, I used to work with HFCS when I was in biotech. After you actually see the stuff (and how each batch differs from the one before it), you are disinterested in consuming it.

    Which is tough. It’s in a lot of stuff these days.

    Eric Blair (ad3775)

  31. Eric, your comment about headaches after Nutrasweet remind me that the origin of norepinephrine is phenylalanine. Maybe Nutrasweet results in a rush of norepi by the usual pathway from phenylalanine to DOPA to norepi.

    That doesn’t help Patrick’s sneezing. Try spraying your nose with saline a few times a day and see if that helps.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  32. Or he could try that “neti pot” business where you pour saline out your nose! Check out YouTube for some scary video…but it still might work!

    Dr. K….that is a possibility! Interesting thought. Your next article for the journal “Medical Hypotheses”?

    Eric Blair (ad3775)

  33. Eric,
    After you actually see the stuff (and how each batch differs from the one before it), you are disinterested in consuming it.

    I’ll just have to stick to water, wine (or water turned into wine by the Obamessiah), beer and Patron.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (0ea407)

  34. Patterico, if it’s sneezing only, keep testing it out for a week. If it does not go away by then, go to an ENT (otorhinolaryngologist), not an allergist, as your first stop.

    nk (fef47a)

  35. I’m not a doctor but I play one on TV…have you changed your diet or medication in any other way lately? Soda could be the straw that broke the allergy load’s back. As an allergy sufferer, I always take into account the total “load” of pollen, dairy products, etc.

    I’ve read carbonation rushes ingredients into your bloodstream quicker, so that could be why sodas bother you. The caffeine and carbonation amps up the nascent allergic reaction and the sneezing begins.

    I’ve given up sodas too, bothers my tummy, in the hopes of retaining other bad/good things like espressos and a little wine now and then.

    Patricia (2183bb)

  36. otorhinolaryngologist…

    I love it

    Juan (4cdfb7)

  37. Ear, nose and throat.

    nk (fef47a)

  38. I have developed allergies to all cleaning products, as well as the unique plastics used to make vaccuum cleaners.
    Comment by JD — 4/18/2009 @ 2:33 pm

    And, you’ve been banned from the kitchen for a “cooking experiment”.
    Just how many rooms in the house are you now allowed into?

    AD (65649f)

  39. Good advice, nk!

    Eric Blair (3ee996)

  40. (or water turned into wine by the Obamessiah)

    From the looks of things, he’d be turning wine into water.

    John Hitchcock (fb941d)

  41. If it persists it is relatively to get a consult or a lab visit scheduled for an allergy screen.

    Whatever you turn up a positive on because of perhaps body changes due to aging altering sensitivity ,then you can reverse cross that to products known to contain the reactive agent.

    DayTrader (ea6549)

  42. Should have been relatively easy ..sorry

    DayTrader (ea6549)

  43. I’m thinking it’s a Southern California thing.

    I ate Chinese food for many, many years before developing an odd, and almost instantaneous reaction to Hong Sui Guy down around Garden Grove. Made my nose itch. Something terrible~like I would often be bleeding a little just right below where eyeglasses would sit on the bridge of my nose before we got out of the restaurant, from scratching it so fiercely.

    Never had that reaction to Chinese food anyplace else but Southern California!

    You’ll probably have to move. 😀

    (Worked for me…but I never did find any other place that serves Hong Sui Guy, either. Hmmm, I wonder if…nah, that would be silly.)

    EW1(SG) (e27928)

  44. I’ve developed a sudden and violent allergy to Little Green Footballs.

    Official Internet Data Office (2ec06c)

  45. Brother Bradley, Juan–

    While it’s not marked Kosher, Coca-Cola from outside the USA and Canada contains sugar and not high fructose corn syrup. Some Smart&Final stores in Los Angeles import it in cases of 12 oz old-style bottles @ $20/case.

    The other good thing is that with bottles you don’t get container residue like you get in cans and plastic bottles.

    Note also that while Prez Obama supports the massive price subsidies on corn that make HFCS so cheap for bottlers, Michele Obama won’t allow HFCS products in her house. OK for us, though.

    Kevin Murphy (0b2493)

  46. EW1(SG): when I lived in Palo Alto, there was an el-cheapo Chinese restaurant that we then-students used to frequent.

    Once I ordered the mu-shu pork. BIG mistake.

    My upper eyelids swelled up overnight. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong the next morning. It took a moment, looking into the mirror, to figure out what was “wrong” (other than the obvious, yes).

    Happened to three other people I knew, all of whom ate mu-shu pork from that restaurant. Just the upper eyelids.

    We stopped going there. It was creepy.

    HFCS is a supercheap “sugar” source. Hence the bladder bursting super Big Gulp sized drinks in stores. I won’t go into the possible health problems, but HFCS is in A LOT of food products, not just in some soft drinks.

    I used to use it as a super cheap carbon source for a biotech process. We would get railroad cars full of the stuff for the big processors/fermenters. Some weeks, it would be a nice clear golden color. Other times, dark brown with black chunks.

    Sheesh.

    Eric Blair (ad3775)

  47. Trying mixing that Diet Coke with some Southern Comfort or Old Grand Dad

    Chris G (d8feb0)

  48. Many people in this thread are talking about all the sugar in sodas – overlooking that Patterico was drinking DIET drinks.

    Anyway, I suggest sipping some carbonated water. Maybe the fizz is getting to you. You might have a hole in your palate or something like that which is letting fizzy stuff jump into your nasal cavity which would make you sneeze!

    Arthur (f69590)

  49. nk,

    It wasn’t just sneezing, actually. I didn’t want to sound in the post like I was imagining things, but I also had a slight thickness of the tongue, a brief and mild difficulty with swallowing, a tickling sensation at the back of my neck, and an odd sensation in the esophagus and stomach as the liquid traveled down.

    I should emphasize that these were very mild symptoms. I was Google chatting with someone at the time and noted them contemporaneously.

    Tonight someone told me that these are symptoms of anaphylactic shock. I knew that about the problems with swallowing but not about the other symptoms.

    I figured if I put all that in the post people would think I was imagining all of it.

    Patterico (22d2d4)

  50. “I’m not a doctor but I play one on TV…have you changed your diet or medication in any other way lately?”

    I have been eating more healthy foods since the beginning of the year. Some of these have been fairly repetitive: oatmeal and peanut butter sandwiches every morning, salads with Feta cheese and cashews or almonds at night, lean turkey sandwiches on rye at lunch, that sort of thing.

    Patterico (97c64d)

  51. Anaphylaxis is nothing to sneeze at. Sorry for the bad pun.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (0ea407)

  52. Then stop (drinking those things) immediately because it will only get worse. Still, see the guy who prescribed your CPAP first. Let him tell you where you should go next.

    nk (0214d0)

  53. It sounds like all of these drinks were diet, so as others have suggested, find some full-sugar Coke “for passover” which should still be available this week. Or, as noted, Mexican cokes, which are not hard to find in LA. Made from beet / cane sugar, not HFCS.

    If you can develop a taste for seltzer water and / or non-sweetened iced tea, you will be better off. It isn’t easy, but it’s doable.

    carlitos (4ec95a)

  54. Well, you could always experiment by taking a Benadryl, waiting thirty minutes, and trying the experiment again.

    My brother turns out to have had serious GERD, that led to some scar tissue in his throat. This led to some difficulties in swallowing and occasional choking sensations. But the symptoms were quite mild.

    Maybe a visit to an ENT is a very good idea.

    Eric Blair (ad3775)

  55. No, don’t play around, if it’s more than sneezing. Stay away from the stuff and see a doctor. The one who knows you, ENT or not, first.

    nk (0214d0)

  56. Patterico, if you were on a CPAP machine, that makes your case very close to my brother’s.

    I think nk is right.

    Eric Blair (ad3775)

  57. All vegetables, organic foods, and basically any green food, I am allergic to. I had a filet stuffed with bacon and lobster tonite 😉

    JD (6ed8b2)

  58. JD – Carmelized Peeps for dessert?

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  59. Mrs. carlito isn’t supposed to eat salad. It’s a real bitch.

    carlitos (4ec95a)

  60. Allergies get worse with each additional exposure. Stop. See a doctor.

    nk (0214d0)

  61. As Bradley notes, your expanded description suggests anaphylaxis. I suggest you avoid the diet drinks and peanut butter as well.

    Anon (b0f193)

  62. And if it happens again, go the ER.

    I’m not kidding.

    Anon (b0f193)

  63. I have the same reaction when I eat eggs or anything with egg in it. Just started a few years ago, but eggs mayo etc cause a sneezing fit.. 20 – 30 for about 2 minutes then I am ok. And not all the time. EVERY time at Waffle House, IHOP and McDonald’s for breakfast. Sometimes eating a burger or sandwich with mayo. The only common ingredient seems to be the egg. Home cooked eggs occasionally cause it. I start sneezing and will be extremely stuffy for about 5 minutes after the sneezing, then it all goes back to normal – no more stuffy nose. While I am sneezing, my abdomen feels all tense and the sneezes hurt! I can actually feel the sneezes coming on before they start.

    Stephanie (7664db)

  64. You’re not the first and may not be the only one. Take down the lot number off the bottles and contact Coca-Cola HQ in Atlanta. They’ll want to know about it. Sometimes it can be tracked back to traces of a chemical used in cleaning the bottling systems if the sodas are bottled at the same plant. A co worker years ago drank some differnt sodas from a dispenser that wasnt completely purged of a high concentrate and suffered damage to her throat.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  65. Many people in this thread are talking about all the sugar in sodas – overlooking that Patterico was drinking DIET drinks.

    No, I was just going off-topic. My first post suggested it was the artificial sweetener.

    BTW, isn’t this how House episodes start?

    Kevin Murphy (0b2493)

  66. Many people in this thread are talking about all the sugar in sodas – overlooking that Patterico was drinking DIET drinks.

    Jeez, that makes it even worse. Only thing more cruddy than sugar — or certainly the typical person’s overconsumption of and overreliance on sugar — is artificial sweeteners. I know when I’ve had some of the Nutrasweet junk, it often soon triggers a headache.

    And not much better than all those folks who love binging on sodas, is the peculiar idea that some of them have that a good way to start a day is a breakfast of donuts or other sugar-loaded pastries, not to mention syrup-laden pancakes. As far as I’m concerned, that’s more like a dessert, and not a serious meal.

    And people wonder why the average human in modern society has become so obese, and that cases of diabetes are on the rise?

    Mark (411533)

  67. #49 Patterico:

    It wasn’t just sneezing, actually. I didn’t want to sound in the post like I was imagining things, but I also had a slight thickness of the tongue, a brief and mild difficulty with swallowing, a tickling sensation at the back of my neck, and an odd sensation in the esophagus and stomach as the liquid traveled down.

    Any spots inside your mouth, especially on your tongue, that feel a little sore…as if you might have scraped them with a sharp spot on your teeth?

    EW1(SG) (e27928)

  68. Oh, and I should point out that your description sounds more like angioedema than anaphylaxis to me: very distressing for the patient, but not life threatening.

    Angioedema, like anaphylaxis, can also be caused by an allergic reaction. In my own experience with it, there are certain combinations of medications that make me susceptible to it. When I would suffer a small abrasion in the mouth, a soda would trigger it.

    Yours sounds pretty mild, my face would swell up to the point where my lips would be turned inside out. Like I said, distressing, and uncomfortable, but not life threatening.

    EW1(SG) (e27928)

  69. #46 Eric Blair:

    We stopped going there. It was creepy.

    Never did figure out what was in that particular dish that caused the itching.

    OTOH, I didn’t stop going there. The Hong Sui Guy was terrific, and I’ve never found anything like it anyplace else.

    The only thing that worried me was that I never saw any cats in the neighborhood. I just assumed that was because of the presence of the French restaurant close by though.

    EW1(SG) (e27928)

  70. Maybe you should try an experiment. Get four cups of water. Taste one neat. Add 1 tsp of sugar to the second and taste. Add 1 packet of Equal (aspertame, the blue stuff) to the third and taste. Add 1 packet of Splenda (sucralose, the yellow stuff) to the 4th and taste. If you have no reaction to any of these, then it ain’t the sweetener.

    Other than that soft drinks have preservatives in them as well.

    Of course, all of this assumes you just ain’t plain weird.

    Dr. K (c5812f)

  71. IANAD but worked 15 years for a few and that does sound serious. And allergies do get worse w/ exposure, if that’s what it is. See a doc, and I hope it works out for you eventually ’cause diet sodas are one of the great small pleasures of life.

    no one you know (1ebbb1)

  72. Late coming to this thread, but you have my sympathy! Were I to develop an allergy to Mountain Dew®, I might have to enlist the services of Dr Jack Kevorkian. I don’t know how I’d live without my 6 to 8 cans of Dew a day.

    The sympathetic Dana (500475)

  73. Eric Blair @ 3:53 pm – aspartame can cause remarkably severe migraines for an unlucky few – Google “phenylketonuria” for details …

    A good explanation of food allergies is here , including the reference to phenylketonuria …

    Dr K @ 5:09 gives excellent advice – with the proviso that you have Mrs P primed to get you to an emergency room VERY quickly in case one of ’em proves to be the culprit – in a spectacular way …

    Alasdair (b8ae9d)

  74. Also, Perrier grapefruit (pamplemousse). Mmm.

    carlitos (4ec95a)

  75. The areas pointed out are all possible culprits:

    1) Allergy, particularly surface allergy to a substance. Try some of the soda on your forearm or other patch of skin, leave it on for a minute or two and see if there is any reaction. Reddening, swelling, and such would be indicated. Systemic allergy is also possible, and would be related to any fast uptake chemicals in the soda. Look for similar ingredients and see if other foods that contain them have a similar reaction. Also looking up the pharmokinetics of the uptake would help to rule out some possibilities.

    2) Purely physical irritation. My snoring is not related to what a CPAP can fix, which I can attest to after a month or more on one. A neurologist/sleep specialist/CPAP specialist can get a prescription for a humidifier attachment or add-on. That didn’t help me and actually made things worse…

    3) Physical problems in the sinuses. An ENT specialist can take a look with a lovely scope and see what condition your sinuses are in. I had sinus surgery abour 15 years ago, now, and it helped my snoring for about two months… until I was finally healed and it returned. Also had my uvula resected, which means I can now snort soup far more easily than normal. If your have never had sinus surgery, or its more than a decade in the past and it helped, then time to revisit that.

    4)Other biological. My upper resperitory immune system is pure junk. Throughout my teens and adult life I have clocked in an average of 3 or so upper respiritory tract infections per year. You can have an ear infection and feel *nothing*. Believe me, that was a shocking thing to find out. You can also have one close to the nerves of your tongue which will then stimulate the sinuses and other parts of the upper respiratory system. An Ear/Nose/Throat doctor is the ticket for that, too. If you have had any dizziness, nausea or other unrelated and often passing symptoms for a week or more, it can be an infection of the ear or sinuses. You may feel no symptoms in the ear or sinuses, but that does not mean you don’t have one.

    5) Other physical problems, like in the upper palate, uvula, tonsils, etc. Tonsils do grow as you get older, and laser ablation can cut them back with local anasthesia if you can tolerate that. Ditto the rest of the mouth, since as you age the proportions of the mouth interior change and you can move from problem free to many problems with just a tiny variation of the mouth structure.

    Basically, if any fizzy drink will do this, you will need to look at the physical side of things, which includes all the CPAP, mouth structure and infections that can happen in the ear,nose,throat and associated regions. If it is chemical, skin test of small drop test of suspect chemicals can be highly indicative of a surface or fast uptake allergy of that chemical (not all bodies do this equally).

    This is not something to pass off lightly as an unstopped infection in this region is very, very close to your brain. You do not want any infection to spread there, ever. That can be lethal in a very short period of time… I am very lucky to have taken in unrelated symptoms and gotten them checked out as such infections and if you are not prone to them the tendancy to just ‘let it slide’ is very high. I urge you to see a physician and make sure that it is not something that can go seriously wrong when it can be easily stopped.

    ajacksonian (87eccd)

  76. EW1(SG),

    I defer to your medical background but I think anaphylaxis is a risk factor, especially when there is swelling in the throat or difficulty swallowing as Patterico reported.

    Anon (b0f193)

  77. #49- I didn’t want to sound in the post like I was imagining things, but I also had a slight thickness of the tongue, a brief and mild difficulty with swallowing, a tickling sensation at the back of my neck, and an odd sensation in the esophagus and stomach as the liquid traveled down.

    I should emphasize that these were very mild symptoms.

    Patterico, these symptoms sound similar, though to a lesser degree, to those experienced by a co worker who had the misfortune several years ago to drink soda that had some cleaning solution residue, albeit in a high concentration, that contaminated the beverage as the dispensing system wasn’t fully purged of the cleaning fluid. This may be traceable to the bottling plant where the soda was bottled. I’ve come across bits od sponge from bottling systems and even a coin. Contact the soda company. They’ll want to know about your reactions. At the very least, you might get some free cases of Coke out of it.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  78. For a change from gloomy gus:

    A. I hit my head yesterday and have been seeing spots in front of my eyes, since.
    Q. Have you seen a doctor?
    A. No, just spots.

    nk (0214d0)

  79. There are two kinds of food allergies. The first is alimentary. This is classic food allergy, when the food contacts your mouth and/or is swallowed. That is not the kind Patterico could have, as it does not cause sneezing and is not that quick.

    The second kind is olfactory (or aroma). This is where your nasal mucous membranes react to the molecules in the air which constitutes the food’s scent. It’s very unusual, but not unheard of. This typically causes allergic rhinitis but can have other symptoms.

    What’s odd about Patterico’s description is that it is arising from soft drinks. Food allergies are typically to proteins or other complex molecules. Soft drinks don’t have much of those, except in the flavorings (as someone above pointed out, some people have horrible reactions to aspartame).

    The way to test this is to get a bunch of different flavored soft drinks (orange, lemon lime, cola, mysteries like Dr. Pepper or Mountain Dew) in various forms and drink them spaced out. You also need a control of ice water, in case the sneezing is in fact some odd reaction to cold water.

    Cyrus Sanai (ada6da)

  80. #76 Anon:

    but I think anaphylaxis is a risk factor,

    Absolutely. And especially if this kind of reaction persists or is triggered by other events, it should most certainly be looked at by a physician.

    That said, Patterico’s description of his symptoms is noticeably lacking in whole body involvement, one of the hallmarks of anaphylaxis. In particular, he describes sneezing and some difficulty swallowing, thickness of the tongue, but no shortness of breath; which is more characteristic of an angioedematous reaction. not anything to be sneezed at certainly (sorry, couldn’t help it) but again, far more distressing than dangerous.

    My own angioedema experiences were severe enough that I worried that my face would burst, the swelling was that severe. Coupled with the swelling at the back of the throat leading to difficulty swallowing, sometimes for days at a time, it was very uncomfortable and stressful but discernible by not causing any difficulty breathing.

    EW1(SG) (e27928)

  81. I have a very similar reaction, not only to Coke, but to ALL soft drinks. In my case, it is due to a highly allergic reaction to cinnamon. [Yes, I know the formula for Coke is supposed to be secret, but I can guarantee that it contains cinnamon.]

    I think your best bet is to see an allergist, if you continue to have problems. There’s a lot of ingredients in soft drinks, and you won’t really know what to avoid until it’s fully diagnosed.

    jc-at-play (ddfb12)

  82. Are we going to get an update? Have you seen a doctor?

    nk (343b4e)


Powered by WordPress.

Page loaded in: 0.3837 secs.