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Nasal sundae: something to sneeze at.

Nasal sundae: Something to sneeze at

If you're allergic to chocolate, it may be important to keepyour nose clean. A 23-year-old Minnesota woman with a chocolate allergy came into the emergency room at the St. Paul-Ramsey Medical Center recently, saying she had been sneezing every five to 10 seconds for two hours. Immediately before her bout of sneezing, it seems, an inebriated dinner companion had shoved some chocolate-topped ice cream into her nose. Though she had washed her nasal passages out, it hadn't helped.

Emergency room physician James T. Sturm, who says he'snever heard of such a case before, administered cocaine to anesthetize the nasal passages and reduce the swelling. (Cocaine is a commonly used anesthetic in medicine.) The woman stopped sneezing within five minutes, he reports in the Dec. 4 NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL OF MEDICINE. His hypothesis: Something in the chocolate was absorbed by cells in the nasal passage, triggering an irritant reflex. The cocaine, he says, might have slowed the absorption of the irritant by constricting blood vessels.
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Title Annotation:chocolate allergy triggers sneezing attack
Publication:Science News
Date:Dec 20, 1986
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