Fragrances and asthma - summary from 2011 CSACI meeting

This summary was compiled from tweets posted by Dr. Stuart Carr @allergydoc4kidz, the president of the Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (CSACI). The tweets were labeled #CSACI and they reached more than 10,000 people. I would strongly encourage you to post updates on Twitter from the CME conferences that you are planning to attend in the future.

Pamela Dalton spoke on fragrances, symptoms and the respiratory tract response.

There is no known mechanism by which a pure odor (as opposed to irritant solvent) can trigger an airway response. Some patients respond to such exposures by mouth breathing which is a poor adaptive response and may contribute to symptoms.

Solvents (ethanol, ammonia, etc.) can trigger a response through the olfactory nerve, which is usually transient and mild in most people.

The irritation response may require 1-2 orders of magnitude higher exposure than odor response.

TRPA1 is a key player in the development of neurogenic inflammation (e.g. capsaicin). Cough reflex to capsaicin is elevated in patients with asthma or COPD.

Disclaimer: The text was edited, modified, and added to by me. I was invited to speak on the topic of social media use by the allergists during the 2011 CSACI meeting.

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