I have just been reading a post on Ruth Holroyd’s excellent What Allergy blog in which she asks whether she could be reacting to milk vapour in coffee shops? Ruth is extremely sensitive to a number of foods, including milk (anaphylactic to any ingested milk) but whereas she had been OK in coffee shops she now finds herself getting asthmatic reactions which cease as soon as she leaves the shop. So she was wondering whether it could be the milk vapour.
I have never heard of anyone getting an reaction to milk vapours but people who are fish allergic certainly do react to fish vapour so I fear that it is only too likely. After all there must be an awful lot of milk vapour floating round your average Starbucks!
Ruth is looking for feedback from anyone who might have any experience. Because she is a freelance writer and works alone, her social visits to coffee shops to meet a friend are really important to her. Any feedback would be very welcome – either direct to Ruth or via us – but meanwhile I suggested that she try a few basic avoidance procedures.
1. Try to sit in the corner of the shop so that milk vapour is only coming at you from one angle.
2. Never go up to the counter to buy – let someone else do that – as the majority of vapour will be in the ‘making’ area.
3. Wear an elegant chiffon scarf casually whipped around your head – it won’t filter out much but every little helps!
4. Try to go at relatively un-busy times – avoid lunchtime – when there will be fewer people flashing their milk around.
5. Aim for larger rather than small shops – more air for the vapour to disperse in.
6. Carry a packet of baby wipes with you and get whoever you are with to mop the table and chairs before you sit down to ensure there is no milk residue on them. Make sure the used wipe is immediately thrown out.
7. And, obviously – carry your Epipen/inhalers etc to reduce your stress levels.
Further suggestions very welcome.