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      Frequently Asked Questions About Celiac Disease   09/30/2015

      This Celiac.com FAQ on celiac disease will guide you to all of the basic information you will need to know about the disease, its diagnosis, testing methods, a gluten-free diet, etc.   Subscribe to FREE Celiac.com email alerts What are the major symptoms of celiac disease? Celiac Disease Symptoms What testing is available for celiac disease? - list blood tests, endo with biopsy, genetic test and enterolab (not diagnostic) Celiac Disease Screening Interpretation of Celiac Disease Blood Test Results Can I be tested even though I am eating gluten free? How long must gluten be taken for the serological tests to be meaningful? The Gluten-Free Diet 101 - A Beginner's Guide to Going Gluten-Free Is celiac inherited? Should my children be tested? Ten Facts About Celiac Disease Genetic Testing Is there a link between celiac and other autoimmune diseases? Celiac Disease Research: Associated Diseases and Disorders Is there a list of gluten foods to avoid? Unsafe Gluten-Free Food List (Unsafe Ingredients) Is there a list of gluten free foods? Safe Gluten-Free Food List (Safe Ingredients) Gluten-Free Alcoholic Beverages Distilled Spirits (Grain Alcohols) and Vinegar: Are they Gluten-Free? Where does gluten hide? Additional Things to Beware of to Maintain a 100% Gluten-Free Diet Free recipes: Gluten-Free Recipes Where can I buy gluten-free stuff? Support this site by shopping at The Celiac.com Store.

Help! Strong Reaction To Breathing In Flour Dust!
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8 posts in this topic

I am in need of some thoughts and suggestions please for a scary reaction!

Two of my daughters and myself were diagnosed with Celiac (positive blood test and

biopsy - flat villi) two years ago. Three more of my daughters developed GI and stomach

issues and were all diagnosed with Celiac and Casein Intolerance (Enterolab) in the last 4

months. We all have strong reactions when we accidently ingest gluten.

Unfortunately, my oldest daughter, in college training to be a Registered Dietician, has

accidently been exposed to wheat flour dust in her food labs class three times in the last

month. Each time she has had a much stronger reaction. She is wearing a mask and leaving

the room when warned. But for the future, I need to visit with people who

have experienced a strong reaction to inhaled gluten. My daughter is very scared at how

much stronger her reaction has been each time. We need to know if anyone else has

experienced a strong reaction to inhaled gluten and what they are doing to make it

through a glutening. We also need to know just how bad this can become. She is doing all

she can to avoid any further inhalations, but it is bound to happen again somewhere,

sometime and she is scared. It is as if she has been drugged.

Within 5-10 min. of someone forgetting and opening up a container of wheat flour in the

same room she is in she begins to develop a fuzzy mind, becomes quite agitated,

disoriented, starts breathing very shallow, confused, with the confusion and anxiety

lasting between 45 min. to 2 hours and then hits a low that makes her almost fall asleep

standing up.

Then she feels a euphoric high where colors are greatly enhanced, everything is detached

which lasts about half a day.

Then she has a terrible headache, is very shaky, weak muscles, confused, very anxious,

cannot think straight - mixes up dates, cannot multi-task, can't focus to study, etc. (this

girl is extremely organized and never experiences anxiety, so this is very out of character).

This crash lasts about a half day to a day and she cannot sleep during this time due to

terrible confusion and anxiety.

After another day, this all resolves completely and she is back to her very organized,

studious self until she is accidently exposed to wheat flour dust again. This is all so very

strange and scary.

Have any of you experienced any of this or heard of such a reaction? Please share your

thoughts and experience! Thank you so much!

Marie

gosfam@shaw.ca

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I get a very strong reaction to inhaling flour also. From what you've said here your daughter may also have an allergy to wheat as well. Some of those symptoms sound a lot more like an allergy. The worsening of reactions could also be a result of chronic exposure. Many people can tolerate a small amount but if they are exposed to it over a few days or weeks it overloads their system. Your daughter should also discuss this with school administrators to see if there are any alternatives. I hope this helps!

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I also have a very strong reaction to inhalation if wheat flours. Almost passed out while walking though a kitchen in Europe this summer. Since I lecture at the local culinary school, I had to change my schedule to wait 2 days until after the baking class.

A good quality mask that can prevent inhalation of fine particulate like pollen helps a lot.

In the last four years i've had this problem less than 10 times. The first few times it got worse but using the mask when I have to be in other kitchens, staying totally out of bakeries and preventing anyone (my wife!0 form bringing flour into the house has helped a lot.

When I was exposed like your daughter, I had similar problems with confusion and breathing and was very sleepy.

It's not good for the teacher to fall asleep in class! Unfortunately, perhaps, I did not get the euphoric high :D

I wish her luck in avoiding further exposure -- I know its not fun!

Ken

I am in need of some thoughts and suggestions please for a scary reaction!

Two of my daughters and myself were diagnosed with Celiac (positive blood test and

biopsy - flat villi) two years ago. Three more of my daughters developed GI and stomach

issues and were all diagnosed with Celiac and Casein Intolerance (Enterolab) in the last 4

months. We all have strong reactions when we accidently ingest gluten.

Unfortunately, my oldest daughter, in college training to be a Registered Dietician, has

accidently been exposed to wheat flour dust in her food labs class three times in the last

month. Each time she has had a much stronger reaction. She is wearing a mask and leaving

the room when warned. But for the future, I need to visit with people who

have experienced a strong reaction to inhaled gluten. My daughter is very scared at how

much stronger her reaction has been each time. We need to know if anyone else has

experienced a strong reaction to inhaled gluten and what they are doing to make it

through a glutening. We also need to know just how bad this can become. She is doing all

she can to avoid any further inhalations, but it is bound to happen again somewhere,

sometime and she is scared. It is as if she has been drugged.

Within 5-10 min. of someone forgetting and opening up a container of wheat flour in the

same room she is in she begins to develop a fuzzy mind, becomes quite agitated,

disoriented, starts breathing very shallow, confused, with the confusion and anxiety

lasting between 45 min. to 2 hours and then hits a low that makes her almost fall asleep

standing up.

Then she feels a euphoric high where colors are greatly enhanced, everything is detached

which lasts about half a day.

Then she has a terrible headache, is very shaky, weak muscles, confused, very anxious,

cannot think straight - mixes up dates, cannot multi-task, can't focus to study, etc. (this

girl is extremely organized and never experiences anxiety, so this is very out of character).

This crash lasts about a half day to a day and she cannot sleep during this time due to

terrible confusion and anxiety.

After another day, this all resolves completely and she is back to her very organized,

studious self until she is accidently exposed to wheat flour dust again. This is all so very

strange and scary.

Have any of you experienced any of this or heard of such a reaction? Please share your

thoughts and experience! Thank you so much!

Marie

gosfam@shaw.ca

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I react to inhaled flour but very differently. It was maybe 3 months after going gluten free. I was throwing out the flour. I was very careful and not aware of breathing any. I wasn't sick until the next morning which is usual for me. Then I had GI symptoms, severe depression, fatigue, confusion, etc. which lasted 3 weeks. I think the flour was traveling down to my stomach from my nasal passages for a long time. A normal gluten reaction for me lasts more like one week. My celiac son has gotten medical excuses from cooking class. It would be nice to have more celiac dieticians, but how can that be if they need to be exposed to flour to become dieticians? Bio K helps me recover. Maybe immediate nasal lavage would help. There is a video on-line about that.

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Hi Janet,

Thank you so much for your response and idea. I wonder if I can find a doctor that is knowledgeable about this? It is so scary for her. If you come up with any other ideas, please let me know.

With appreciation,

Marie ;-)

I get a very strong reaction to inhaling flour also. From what you've said here your daughter may also have an allergy to wheat as well. Some of those symptoms sound a lot more like an allergy. The worsening of reactions could also be a result of chronic exposure. Many people can tolerate a small amount but if they are exposed to it over a few days or weeks it overloads their system. Your daughter should also discuss this with school administrators to see if there are any alternatives. I hope this helps!
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Ken,

I sure appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts. It will make her feel better knowing she is not the only one with such a severe reaction. This has been very scary for her. Mostly the thought of wondering how much worse it can become ... I wonder if I could find a knowledgeable doctor ... thank you again!

With appreciation,

Marie ;-)

I also have a very strong reaction to inhalation if wheat flours. Almost passed out while walking though a kitchen in Europe this summer. Since I lecture at the local culinary school, I had to change my schedule to wait 2 days until after the baking class.

A good quality mask that can prevent inhalation of fine particulate like pollen helps a lot.

In the last four years i've had this problem less than 10 times. The first few times it got worse but using the mask when I have to be in other kitchens, staying totally out of bakeries and preventing anyone (my wife!0 form bringing flour into the house has helped a lot.

When I was exposed like your daughter, I had similar problems with confusion and breathing and was very sleepy.

It's not good for the teacher to fall asleep in class! Unfortunately, perhaps, I did not get the euphoric high :D

I wish her luck in avoiding further exposure -- I know its not fun!

Ken

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Motherof6,

Wow! What a reaction! Ken and everyone gave good advice. I hope she can persevere, because we need more celiac-knowledgeable/friendly dieticians!

She probably needs to wear a respirator at all times in these types of kitchen/classrooms. They sell face-mask respirators for use in asbestos removal or for use with bad chemical fumes

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This was so kind and helpful of you to respond with your experience. I have passed this on to my daughter. At least she won't think she is going crazy knowing that there are a few others that have experienced these kinds of symptoms to inhaled gluten. Now we need to figure out how to lessen the severity of the symptoms when she is accidently exposed. Although she will wear a mask and leave the room when warned, it really is only a matter of time when she will be exposed to gluten dust in the air somewhere. Thank you for your suggestions! If you think of anything else, please let me know. This is scary for her. Thank you!

With appreciation,

Marie ;-)

I react to inhaled flour but very differently. It was maybe 3 months after going gluten free. I was throwing out the flour. I was very careful and not aware of breathing any. I wasn't sick until the next morning which is usual for me. Then I had GI symptoms, severe depression, fatigue, confusion, etc. which lasted 3 weeks. I think the flour was traveling down to my stomach from my nasal passages for a long time. A normal gluten reaction for me lasts more like one week. My celiac son has gotten medical excuses from cooking class. It would be nice to have more celiac dieticians, but how can that be if they need to be exposed to flour to become dieticians? Bio K helps me recover. Maybe immediate nasal lavage would help. There is a video on-line about that.
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    • Will my doctor test me? So many symptoms...
      Yep, get tested for celiac.  You have plenty of digestive symptoms to indicate it.
    • Weird Reaction
      Hi Richie, It definitely sounds like you got glutened.  Over here in the USA they can't label foods gluten-free if they are made from gluten ingredients, period.  So your barley drink would not be labeled gluten-free here.  A while back I read something about the testing for gluten in foods not being as accurate for detecting barley hordein as it is for wheat gliaden.  So the gluten-free testing (if they do any) that your drink maker does may not be reliable. Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition.  So the immune system starts reacting when it detects gluten and damages the gut lining.  An immune reaction is not like a food poisoning event, where most of the damage is only while the food is actually in your system and then ends.  An immune reaction can continue for weeks to months.  The immune system is really quite serious about protecting our bodies.  And since it is designed to detect and attack micro-organisms it reacts to tiny amounts of gluten. Wheat, barley, and rye are the main gluten grains that affect celiacs.  But some celiacs also react to oat gluten.  
    • Weird Reaction
      Hi Richie,  Glad you are feeling better. I wondered have you been officially diagnosed with coeliac disease? Just wondering as you say you are anaemic, that is one of the symptoms of coeliac disease, along with other general malnutrition. You don't need to eat meat for iron though, you can get it from non-heme foods, like spinach or parsley. Just be careful with the drink with barley, it may be that you only start to have symptoms if you consume a lot of it, but if you have coeliac disease the damage is still been done to your gut regardless of whether you have symptoms or not, which will ultimately lead to malnutrition as well as other things.
    • Weird Reaction
      I think, if all this is caused by glutening, it could be that it takes a while to work its way out of your system. I should explain about what I said about organic broccoli.   I don't have a problem with organic food,  in fact, I buy organic milk and carrots all the time, but I don't want to try organic broccoli in case it is the broccoli that is the problem, not the insecticide.    I meant to ask, are you a coeliac or is it non-coeliac gluten intolerance that you have?   I wonder what sort of support you get in Australia for these conditions once diagnosed?   Here in the UK I think the understanding is that if new gastro symptoms have lasted for more than six weeks it needs to be investigated.   I have found this very helpful advice because I do get odd twinges of pain and sometimes changes in bowel movements (sorry if tmi) but they rarely last more than a couple of weeks.   If they do persist I mention it to my gastroenteroligist and he follows it up.  I recently had a sigmoidoscopy for left sided pain and they found nothing.  Turns out it was to do with lactose intolerance, but I always imagine the worse!    
    • Will my doctor test me? So many symptoms...
      Welcome, @iwillmoveamountain! Of course you are not wrong to pursue getting testing for celiac. My advice is to drop that doctor and find a new one, preferably one who is celiac savvy, and who will listen to you and test you for the disease.  
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