Allergy - anaphylactic shock in client

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Allergy - anaphylactic shock in client

Postby squash_blsm on Tue Jun 07, 2011 3:10 am

I thought that this experience was too important NOT to share...

On Friday I had a client have an asthma attack on my table, I got him his inhaler, after a minute with no alleviation I called for an ambulance. His breathing continued to be labored and then he passed out... not breathing. My partner was on the phone with emargency services, and I performed CPR until ambulance arrived. Yesterday his daughter came by and said that doctors determined that he had gone into anaphylactic shock. So I went over what I had used. The only thing that raised a red flag were the essential oils - which I had used on him before, and always ask everyone BEFORE I use... and never use in the massage medium. This was a blend that I use for sinus clearing...usually just for inhalation... but will on occassion put on the sheet or chest if requested, which I did on this client. The primary oil is Eucalyptus and I suspect was the one that triggered the response.

I have been using essential oils for many years and had always felt that they were fairly safe - with the only possible bad reaction allergy resulting in skin rash - that's why I very seldom use directly on clients.
I have looked for information and there are several sources that affirm that eucalyptus can trigger asthma attack. Normally with my asthma clients I don't use anything scented, or any essential oils. And I have now learned a horrible lesson to NEVER make exceptions.
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Re: Allergy - anaphylactic shock in client

Postby MarionFM on Tue Jun 07, 2011 4:20 am

Scary. Glad it all ended well.
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Re: Allergy - anaphylactic shock in client

Postby akashafive on Tue Jun 07, 2011 6:52 am

Thank you so much for sharing this!
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Re: Allergy - anaphylactic shock in client

Postby JLWmassage on Tue Jun 07, 2011 9:04 am

I think that this is a very important lesson for all of us. Juhst because something is natural and chemical free still doesn't mean it's safe for all clients
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Re: Allergy - anaphylactic shock in client

Postby Taoist on Tue Jun 07, 2011 9:28 am

Thank you for sharing, and I applaud your reaction and quick thinking to help save your client. Even more reason for me to hate eucalyptus, lol.
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Re: Allergy - anaphylactic shock in client

Postby GreenDragonfly on Tue Jun 07, 2011 1:00 pm

That is an eye opener and a scary one at that. Thank you for sharing your story. Yet another good reason not to scent the air, sheets or a person without their consent - and even then, err on the side of caution when working with asthmatics.

Is he OK now? Has that ever happened to him before?
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Re: Allergy - anaphylactic shock in client

Postby JaeMarie on Tue Jun 07, 2011 1:42 pm

Thank you for posting this. I'm going to have to print a copy for a coworker (minus my post lol).

I work with someone who thinks that using essential oils is a great treat for regular clients, and a great perk for new clients to make them like her more, and pretty much has an excuse to use them on everyone *even though* the use of EOs is supposed to be an add on to the service (a $5 charge) that the client needs to request prior to their appointment. Not only does she use multiple scented oils and creams on different parts of the clients bodies, but she'll often scent the room with a blend, then use something else on the client themselves. When she opens the door after her appointments, the room REEKS!

She keeps encouraging me to incorporate more EOs in my work, but I refuse to unless the clients requests the addition. I've told her that my training lead me to remain as scent free myself as possible, and not to introduce anything to the room unless requested by the client. I currently have an asthmatic client that has stated that scented products will send her into shock, and I even had a client a couple years back that reacted the same way to citrus oils (and she didn't remember to tell me this until halfway through our first appointment.)

It's just too dangerous to play around with, and potentially still dangerous even if you know what you're doing. If you don't know what you're doing, best case scenario it can still be obnoxious. :undecided:
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Re: Allergy - anaphylactic shock in client

Postby Talenyn on Wed Jun 08, 2011 7:19 am

Thank you for sharing!

Very scary, but glad it all turned out well.
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Re: Allergy - anaphylactic shock in client

Postby squash_blsm on Wed Jun 08, 2011 12:31 pm

@JaeMarie - You can try, but these types usually don't listen! :lol:

My one complaint I have always had of a popular mlm eo company is that the people that use them do so far too liberally and undiluted, without knowledge, and without knowledge of contra-indications, they make diagnoses, and use eo's to "cure" or "treat" everything.

and here I was, thinking that I was soooo much more careful...and STILL had a disaster! (lol at myself)

If anything - she should be aware of the liability that she is opening herself up to.

In my case - the client and the family know me and my work fairly well. Client even told daughter to tell me that HE was sorry!
Client is still in hospital and has medicare coverage. But there is still the possibility that they could sue me to recoup any uncovered expenses. They are not likely to - but things can change. If he passes away the family would have a lot of emotions to deal with.

A stranger would have no problems bringing a lawsuit against her or the spa - even if damages were negligible. You know how some people can be.

I wrote out an incident report after it happened, in case I need to refresh my memory later - but that reminds me that I should probably call my insurance carrier.

My new policy in the office is NO eo's at ALL for any asthma clients, even on my hot towels.
I may even "retire" my sinus clearing blend for awhile until I update my intake forms.
In the meantime I think I will do some research on ALL the oils i would normally use and see if there are any really bad reactions possible.

oh - and I LOVE(D) eucalyptus!
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Re: Allergy - anaphylactic shock in client

Postby JaeMarie on Wed Jun 08, 2011 1:02 pm

Thanks for the update and additional comments.

You can try, but these types usually don't listen! :lol:


Tell me about it. :smt009

I can almost guarantee you she has no additional training and I highly doubt that she's taking the approach of "treating" clients specifically (other than offering certain oils for things like... oh... eucalyptus for clearing sinuses. :undecided: ) My impression is that she thinks she's adding to her sessions by adding scents to every aspect of the session, to make everything smell "wonderful." I'm sorry - start throwing more than a couple/few specifically chosen scents together in a balanced manner, and you're going to end up with STINK - or potentially worse.

Hopefully things work out ok for everyone involved. :smt056
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Re: Allergy - anaphylactic shock in client

Postby MarionFM on Wed Jun 08, 2011 2:34 pm

I react poorly to many 'smells' and have been assured that 'these oils are natural' so they are fine. Eucalyptus is one that makes my chest constrict in almost any amount.

I have managed to avoid inhaler use for asthma for about 10 years now by avoiding chemicals or other 'smells' that feel like a trigger.

Keep informing the practitioner that she could be playing with fire!
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Re: Allergy - anaphylactic shock in client

Postby riversinger on Wed Jun 08, 2011 4:22 pm

Your client was very fortunate that you knew CPR & reacted so quickly...Essential Oils can be a wonderful thing, but it doesn't matter how high a quality or how expensive they may be - if someone is allergic/sensitive to them - they will react in any number of ways.

Hopefully you won't face an legal issues over this, as you certainly didn't intend him to have such a traumatic & potentially fatal episode.
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Re: Allergy - anaphylactic shock in client

Postby squash_blsm on Wed Jun 08, 2011 7:01 pm

riversinger wrote:Essential Oils can be a wonderful thing, but it doesn't matter how high a quality or how expensive they may be - if someone is allergic/sensitive to them - they will react in any number of ways.



That really says it all.

I love essential oils...but there is a time and place for using them.

I actually have ceu's in aromatherapy and have been through tons of books.
I cannot remember seeing or hearing one mention of the possibility of a reaction like this.
Or maybe I just skipped right over that. :grin:

When I google eucalyptus and anaphylactic shock there were MANY mentions.
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Re: Allergy - anaphylactic shock in client

Postby Blue on Wed Jun 08, 2011 9:24 pm

I'm sorry that happened to you and your client! That would be terrifying!

I hope you will not just automatically refuse to use any EOs ever on asthmatic clients, though. I am asthmatic and love EO's, though I do take them seriously enough that I took a decent certification course, read many books, and never use them without re-checking my references and knowing contraindications and cautions. I would never even consider opening an EO without checking in with my client regarding sensitivities and allergies.

Any of us can develop an allergy to anything at any time. Sometimes there is just no way to foresee a reaction. But if a client wants to use aromatherapy and knows he/she has safely used particular oils before, the fact of asthma should not exclude that person from making the choice. We are still intelligent adults - asthma doesn't steal that. ;) If we are sensitive to scents we are pretty vocal about saying 'no thank you' when offered, and we certainly will not choose to have an aromatherapy massage! There are only a couple I am allergic to (other than Young Living oils, which for some reason I react to them ALL, and I've met a few others who say the same thing), and I will make it very clear that I need to know which oils are being considered and I need to have final consent before use. Even though I'm normally pretty shy.

About the MT who never asks but always dumps the EOs on...... :shock: how RUDE!!!!!! And unprofessional, dangerous, etc. etc. etc.
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Re: Allergy - anaphylactic shock in client

Postby Rozax on Fri Jun 10, 2011 2:47 pm

This is a good lesson for anyone who rolls their eyes at spending an afternoon getting certified in CPR/First Aid (not here; I've heard irl grumbles). It's one afternoon vs saving someone's life! Thank you for sharing your experience.
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Re: Allergy - anaphylactic shock in client

Postby jcslmt on Sat Jun 11, 2011 7:40 am

Rozax wrote:This is a good lesson for anyone who rolls their eyes at spending an afternoon getting certified in CPR/First Aid (not here; I've heard irl grumbles). It's one afternoon vs saving someone's life! Thank you for sharing your experience.


Agreed. I am thankful that it's a requirement to graduate from massage school here, or at least I hope it's still a requirement. One of the few 'myths' I am thankful my school taught was that we had to be Healthcare Provider CPR/AED certified in order to practice in the United States. There are so many people, myself among them, who develop sudden allergic reactions to formerly safe items/scents/foods.

I would definitely bring your insurance rep up to speed on what happened and what the current situation is. They may cry foul and try to deny coverage because they weren't informed 'in a timely manner' which some insurances interpret as 'as soon as the person starts breathing/ambulance leaves your facility' to cover their own backside.
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Re: Allergy - anaphylactic shock in client

Postby holley on Tue Jun 14, 2011 5:31 pm

Thanks for posting this...reminds me of the WIll Rogers quote:

"It's not what we know that causes trouble,
it's what we know that just ain't so"
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Re: Allergy - anaphylactic shock in client

Postby SaraZWalker on Thu Jun 16, 2011 2:09 am

You absolutely need to let your insurance company know - especially while the details are fresh in your mind. Anytime something happens that you think has a chance of leading to a suit (as this does) you should let them know about it.

In fact, I have heard of some companies that wont pay if you dont - it is part of your agreement with them
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Re: Allergy - anaphylactic shock in client

Postby Dragonflies on Tue Aug 16, 2011 6:10 am

For the sake of educating persons in the future please consider filling out the EO Reaction Report Form with the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA).

Bravo to you for quick-thinking and getting this client care right away. How scary, I'm so glad you shared your story here with us!
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Re: Allergy - anaphylactic shock in client

Postby JLWmassage on Tue Aug 16, 2011 6:26 am

Dragonflies wrote:For the sake of educating persons in the future please consider filling out the EO Reaction Report Form with the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA).

Bravo to you for quick-thinking and getting this client care right away. How scary, I'm so glad you shared your story here with us!



I am saving that site. The new therapist in my office is doing raindrop therapy. So this is good to have handy
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Re: Allergy - anaphylactic shock in client

Postby Dragonflies on Tue Aug 16, 2011 6:31 am

JLWmassage wrote:I am saving that site. The new therapist in my office is doing raindrop therapy. So this is good to have handy

Eeeps! Have you read the White Paper on Rain Drop Therapy?
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Re: Allergy - anaphylactic shock in client

Postby JLWmassage on Tue Aug 16, 2011 6:42 am

Dragonflies wrote:
JLWmassage wrote:I am saving that site. The new therapist in my office is doing raindrop therapy. So this is good to have handy

Eeeps! Have you read the White Paper on Rain Drop Therapy?



Very eye opening :shocked: Thanks for sharing. After seeing videos on Youtube I did think it as odd the EO where used right out of the bottle. I will be rethinking having this treatment in my office now
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Re: Allergy - anaphylactic shock in client

Postby squash_blsm on Wed Aug 17, 2011 4:08 am

OMG - That raindrop therapy is just crazy.
I can't believe how many people and spas are doing and promoting this.
The eo sellers (non-therapists) that do this treatment are sorely undereducated and say the most ignorant things.
They seem to LOVE it when someone has a reaction - "oh - that means it's working" :irked:

I personally have been sensitized to several eo's and product ingredients - I would never purposefully do this to my body and try to be very careful regarding exposure to high concentrations of volatile eo's - especially in combination like that.

Dragonflies - thank you so much for that link!
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