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October 1934


Arch Intern Med (Chic). 1934;54(4):597-605. doi:10.1001/archinte.1934.00160160116007

Reference has been made recently in the literature to instances of sudden death which were thought to be due to physical allergy, particularly to sensitization to cold (Tannhauser,1 Grassl2). Few, if any, reports of allergic deaths induced by the antigenic substances which are commonly encountered in allergic diseases can be found, except deaths which followed parenteral injections of pollen and serum.3

Yet the possibility of such deaths is strongly suggested because of the relative frequency and severity of nonfatal generalized reactions following contact with, or the inhalation or ingestion of, antigens, particularly in allergic children. Duke,4 for instance, described the case of a man who was so sensitive to fish glue that licking a postage stamp produced a severe generalized reaction. He recorded other incidents of similar reactions following skin testing by the scratch method. I have recorded5 similar observations from both my own experience