Infamous for their pungent aroma, durians aren't everyone's cup of tea.
For one bus conductor in Thailand with a durian allergy, however, it turned out to be a real job hazard.
The woman, Kussama Srisong, shared in a Facebook post on Sep. 8 that she experienced breathing difficulties and fainted after a bus passenger brought the thorny fruit aboard.
This apparently caused the entire bus to be delayed while she was attended to. Thankfully, she was brought to the hospital and was able to recover from the incident.
Severe allergic reaction to durian
In her post, Srisong explained that she is allergic to durian.
She seemed to have caught a passenger bringing the fruit onto the bus, and asked them to alight with it.
This is because durian is banned on public transport in Thailand.
However, Srisong still suffered a severe allergic reaction from being exposed to the fruit, feeling "tightness in her chest and struggling to breathe" before fainting.
Subsequently, a picture showed her lying on a row of seats on the first level of the bus.
A woman in a jacket was seemingly tending to her.
Meanwhile, another man was standing beside and waving a piece of material in the air, seemingly to provide ventilation.
Srisong noted in her post that the whole turn of events caused a major bus delay.
As a PSA, she wrote, "When you bring durian onto the bus, it's not just you who doesn't get to continue (the journey), but many others might have to return home late because of you."
Srisong concluded her post by thanking the rescuers who brought her to the hospital.
She also appreciated the passengers who took care of her, and her supervisor who called to check on her condition.
In a post the next day (Sep. 9), she wrote that she was getting better, and had even gone back to work that day.
Srisong later explained to Bangkok-based newspaper Thairath why she had suffered such an adverse reaction.
"In the event that a passenger brings durian onto the bus, they can be invited to disembark immediately. But the smell still remains," she said.
She also reminded members of the public not to bring items with strong odours, like durian and fermented fish, on public transport as this is prohibited.
"If you want to eat it, buy it near your house, so there won't be any problems," she added.
Can you be allergic to durian?
According to a 2020 CNA article, durian allergies are rare.
Benjamin Loh, a resident doctor from DTAP Clinic in Bencoolen stated that "there are a few suspected cases of durian allergy during the durian season" but underscored that these cases are rare.
Loh added, however, that such allergies could be developed later in life, and that the body could become more "sensitised" with repeated exposure to durian.
This is just like any other food allergy, and could lead to a range of symptoms from mild to life-threatening ones.
According to the Singapore Food Agency website, such symptoms could include:
- Tingling or itching in the mouth
- Hives, itching or eczema
- Swelling of face, mouth and other body parts
- Wheezing or shortness of breath
- Abdominal pain, diarrhoea
- Nausea, vomiting
In the most severe cases, a patient could collapse, lose consciousness, or stop breathing (anaphylaxis), which aligns with Srisong's account.
SFA noted that such symptoms can appear at once or take several hours or days to manifest.
SFA also advises those with known allergies to check food labels and ask if dishes contain that allergen when eating out.
Those who encounter severe allergic reactions are advised to seek immediate medical attention.
Top image from Mufid Majnun on Unsplash (for illustration) / กัสมา ศรีสงข์ on Facebook.