Axe takes down eight students at a prep school

Gagging and headaches I can see but hospitalization!? Now we’re into the mass psychogenic illness territory.

Axe Body Spray Causes School to Shut Down, Kids Taken to Hospital | TIME.com.

Eight students were hospitalized, and two others were taken to their own doctors, after someone released the especially pungent body spray in a sixth grade classroom at 1 p.m. Emergency crews rushed to Medgar Evers College Preparatory School in Brooklyn to investigate the “hazardous” smell.

The article notes that this has happened in other places. Some schools have banned the products. Certain people are very sensitive to odors and perfumes. Just the perception of a noxious chemical in the air will make some suffer from a psychogenic response and feel ill. Doctors do not agree about what causes a fragrance reaction, it may be a response to an irritant or it could be an actual allergic reaction. It has been linked with multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS), which is not considered a real condition. WebMD has a decent post about the questions of fragrance sensitivity. Use of such strong scents is often compared to breathing second-hand smoke. Well, we have not established that body sprays are carcinogenic but it is a matter of personal freedom and affecting public space. Tricky stuff. We’ve all been in the room full of Axe-heads and at the social full of ladies with strong perfume. But these days, it seems worse.

Photo credit: Axe

Photo credit: Axe

  10 comments for “Axe takes down eight students at a prep school

  1. Chris Howard
    November 3, 2013 at 5:01 PM

    Yeah, the square on San Marcos starts to reek of Axe, and desperation, at about two AM Thursday through Saturday all year.

    This is usually accompanied by the Greek mating call of “Dude! Brah! Dude! Brah!” and “Oh muh gawd! I luv ranch dressing, too!”

  2. jim1950a
    November 3, 2013 at 5:07 PM

    Is there an inverse relationship between Axe and baths?

  3. November 4, 2013 at 4:10 AM

    “Axe” also known as “Lynx” for the international readers out there.

    • November 4, 2013 at 4:12 AM

      Also mass psychogenic illness sounds about right, the chances of more than a single person having a genuine allergy in a class of students must be quite remote.

  4. eddi
    November 4, 2013 at 8:05 AM

    @ jim1950a There is anecdotal evidence to back up the idea of more Axe = less soap and water.

    Is it psychogenic if the smell of something happens to be enough on top of other elements (stuffy room, noise, bad lunch eaten too fast) to make someone toss said lunch back. Which could start a wave right their. The sight and smell, even sitting here trying not to imagining it, can make me nauseous.

  5. November 4, 2013 at 2:40 PM

    I was going to ask if it was similar to Lynx (“Smell like a Teenager’s Bedroom”) because – noxious stench, gagging, hospitalisation – it sounds like the same stuff.

  6. November 4, 2013 at 3:30 PM

    When I was in high school (many, many years ago!) a joker put Limburger or some other strong smelling cheese in the heating vent. We didn’t even get to go outside!

    I’m one of those people who is sensitive to certain odors, but only the ones that used to trigger migraines (which I no longer get). I haven’t figured out if it’s a real sensitivity or just a decades-long bad association with those particular smells. Unfortunately, perfume is one of them. And perfume is everywhere. :(

  7. Blargh
    November 4, 2013 at 11:55 PM

    “Axe takes down eight students” sounds more plausible though. I think even a rabid lynx would tire after one or two students. ;)

  8. Blargh
    November 5, 2013 at 12:51 AM

    I wish someone would have sprayed tons of Axe in my sixth grade classroom. It might have made the school’s mold problem bearable.

    • eddi
      November 5, 2013 at 7:21 AM

      I remember, way too well, Right Guard was the fogger of choice in my high school days. Maybe the ghostly (ghastly) whiffs of memory I sometimes get are a passing kid.

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