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Self-Induced Allergic Reaction

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"If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if that thing is cats."
Lemony Snicket, The Wide Window

When a character induces an allergic reaction in himself. Perhaps to get out of a bad situation, to stall for time or sometimes even by accident. This is usually Played for Laughs.

Has surprisingly little to do with *Cough* Snark *Cough*. See also Sick Captive Scam for cases where a person uses a fake injury/illness to get the drop on his/her captors.


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    Fan Works 
  • In Absolute Idiot, after she "turns off her brain" Satsuki does this as she eats peanut butter, after Ryuuko (who probably shouldn't be listened to) suggests this and this lands her in the hospital for anaphylactic shock.
    Satsuki: “Or I could discover that peanuts taste awesome and that Mom and Dad are liars.”
  • The Bolt Chronicles: In “The Coffee Shop,” Bolt drinks a sufficient amount of the title beverage to make himself sick in an attempt to have his coffee shop human friend Joe rush him to Penny’s veterinary office and have the two of them meet. It works, and the pair are married a year later.

    Films — Animated 
  • The Boxtrolls: Archibald Snatcher's dream in life is to climb the social ladder and get accepted among the White Hats, a group of upper-crust cheese tasters. The only problem is that he's violently allergic to cheese, meaning he'd have to expose himself to the allergens every day if he got what he wanted. At the end, when he finally does get to do a cheese tasting, it kills him.
  • Ralph Breaks the Internet reveals that Jasmine is allergic to cats. This means that, by keeping a pet tiger, she's exposing herself to her allergies every day. She resorts to using an inhaler to keep her allergies in check.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • At the end of Innerspace, Tuck is running out of air in his pod and needs to get out of Jack's body soon or he'll die. Currently he is in Jack's lungs, but can't get to a handy orifice in time. Somebody remembers that a human sneeze travels at roughly 300 miles per hour - leading Jack to induce a sneeze by huffing hairspray, as he was diagnosed with an allergy to the same at the beginning of the movie.
  • In Star Trek (2009), Bones uses a variant of this to sneak Kirk onto the Enterprise. He injects Kirk with a vaccine whose side effects cause him to become quickly and visibly sick, allowing Bones to fast-talk a guard.
  • Zombieland: Double Tap has an accidental case. Madison appears to have become a Zombie Infectee, but it was actually a nut allergic reaction caused by eating trail mix because she's very stupid.

  • The Wide Window: The Baudelaire siblings eat peppermints so they have an excuse to escape from dinner and decode a secret message.
  • The children's book Robert the Rose Horse, in which the title character is extremely allergic to roses and sneezes loudly when he smells one. At the end, he deliberately sniffs a rose to muster a huge sneeze to stop a robbery in progress. It turns out that this final sneeze somehow cured him of the allergy.
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • X-Wing: Rogue Squadron: Protagonist Corran Horn's old enemy Imperial Intelligence Agent Kirtan Loor captures Corran's friend Gil Bastra and tortures him for information, and puts him in a bacta tank to heal up between sessions, but Bastra suffers a fatal allergic reaction. He turns out to have been previously exposed to a contaminated batch of bacta which caused a cluster of such allergies. Loor believes it was a freak accident, but Imperial Intelligence Director Ysanne Isard thinks Bastra exposed himself to the bad batch deliberately just in case he was ever captured.
    • In Heir to the Empire , Mara Jade devises a plan to disguise Luke from Imperial patrols while they're on Myrkr: she rubs the leaves of a poisonous plant all over his face and he breaks out in hives. Now, these aren't your everyday hives, mind you; its more like the result of blister beetle venom.
  • In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Hermione uses a jinx on Harry to make his face swell up, hiding him from the Snatchers. It doesn't entirely work, though, and he has to rely on Draco Malfoy's sympathy to keep up the disguise when the trio are brought to Malfoy Manor.
  • In Robert A. Heinlein's Glory Road, Oscar Gordon mentions one of his classmates who avoided the draft by having extreme allergies. No fake, he was allergic to draft boards...
  • A significantly more serious example occurs in Otherland, when Renie manages to give herself a heart attack to set off her system's emergency escape system.
  • Penny's allergy to strawberries is invoked in the denouement of Edenborn where she used it to fake a deadly disease and make a Last Request murder the rest of her family for perceived injustices.
  • In one of David Sedaris's stories, he describes how chocolate has always given him pounding headaches but as a child, he refused to be left out of what was universally agreed to be the best candy and ate it anyway.
  • The Android's Dream begins with a rogue government agent giving himself a lactose intolerance-induced bout of gas at a meeting with an alien species in hopes of causing a diplomatic crisis, as the aliens' communication is partly scent-based.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Big Bang Theory: Howard eats a nut bar to stall Leonard so they could set up Leonard's surprise birthday party. And because Penny was going to hook him up with her easy girlfriends.
  • Rules of Engagement: Jeff eats a strawberry to get out of an interminable dinner date with an annoying co-worker of his wife, Audrey.
  • 30 Rock: Kenneth intentionally eats strawberries so Jenna can have an excuse to see an EMT she likes.
  • Veronica Mars: A suspect eats peanut butter cookies in order to trigger his nut allergy and escape from jail.
  • In an episode of CSI: Miami, a criminal on death row requests a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for his last meal (having requested steak when his sentence was suspended). It turns out he was allergic and wanted to die on his own terms.
  • In Red Dwarf: Back To Earth, Lister eats a tomato because he's allergic to them. Why? So he can induce a sneezing fit with which he can do his ironing.
  • That '70s Show: When Kelso starts training for the police academy, he decides to drink raw eggs like Rocky does. He shushes Jackie's attempts to speak until after he's finished drinking the eggs, at which point she reminds him he's allergic to them.
  • In Father Ted, Ted mentions a priest called Matty Hislop who, despite being allergic to cats used to carry a kitten with him and "sniff it from time to time". His reason for doing this was that he was part of a religious sect that involved self-punishment.
  • Happens with Robin on How I Met Your Mother, in flashback. After being told she can no longer have lobster, she decides to go on a binge. Realizing that after this, she no longer craved lobster, she decided she would do the same thing when it came to the one man she couldn't stop thinking romantically about, Barney.
  • In the Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide episode "Excuses", Cookie tries to impress Vanessa's grandmother by eating walnuts (which she likes), and Hilarity Ensues.
  • Josh of Future Man has an allergy to nuts. Late in the second season he purposefully eats nuts to trigger facial inflammation and thwart facial recognition software.
  • Sesame Street: The Count loves counting flowers because he then gets to count the sneezes that they trigger in him.
  • In the Broad City episode "The Last Supper," Ilana makes a game out of gorging herself on shellfish while her face swells up. She plans to have Abbi use the EpiPen on her when her throat starts to close.

    Video Games 

    Web Animation 
  • In the Cat Face episode "A Sting in the Tale", Cat Face gets stung by a wasp in "A Sting in the Tale", resulting in a swollen paw, and ultimately goes on a series of adventures because of it. So Boxcat tries to provoke a wasp, even though he's allergic, and immediately puffs up in his box.
    Cat Face: Okay, I will get the adrenaline, honestly.

    Web Comics 

    Western Animation 
  • Family Guy: Meg threatens this in the middle of a rant to her parents about how terrible they are, saying that she's just gonna go upstairs and eat a whole bowl of peanuts. It has no effect on Peter and Lois because they don't even remember that she's allergic to peanuts.
  • In Kidd Video, the fairy Glitter becomes super-strong when she sneezes, leading the band to find new sneeze stimuli for her whenever they're in a tight spot.
  • In one episode of Regular Show, Rigby attempts to eat a huge plate of eggs to win a trucker's hat but ends up in the hospital after only two bites. He says that he thought he'd be fine as long as he ate really fast.
  • Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated: In "The Creeping Creatures", Daphne uses her allergy to synthetic animal skin to prove that a shipment of gator skin products are counterfeits.
  • Zipzee does this with flowers repeatedly in My Little Pony: The Princess Promenade. Not for any strategic reason like the above examples, she just really likes the smell of flowers and Spring and refuses to let her allergies get in the way of it.
  • South Park: In "Obama Wins!", Butters takes an almond M&M like a Cyanide Pill (he's extremely allergic to almonds) to avoid telling Stan and Kyle anything about the missing ballots.
  • Pam from Archer willingly eats a vegan buffet mainly composed of soy (which she is allergic to) because she wants to eat something. The guy in charge of it immediately tells her to stop eating but Pam just asks if he has Epinephrine. He nods and she continues eating assuming that injecting her with an EpiPen would save her life no matter how much she ate.
  • An episode of Camp Lazlo had Scoutmaster Lumpus believe he would die after eating part of a toxic cheese wheel and believed that he can do whatever he wants and starts with eating a bloatfish that gives him a Balloon Belly due to allergies. Hilarity Ensues and after which, it's later revealed that the cheese wheel is harmless because it was made in China, but Lumpus dies anyway due to the bloatfish, though Negative Continuity keeps him from being Killed Off for Real.
  • In the Clarence episode "Zoo", Breehn intentionally eats a peanut butter sandwich despite being allergic to peanuts. As he's wheeled away in a stretcher later, he decides that it wasn't worth it.