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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."

When a character induces an allergic reaction in himself. Perhaps to get out of a bad situation, to stall for time or some other reason. This is usually Played for Laughs.

Has surprisingly little to do with Cough-Snark-Cough.

Examples of Self-Induced Allergic Reaction include:


  • 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 same at the beginning of the movie.

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.
  • Thirty 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, 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.


  • The Wide Window: The Baudelaire siblings eat peppermints so they have an excuse to escape from dinner and decode a secret message.
  • There is a children's book in which a horse 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.
  • 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.
  • In Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows, Hermione uses a similar strategy to the previous example to hide Harry 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...

Video Games

  • In Warcraft III, the Druid of the Talon is able to transform into a bird, and one of his joke quotes is sneezing and hoping that he's not allergic to feathers.

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 truckers hat. But ends in the hospital after only two bites.


  1. The Wide Window
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