Man passes out from perfume on Seattle flight

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by HEATHER GRAF / KING 5 News

NWCN.com

Posted on October 3, 2013 at 9:25 AM

It was just last week when the pilot of a Seattle-bound flight suffered a heart attack in mid-air and lost his life.  Now, a Federal Way may says he nearly met the same fate.

Scott Gordon was returning from a business trip on Sunday.  He was traveling by himself, on a flight from Phoenix to Seattle.

Gordon says it wasn't a heart attack he dealt with, but it was equally scary.

"My eyes started watering and my head started to pound and I just, it kept on hitting me, I kept on smelling it," he said.

The smell he's talking about was the perfume of someone on board the plane.

Gordon has always been overly sensitive to certain fragrances, and says this was one of the worst episodes he's experienced in his life.

He says he blacked out at times, and remembers several flight attendants shaking him as they called for help.

"The next thing I hear is the pilot over the speaker saying have emergency personnel at the gate, we have an emergency on the plane," he said.

He says he doesn't know their names or remember their faces, but he knows that a doctor and two nurses who were on board instantly came to his aid.

They pulled him to the floor, administered oxygen, and kept him calm.

"There was this gentleman that kept talking in my ear the whole time," he said.  "He told me, you're going to be okay.  When they finally got me up, everybody started clapping and cheering, like I just won the biggest boxing match of my life."

Scott says he'll forever be grateful to the U.S. Airways crew and the passengers who were so quick to help.

"I just never got a chance to talk to the people who saved my life," he said.  "It was definitely a godsend. I just wanted to say thank you, thank you for saving my life."

Dr. Leonard Altman, who works at the Northwest Allergy & Asthma Center, said complaints about sensitivity to smells are something they hear about quite frequently.

He says it's not technically an allergy, and unfortunately, the only advice he can offer to people like Gordon is to avoid those fragrances as much as they can.

"Some people just have a heightened sensitivity to smells," he said.  "It somehow stimulates a neurological reflex, and if you stimulate it the wrong way, it leads to headache, nausea, vomiting, things of that nature."

He says confined areas, like planes, only compound the problem.

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