A vet gave me chloramphenicol for my horse for a possible aspiration (11 grams twice a day in tablet form). Due to the extreme bitter taste, she suggested I make a paste with it and add some jello powder and put the mixture into an oral syringe to administer it. After my husband gave the first dose, he was complaining of the horrible taste in his mouth and a bit of an upset stomach. I prepared the second dose, including counting out pills and putting the paste into the syringe with a spoon followed by sweeping with my fingers to get it all. I must have had some residue on my hand, because when I went to bite a carrot in half to give to my horse, the bitterness of the carrot was horriffic and my stomach began retching; not to mention the fact that the horse now hates us because of the taste.

Because my, my husband, and Tex's (the horse) reactions, I immediately googled this medication and found all kinds of warnings to wear gloves, masks, long sleeves and avoid contact and inhalation of this drug. In fact, although it works well in horses, it not often used because of it's toxicity to humans.

The biggest risk of this medication is aplastic anemia. I have read that it does not matter the amount or duration of the exposure, just the sensitivity of the person exposed. Who is at greatest risk for acquiring aplastic anemia after this kind of exposure? I have been turned down from blood donations in the past due to anemia, but it is not chronic. I have also had open heart surgery 2 years ago due to congenital heart defects, but I am perfectly healthy now and am not on any other medications.

Am I at increased risk because of my history? Are my husband and I considered 'sensitive' because of our nausea following contact and/or inhalation?