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Friday, March 8, 2013

Are parents over-reacting to peanut allergies?

(Photo courtesy of http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/)

I was reading an article called "Flipping the Lid On Food Allergies" in Allergy & Asthma Today magazine. It was written by Dr. Sakina Bajowala. She is a board-certified in general pediatrics and adult and pediatric allergy and immunology. She has two boys with allergies.

She says when she wrote the article, she worried it may be controversial, but she thinks many parents may over-react to peanut allergies. Some parents think that being in the same room, airplane or birthday party where they are serving peanuts could cause their child to die.

She says that peanut protein found in peanut butter is undetectable in the air. She talks about a study at Mount Sinai School of Medicine where they had kids that were highly allergic to peanut butter sniff a half cup of peanut butter for 10 minutes. None of the kids had a reaction.

They also pressed a pea sized amount of peanut butter to the backs of those children. About 1/3 of kids had itching, redness or a hive on that spot. But no other reactions (no anaphylaxis)

They found that MOST kids that have a peanut allergy will not have anaphylaxis just from smelling or touching peanut better. Of course there may be someone who is VERY sensitive and may have a reaction. But most kids won't.

She wonders if parents are over-reacting in trying to protect their kids from peanuts. 

I get how scary it can be, Son #1 had anaphylaxis once after having his weekly allergy shot. I've seen it first hand. I NEVER want to go through that again. But the difference is that he was actually having something he was allergic to injected into his body. He survived by fast work of Amazing Shot Nurse. 

Dr. Bajowala is saying that just being around peanut butter won't cause anaphylaxis. Of course if it gets by kid's eyes and nose, that can cause a reaction that looks like anaphylaxis. Click on the article at the beginning of this post. Reading it may make you stop and think.

Do schools, airplanes, etc need to be peanut-free zones? Read the article and decided for yourself. 


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