Peanut allergies are becoming a big issue in schools. The reason is simple enough the allergy is a serious one. It can even lead to death.
First one should realize that this is the most common food allergy. It is also an allergy that seems to be on the rise. If you are parent, a school official or if you just like to be informed, you need to realize just how serious this allergy is.
You should also know that peanuts are not really nuts. They are actually legumes and are in the same family as peas. But the allergic reaction to peanuts is similar to those of other nuts.
What happens is this. A person ingests a peanut and this person’s immune system mistakenly believes that this peanut is actually a harmful substance. The immune system then creates antibodies to the peanut and its oil. It thinks it is actually protecting the person’s body. Then the next time this person eats a peanut or ingests some of its oil an allergic reaction happens; the immune system releases huge amounts of chemicals and histamines within the body. This release of chemicals and histamines triggers the allergic reaction.
What can one expect when they have an allergic reaction to peanuts or peanut oil? These reactions depends on the person. The allergic reaction can start with a simple runny nose, skin rash, or tingly feeling of the tongue. Then the symptoms can become more serious including: difficulty breathing, swelling of the throat or other parts of the body, rapid drop in blood pressure, dizziness and unconscious. Other possible symptoms can be: hives, vomiting, stomach cramps, diarrhea. The most severe allergic reaction to peanuts and its oil is called anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis can cause one’s blood pressure to drop, airways to narrow, tongue to swell, loss of consciousness and even death.
These allergic reactions can appear within seconds after ingesting the peanut or it’s oil. Yet, it they can also take up to 2 hours after ingesting to appear. A note here, one doesn’t always have to ingest a peanut or its oil to have an allergic reaction, sometimes just the mere smell of peanuts can trigger this.
Who can become allergic to peanuts and its oil? Anybody can become allergic to them. There is all ready a family history of peanut or any food allergy, one is at more risk at developing this allergy.
Doctors recommend never giving a child under two peanuts or foods that is prepared with peanuts or its oils. Pregnant women and breast-feeding women, should also stay away from peanuts and foods prepared with them, especially if there is a history of food allergies in the family.
If your child has this allergy, you must work hard at reading all labels. Sometimes peanut and its oils appear in things you wouldn’t expect to find it, such as: Italian sauces (especially those labeled as pestos), bouillon and worchesershire sauces, prepared salads and salad dressings, and gravies. Also peanuts and its oils are in such non-food items such as: birdfeed, dog food and dog treats, hamster food and bedding, ant-traps and even cosmetics (especially moisturizers)
If your child has a serious allergen to peanuts and its oils, you should contact his/her school and discuss this matter with the principal. See what steps the schools cafeteria takes because of peanut allergies. Also, you may want to keep a shot filled with ephinephrine on hand at your home and your child’s school in case of an emergency. This is the main medicine that helps a peanut allergy attack. If it has to be administrated, your next act is to take your child immediately to the nearest ER.
The Federal Food and Drug Administration realizes the importance for all foods that is processed with peanuts and its oils to be properly labeled so children and adults both can understand them. Starting in 2006, food manufacturers must label whenever peanuts are used by penalty of law. But there is no doubt still products labeled back in 2005 on our shopping shelves, so stay vigilant.
Researchers say that peanut allergy is on the rise. This is probably because it is a handy snack for us to give our children. But be careful.
Right now, it is estimated that 1.5 million adults and children in the United States have an allergy to peanuts. Each year there are 15,000 visits to the ER because of peanut allergies and 100 deaths.
The average American eats up to 8 pounds of peanuts and peanut made by products in a year. For this reason, we must all be careful. If you don’t know for sure if it is safe to give a child a peanut butter sandwich, just don’t do it. It could be the difference between life and death.