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Peanut Allergy

One of the more controversial areas in current medicine, this subject is highly charged.

In the U.S. alone, peanut allergy causes 100 deaths and 15,000 emergency room visits a year.

To be the parent of a child who dies of an allergic reaction after eating something with peanuts in it – whether labeled or not – is to become forever afire.

This website is excellent, with very detailed information and multiple links to more specific areas of this very charged subject.

No one knows how common peanut allergy is; it can develop after many uneventful exposures and can disappear over time.

So sensitive can an individual be that there are reports of anaphylactic shock and death in highly susceptible individuals after smelling peanuts or peanut butter.

Last week, Arroyo Vista Elementary School in South Pasadena, California banned foods containing peanuts not only from its school cafeteria menu, but from its entire campus.

Yes, you read correctly: children are no longer allowed to bring peanut butter-and-jelly sandwiches to school for lunch. School lunches, snacks, and classroom treats must be peanut-free.

Principal Julie Jennings, in a letter to parents, said the the new rules “may seem a bit extreme” and be “difficult to get used to,” but that it was necessary to protect the 20 students at the school (4% of the school population of 500) who suffer from the potentially life-threatening allergy.

School staff members have identified the allergic students and have been trained to inject EpiPen – which counteracts the reaction – if one should come into contact with peanuts.

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  • Teagans Nana

    I see both sides of this issue. Before my Granddaughter Teagan was diagnosed as a toddler (now 6) with the severest reactivity of peanut allergy as you can get, I thought that serving peanut butter or peanut products to my own kid was my right as a parent. Its a whole other story when its one of your own.
    We dreaded the day when we had to make the decision of whether or not to home-school. We chose to try public school because she SO wanted to go to real school! However, she started several months ago and we are constantly thinking we may have to home-school afterall. Teagan LOVES school and her teacher, she looks forward to school every day. In fact, when she was forced to stay home from school recently due to being sick and feverish she cried for an hour because she missed “yellow day” and she missed singing the “yellow song” that they had practiced! Awww!!!!

    Unfortunately, there is a battle going on regarding her special accommodations regarding her allergies. Not just her life-threatening peanut allergy but she has many, many food allergies as well that are not as severe but cause her to have extremely painful outbreaks of eczema. Its a nightmare but we want her to lead as normal a life as possible.
    Although they were very concerned and accommodating at first, now her school is trying to down-play her safety needs and is saying they are worrying about her self-esteem and that her special accommodations are singling her out with other kids and is becoming too burdensome for the school to handle. They are worried about her self-esteem while we are worried about her life!

    Anyone who has researched peanut allergy knows that it is for some reason on the rise and about 5% of school aged kids are allergic to some degree. So people on this site state that they don’t feel that they should be inconvenienced by not sending peanut products to school need to realize that most likely at least one person in their child’s classroom is going to be allergic. And many, many kids in any sizeable school.
    We are not saying you should never give your kids peanut products. Just help keep our kids safe! If they HAVE to have peanut butter, have them eat it for breakfast or dinner! Just keep it out of their lunches.
    Oh, and regarding home-schooling? It is so easy for someone to just say that if you care so much about your allergic kid that much then you shouldn’t send them to school. We’ve looked into home-schooling options quite a bit. Demographics has much to do with successful home-schooling, meaning small groups of parents that share responsibilities and form a network. There is no good network where my granddaughter lives so it would be up to my daughter alone. Sure you can debate social development pros and cons vs learn-at-your own speed, etc. But ultimately, Teagan’s happiness in just going to school each day and connecting with her teacher and classmates makes it all the more difficult to pull her out. And we are facing that agonizing decision right now.
    Except for her food allergies, she is a very normal, smart, exceptionally witty and fun-loving child. We don’t want to isolate her and keep her from having the experience of enjoying a semi-normal childhood.

    So yeah, I see both sides and I don’t know at all if we will win our battle with her school. Her safety is definitely our top priority. If she was just moderately allergic we would not worry so much but her docs and our experiences prove that she is unfortunately an extreme case. And if it were JUST my grandkid and she was the one and only peanut allergy kid in the world, yes, I’d agree that we shouldn’t inconvenience everyone else. But although she might be one of the most highly reactive, she’s certainly not the only allergic kid at the school now nor will she be the last. So some kind of formal policy needs to be established and parents need to realize that its just not okay to send peanut products to school when informed that there is an allergic child in the midst.

  • MaryP

    Do people think that those of us with peanut allergic children have no lives, jobs, etc? To the woman who said she didn’t have time to drive to Whole Foods and buy Sunbutter?? Hello? I’m a professional woman with a busy schedule and family life. I did not ask to have a peanut allergic child. No one in my family has allergies, but my daughter has one. Can I help that? No. Do you think I should then quit my job, severly limiting my household income so that I can keep my daughter at home and homeschool my beautiful, bright, social butterfly daughter all because some selfish, ignorant people refuse to help their fellow parents out and keep their children’s friends safe from death by avoiding nuts and nut products? I wish on that woman a peanut allergic child.
    I’m shaking I’m so upset by some of what I’ve read tonight. My little girl is due to start Kindegarten in the Fall and as I’m researching my options I’m feeling more and more hopeless. I am not going to feel safe sending her to public school. I can just picture myself in a meeting, wondering if she’s okay, wondering if the staff is really keeping her safe, wondering if she’ll be offered M&M’s or something else that could kill her? I can’t handle it and I can’t take the risk. I don’t want to homeschool – my daugher LOVES school (she goes to a nut free preschool and ADORES it there) and I don’t want to quit my job which is in the non-profit sector, I do alot of good and help alot of people, but I’m feeling more and more frustrated. Do you know that all schools in Canada are peanut and tree nut free?
    Anyways, sorry if this seemed like a disjointed rant, it is. I’m just so sad for my daughter, I don’t want her in “alternative school” or homeschool, but more importantly I want her alive and 5 years old is just too little to trust that she can “manage her allergy”. I just don’t trust people, there will always be the peanut allergy “haters” out there and it’s just incredibly unfair.

  • Wendy

    Wow I just read about 10 post on here. I must say I am very sad for these people that do not have any feelings for kids with life threatening allergies. Take a look at your child with no allergies today and be thankful your child does not have to worry about people like you. Just remember allergies can start at any time.I cannot believe people make comments that compare sending a child to public school to throwing them in the ocean? What planet are you from? How dare you say something like that! Oh and the person with the skinny kid that will only eat peanut butter, UMM you might want to see a doctor for your child because peanut butter in moderation is healthy but how about some other alternatives? Ham,turkey,tuna,cheese,balona,sun butter,jelly and fluff, many more choices than this, remember this is only for school not the whole day. Great example, right now a big salmonella problem in peanut butter land. Are you going to put your son at risk or have him try a ham sandwich? I do have a son with allergies that goes to public school. I have worked with the school to protect my son by peanut free table, no homemade goods can be brought into class and other precautions. Everyday I have to worry about my son because of his allergies. Has anyone heard the old saying it takes a village to raise a child? I think our morals need to reshift in this selfish world we have become. For those of you that do not have to worry about your kids but still care enough to make small changes for kids like my son, GOD BLESS YOU! Wendy

  • Therese Bedard

    I am from Duluth MN and work in the time out room at school.

    You people need to quit complaining. If we didn’t feed our kids peanut butter, they wouldn’t have much of a lunch.

  • loleighla

    I have recently found out that a student will be coming to my high school with a severe peanut allergy (I’m a teacher) and we were told that we had to check art supplies for possible problems. I teach art and want to make sure that there are no problems. I have contacted some companies but there are A LOT of different supplies. On other food allergy sites gluten is mentioned a great deal, which makes sense (wheat paste, etc. at the elementary level) But I haven’t heard anything about more adult supplies;oil pastels, oil paints,linseed oil. I feel silly asking about a food allergy in my art supplies but you never know and better safe than sorry. Does anyone have any information or sites I can go to to learn if there is a risk to this student?

  • Matilda van der Beck – Lee

    Hi everyone,

    I’m also thinking that it’s also important to start asking ourselves what is in the peanut crop that is giving our kids so many allergies? Where a re these peanuts being grown and how? Having grown up in an Asian culture and now that I live in Europe, there are also a few known allergies, but i remember that when i went to grad school and first heard about the peanut allergy and how serious it was in the US, I was quite shocked. Apparently it is very common in the US, almost dangerously common. Maybe what needs to be battled is not just to have peanut or not to have peanut but how they being grown? Research has shown that the US tops the world in growing GMO products – could this be a reason? Or is it the pesticide? Something must be happening…

    I think it is good that schools in the US are taking this eminent danger very seriously but I still think that it is even more important as parents to educate our children about things that could endanger them. I have 4 children and none of them have allergies. I’m the one with severe hayfever. If anyone walks into the room with a jacket that contains pollen I’m in big trouble.

    But at the huge playschool and daycare where i work, we have 1 little boy out of 120 that has a life threatening wheat, peanut and gluten allergy. Either one these will bring him into anaphylactic shock. He carries 2 epipens with him daily and the school has also 3 in stock. All the three kids in his family have the same allergy, presumably inherited from his mother who also suffers from the same allergies. They are not a local family and are only here due to the military, so we don’t really know much about their background.

    What i wanted to say was though, that Jason, this little 3 year old boy, he brings his own snack to school everyday. One day, he forgot and he quietly refused snack and eveything, even water from us, telling us that “Mommy said it’s dangerous and I’m not allowed.” We called his parents and his dad drove by later in the afternoon bringing a water bottle and Jason’s little snack. Most of us teachers were quite awed by the little boy’s maturity and understanding of his own allergies. Even at the age of 3, it also showed that his parents took real care to teach him and his sisters what they could eat and what they could not and what they would have to do if they forgot their packed lunch or if they got into trouble.

    Thanks.

  • Matilda van der Beck – Lee

    Regardigd the art supplies – I think the best way to go about this is to select the companies which you know provide the quality materials that you would like to use and call them. Call them about the issue that you have and ask them very nicely to give you in written, a copy of the material factsheet for their paint/oils/oxides etc. Most reputable art supply companies will already have such fact sheets available on their websites or should be very willing to give a hard copy to their customers. For example I know that the famous European Kremerhouse that supplies natural colour minerals for restoration art all over the world has a factsheet and material health and safety data sheet that is easily accessible for anyone interested. That said, do call up the companies you enjoy good customer service from and just go from there.

  • Idisagree

    1. I agree that if these allergies are so severe these children should be treated as they have a disability and they should go to their own school. I am sorry you find the lack of sympathy unsettling but I find the fact that you want 96% of the population to change to accommodate 4% of the population a form of Narcissism

  • Therese Bedard

    I think that you people are a little “nuts” about this issue.

  • Dale

    i can totally understand the peanut free policy when there is a child in the class with a peanut allergy. Children interact and it would be terrible for something to happen when so easily preventable.
    I do not understand my childs class though, a teacher has a peanut allegy and they can not have PB sandwichs when she is there… An adult should understand to not eat the childs sandwich it might hurt her, you can not suffer a reaction just from the sight or smell… it’s medically imppossible. Should society ban peanut butter cookies in all bakeries? I know for a fact Anti-freeze will hurt me if i drink it, therefore i avoid consuming it, regardless of how tempting it might be.

  • Twin

    I am a 23 year old female. I was diagnosed with a peanut allergy when I was younger and always carried my epi pen with me. I took every precaution to the allergy extremely serious everyday. One day a few months back, I went into a restaurant and asked the person making my food if may come in contact with peanuts and/or may be cooked in peanut oil. The person told me NO! I ate about half my meal and went home which was about five minutes from the restaurant. While at home I felt my throat close up a little. I asked myself what could this be from? They told me that my food was not going to be cooked around peanuts or cooked in peanut oil. So as a concerned customer I called the restaurant and asked if they cooked in peanut oil and they told me NO! So a few minutes go by and my throat closes up even more now I was getting scared. So I called the restaurant again and told them that my sister and I just came into the restaurant and told them what I order. The restaurant told me that right before they cooked my meal they cooked an order that contained peanuts. So I hung up the phone and took my epi pen.My sister had driven me to the hospital and on the way there my throat started to close up even more and this is after I took my epi pen! I went into the emergency room and they put a breathing mask on my face and intravenously gave me the medication to stop the reaction. While a couple of minutes later I started to feel a little better. Then all of a sudden my throat started to close up again. My oxygen level in my blood (SpO2s)dropped from 95 to 34 and they had to ventilate me. I was on the ventilator for 4 days. DO YOU KNOW HOW HORRIBLE THAT FEELING IS?? I WOULD NEVER WISH THAT UPON MY WORST ENEMY!! As I came through the doctors told me that I could have died from this allergic reaction. All because someone wanted to make a FIVE DOLLAR sale! They said if a child had eaten just a few small bites out of the meal that I ate they would have died immediately. But because of my weight and only eating half of my meal it saved my life. To hear that you could have died over a FIVE DOLLAR meal is ridiculous! Even worse a child only eating a few bites could have died right there on the spot that discussed me all over a FIVE DOLLLAR SALE! People are so incoherent to the fact that someone can die from a lie that was told to a customer! I myself think I took everything in my power not to have a reaction to my peanut allergy but some people are so STUPID!!! I feel that if someone can just be concerted of an allergy server as peanuts the people who have that allergy would no have the same experience I had to go through I hope no one will, but I know it will happen because of people who don’t care about other people. If you can’t put that peanut butter cup or sandwich down sham on yourself!!!!!!!!!! Being on that ventilator will haunt me for the rest of my life! So I hope stupid people can wake up and realize that peanut allergies are one of the most common in the world. So be considerate and think if you where a few weeks old or 90 years old and die or could have died because of your own stupidity than sham on yourself!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Johnny

    angel I know what you are talking about I am a freshman in highschool living with a peanut allergy. Some advice about the kiss of death for those of us with peanut allergies is that he should make sure he talks with his girlfriend about his allergy so she has a understanding. I know it is ackward but could make the difference between life or death for some of us.

  • Middle Of The Road

    When people have an allergy to food, it is the responsibility of the allergic person not the restaurant to make sure they do not eat that food. If you are allergic to peanuts you can not expect a restaurant to know what every single item is made of. I’m sure the poor server who said that the customers food would not be cooked in peanut oil or come in contact with peanuts did not realize that the previous order cooked, for a different table, had peanuts in it.

    I feel really bad for all the people who have a peanut allergy. I have severe allergies and asthma but do not ask people to get rid of their cats, not burn candles or incense or not smoke. With asthma and allergies anything can trigger an attack, sometimes doctors don’t even know what causes an attack, and if not treated properly it can be fatal. Imagine having an attack, not being able to breath and blacking out all at the same time.

    People need to be reasonable about what they are asking of other people. It’s not about not having pb&j it’s about asking other people to accomadate your needs. If my child was allergic to peanuts I would probably home school him until he and other students were old enough to understand the severity of the allergy.

    I understand the need for children to receive an education and the want of a normal childhood. But is it worth sending your child to school and being in fear everyday that someone might bring peanuts in any form or that maybe someone had something at breakfast and didn’t know. Is it worth putting your child’s life at risk?

  • VeraLynne

    Hello, I’m a teacher and was just told that we cannot have any peanut butter at all around the school due to allergies. I am most empathetic to those with allergies-but on the other hand I eat pb&j sandwiches at least 3x a week. Again, I’m not trying to be noncompassionate but I am broke and this is how I save $. I switch to hummus with fresh veggies but this is more expensive, and I don’t make meat sandwiches, and I don’t buy frozen meals bc of the cost and sodium. I also don’t do fast food bc as teachers we are NOT ALLOWED to go anywhere during our lunchtime. To buy a school lunch, it’s around $4 for teachers, and I work in a very poor district that serves very low-quality food like chicken patties (which I don’t eat), and the salads are covered in slices of warm generic cheese (I don’t eat that either)& are more expensive. I am empathetic to the children with allergies, and I have researched other lunch options for myself, but I eat my meals in the teacher lunch room, and wash my hands before and after my meals. I have never hurt a child by my eating habits in 10+yrs of teaching, and now my life must be severely inconvenienced by me having to pay out more money to have a lunch. There needs to be a compromise somewhere, you know? I don’t want to come off being mean, bc I am a very caring person, but this just isn’t a good solution. I am sorry for the parents with children with this condition. I just found out my 2 year old has an auto-immune disorder-which is extremely scary, and now can’t be around her siblings or other kids bc she can’t risk getting bruised. I don’t know how we can put her in a regular school, not even a daycare bc she will bruise easily, not to mention get sick. We have to get her red blood cell count done regulary, give her an insane amount of medication, and she has to get blood transfusions periodically. So parents, I understand your plight, I am most empathetic. But now with those hospital bills over my head, and a little girl I have to shelter from the world, I can’t afford to buy lunches, and I can’t afford not to work and lose insurance. I don’t think I should have to starve during the school day though either. There needs to be a compromise somewhere. My idea: if peanut butter has to be banned then schools need to give teachers lunchbreaks where they can LEAVE the school premises and have lunch at home or at a restaurant. BTW I can’t afford a private school for my child but I can’t expect every child at a public school to adhere to policies to protect my little girl. IDEA, which is funded by our government provides schools for students with special needs-which has nothing to do with mental capacity, and maybe some parents need to look into that option for the safety of their children.

  • VeraLynne

    One other thing: I read alot of bad things about public school personnel on here. Please understand, children say they are allergic to everything-when they are not. I hear it all the time. Cafeteria workers don’t know who has a real allergy and who doesn’t. Kids will always ask to move to another seat and use any reason to do so. Please don’t get mad at the cafeteria workers, they are just trying to keep order. I advise parents to volunteer and see for themselves. If one child observes another child getting to move to another seat bc he or she states that they have an allergy, then one can observe the phenomena of every student moving from seat to seat using that excuse…which is quite chaotic. Don’t blame the workers, blame the system. They’ve made so many budget cuts, and there aren’t enough workers to remember every child’s allergy, especially the children who move from school district to school district a few times a year. Write your representative and ask for more funding for your schools. Only when the staff to student ratios are lowered can public schools give your child the attention they really do require.

  • kit kat

    Give me a break people….open your minds! Let me get this straight…..you feel it is unfair that you cannot send your child to school with a peanut butter sandwich, because my child is severely allergic to peanuts??? It is like playing russian roulette! I find it amusing how quickly minds change when it is your child that can die as a result of the peanut butter sandwich.

  • alergic mom

    I am sorry to hear of all these children with peanut alergies, But in my household we have alergies as well… SEVERE alergies. But I have to agree with “mom” back in August of 2007, My 2nd son is extremely picky ,and has been since he was 2 (now 13) he will only eat peanut butter for lunch. I have to force him to eat something different for dinner. He is anemic, so I have to make sure he eats protein, and peanut butter is great for him. I was told by his school to pack what I gave him for dinner the night before… and who is going to stand over him to make sure he eats it? I have to during dinner time here to make sure he eats it! I am sorry for the families with those alergic to peanuts, but my son is alergic to grass (severe) and ragweed and mould. Should we remove all the grass in the world and around his school? I am fatally alergic to bee stings… Should we just kill all the bees in the world because persons with alergies to bees could die??? I didnt think so! My own nephew is alergic to peanuts, but he had to learn to deal with life,, and take his own life in his own hands you might say. his parents have to teach him how to avoid peanuts and such matter. So whats next?? should all grocery stores ban peanut products? after all those peanut butter jars may have come in contact with those fruit cups!!!!!! Deal with your issues… and teach your child accordingly. I love children, I have 4, and I was a pediatric nurse for years, and I know the reactions. But life goes on for EVERYONE, and if you cant cope in this world,YOU have to learn to adapt!!!!