Peanut and Food Allergies

Food Allergies

In the U.S. eight major food allergens account for 90% of all allergic reactions:
eggs, fish, milk, peanuts, shellfish, soy, tree nuts and wheat. Very small amounts of a food allergen can cause a reaction. An allergic reaction can be triggered by ingesting the food and in some cases touching it or smelling it.  Cross contamination with other foods is a big danger in the food manufacturing process, food preparation in restaurants etc.

Reactions vary from mild itching, to hives to anaphylaxis. There are also many people with food insensitivities and those reactions vary widely. 

A peanut allergy is on of the most dangerous food allergies, since peanut tend to cause severe reactions. Some people are highly sensitive and can react to ingesting trace amounts of peanuts. Unlike cow's milk and egg allergies, most children will not outgrow a peanut allergy. It get's worse. 30-40% of people allergic to peanuts are also allergic to tree nuts.

A federal law requires that any packaged food product that contains peanuts as an ingredient must list the word "peanut" on the label. Other warnings are voluntary at this time but thankfully an increasing number of manufacturers will put "allergy warnings" on their labels for wheat, soy, peanut,tree nut, dairy and eggs. (Better safe than sorry).

Be sure to read all product labels carefully before consuming any item. When eating out be sure to ask questions about the food item you are going to order. Tell the restaurant about your allergy. Ask about possible cross contamination in the kitchen prep and cooking areas.
Ex- We won't eat in Chinese or Thai restaurants.  Alexander won't have a smoothie if there is a P.B. smoothie on the menu (cross-contamination danger is high). No eating of cookies off a cookie tray or dessert area if peanut containing desserts are being served.

You get the picture.  See my list of Common Peanut containing products.

Why Peanuts?  Why is this allergy more prevalent?

In the United States, the number of children with a peanut allergy doubles between 1997 and 2002. This allergy in increasing in the U.K. and Canada.
According to the FIA website, researchers have isolated the three major peanut allergens.

The medical community is trying to determine why peanuts cause severe reactions, why the allergy is occurring in an increasing number of people and what to do about it.

A few new therapies are being introduced!

We will be participating in a food allergy treatment for our son. It's is an oral immunotherapy program that is only offered in 2 or 3 places in the United States. 
(I do not know about overseas yet.) We are schedule to begin in 2 weeks. 

To find out more about food allergies:  - Food Allergy Initiative

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