Peanut Allergies

Many children are allergic to peanuts. Eating a food item that contains peanuts can be deadly so can the residue of peanuts on surfaces touched by the child allergic to peanuts. Eating is a vital part of survival and eating when you are allergic to peanuts can be a task that requires careful planning and diligence regarding investigating how food is prepared and what foods contain.

Making a mistake regarding the presence of peanuts can spell disaster for a child with a peanut allergy.

Accidental Deaths Preventable highlights the stories of two teenage girls who die from allergic reactions after accidentally ingesting peanuts. The girls were aware of their allergy to peanuts and knew that they could become very ill if they made a mistake and ate peanuts. One girl died after ingesting residue from her school cafeteria, the other from a sandwich with peanut residue in it. Both girls were only 13 years old. They both had been taught to recognize the signs of peanut ingestions. They both knew how to avoid eating items made from peanuts. Accidental ingestion does occur.

Allergies can be serious matters for not only those who have the allergic reactions but to those responsible for food preparation. Knowing how to protect kids with food allergies is not just a matter of knowing how to prepare food; it is a matter of safeguarding the life of a child with food allergies.

How many parents of children allergic to peanuts understand that their child could actually die if they are careless just once? How many school cafeteria ladies understand that their carelessness can cost the life of a precious student? How many babysitters even think to ask about food allergies when preparing bedtime snacks?

How many adults even think before offering a child younger than two a peanut? How can we take for granted the lives of so many innocent children? Understanding food allergies is something that every school administrator, teacher, parent, cafeteria worker, and food service staff member should come to grips with if they are to prepare food for children.

The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network, a nonprofit group in Fairfax, Va., reports that peanut allergies are responsible for nearly 100 deaths and 15,000 emergency room visits each year.

At present the only way to manage a peanut allergy is to teach the child how to recognize the presence of peanuts in food items and how to avoid foods that are most likely to contain peanuts. They can also be taught how to self-administer an injection of epinephrine just in case they should suffer a severe reaction to peanut ingestion.

Scientists are working on developing a vaccine for peanut allergy so that no one children have to die because of being allergic to peanuts.