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Peanut Allergies on the Rise

Defending your child against peanut allergies is serious business

(J. Conrad Williams Jr./Newsday/MCT)

Photo by TNS (formerly MCT) used with permission.

(J. Conrad Williams Jr./Newsday/MCT)

Morgan MacNeil-Berry, Contributor

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If you ask your parents how many people they knew with peanut allergies when they were kids, they probably wouldn’t remember anyone. According to Foodallergy.org, this is because peanut allergies among children have increased by 50 percent since 1997. About 200 children die each year from peanut induced anaphylaxis.

Do you know someone with a peanut allergy?

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Though more people are aware of children with peanut allergies, many people don’t know the precautions that have to be taken to prevent a child from going into anaphylaxis. According to Lianne, a mother whose son has peanut allergies, “(a) play date typically means we have our child’s friends over our house. Birthday parties and nights with grandparents require logistical preparation and planning. An itinerary is drawn up in advance, safe food is purchased that resembles the ones we predict will be served, and multiple EpiPens are checked and double-checked.” These precautions need to be taken in order for their child to be able to have a safe but fun time wherever they are going.

Many people don’t know the precautions that have to be taken to prevent a child from going into anaphylaxis.”

— Morgan MacNeil-Berry

Parents of children with peanut allergies are like detectives. They have to be aware of every piece of food around their child, and they are always worried of possible contamination from another child who had peanut butter that day. “Would you ‘freak out’ at the school playground if you see that bag of poison lurking nearby your child or would you perhaps try to get that poison banned from your child’s school where he spends most of his time,” asks Lianne. The parents of children with allergies need to make sure their kids don’t put their fingers in their mouth after touching anything. They need to make sure that the restaurant they are going to has menu items that are not near peanuts or cooked with peanuts.

Although people know about peanut allergies, it is evident they don’t understand how important it is for kids with allergies to be nowhere near peanuts. Too many children die every year from anaphylaxis because one person was not careful enough to make sure they did not touch a child after having peanuts, or even a food item containing peanuts.

For a first hand account of what it’s like to be the parent of a child with peanut allergies, click on this link to read Mike Farley’s blog. Farley is a Weymouth parent who writes about parenthood and other interesting issues of concern.

 

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Peanut Allergies on the Rise