A Peanut Allergy Can Be Fatal

by Guest Writer

A peanut butter and jelly sandwich has traditionally been a staple in a children’s diet, but this typical lunch can cause a life threatening reaction, reported the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, Arlington Heights, Illinois.

A peanut allergy is said to affect approximately 400,000 school-age children in the United States, and one study concluded that the incidence of peanut allergy among children more than tripled from 1997-2008.

“Individuals allergic to peanuts should be prescribed an epinephrine (adrenaline) auto-injector to carry with them at all times, because peanut allergy reactions are unpredictable, and may vary in their sensitivity,” the college reported.

“When a child is allergic to peanuts, families must closely monitor everything the child eats, both inside and outside the home, because accidental consumption of peanuts could prove fatal,” advised Jane E. Brody in the February 3, 2014 issue of the New York Times.  She added that these patients could also be allergic to walnuts, pecans, and almonds.

“Many airlines no longer offer peanuts for fear that an allergic passenger might inhale peanut dust and suffer a life-threatening reaction at 30,000 feet,” she said.

Although not mentioned by Brody, a doctor at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, told about a child who went into anaphylaxis shock after eating a non-peanut dish that had been made in a pot containing peanuts, even though the pot had been thoroughly washed before his meal had been prepared. Brody also remembered an infamous case in 1986, in which an 18-year-old freshman at Brown University, with no known nut allergy, who died after eating chili that a restaurant had thickened with peanut butter. In evaluating 622 adults and children with a known allergy to peanuts, J. O. Warner, M.D., of Southampton General Hospital in the United Kingdom, reported that 0.1% of the grandparents; 0.6% of the aunts and uncles; 1.6% of the parents, and 6.9% of the siblings were allergic to peanuts. He added that a peanut allergy is more prevalent, which may reflect a general increase in atrophy, which is inherited more commonly in the mother.   A peanut allergy that occurs early in life may reflect increased consumption of peanuts by pregnant and nursing mothers. In effect, he added, a peanut allergy is the most common cause of death related to a food allergy.

According to the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, these are the typical symptoms of a peanut allergy:

1.  Skin reactions, such as hives, redness, or swelling.

2.  Itching in or around the mouth and throat.

3.  Digestive complaints such as diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea, and vomiting.

4.  Tightness in the throat.

5.  Shortness of breath or wheezing.

6.  Running nose.

7.  Constriction of airways.

8.  Severe drop in blood pressure (shock).

9.  Rapid pulse.

10.  Dizziness, lightheadedness, or loss of consciousness. If you have a severe reaction to peanuts, especially if you have anaphylaxis, the Mayo Clinic recommends that you call 911 or your local emergency number immediately.  Patients allergic to peanuts should always carry an epinephrine pump to tide them over until help arrives.

Although having a peanut allergy might sound scary and difficult to live with, not to worry! There are plenty of alternatives that can help all of you peanut-free eaters live a healthy life.

So, no need for ruling out PB&J’s just yet. There are a ton of peanut-free, butter alternatives that are delicious, and super nutritious!

  • NoNuts is an alternative type of peanut-free butter that’s made with brown peas, canola oil, and palm oil. Offering a healthy amount of Omega 3’s, NoNuts is perfect for a snack or sandwich!
  • SunButter, an alternative nut-free butter brans makes a delicious creamy butter out of sunflower seeds! Talk about delish!
  • It may continue a word that sounds like “nuts,” but coconut butter is a great alternative that contains no peanuts as well! MaraNatha makes an alternative that’s full of fiber and vitamins.
  • The soy nut butter from I.M. HEALTHY is a nutritious alternative that comes in a smooth butter. This butter contains soybeans, soybean oil, palm oil, and can sugar.

Living a nut-free life doesn’t have to be difficult. For any other tips on how to lead a nut-free life feel free to contact us! We’d love to help you find nut-free, healthy alternatives to add into your everyday diet.

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