Peanut Butter Allergies

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Peanut Butter Allergies

Postby Giant Communist Robot » Wed Mar 25, 2009 2:30 pm

My daughter asked for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich to take on her school's field trip. When the teachers saw her sandwich, it was confiscated and thrown away.

When I was a kid I never heard of this stuff. Googling around, I find almost all medical articles concerning allergy to peanuts are recent. Well, since 1995 or so. Surely the allergy has been around a lot earlier, but just wasn't a big issue. One article says 1.5 million Americans have this allergy. I see the prevalence is larger in children than adults, and has been so. This suggests as some of those children grow, they lose their allergy. Either that or they die from peanut butter.

What surprises me most about this is that there are no students with known peanut butter allergies at her school. Its a statewide rule. This makes me feel that this is more an issue of social conditioning than anything else.
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Re: Peanut Butter Allergies

Postby Shapley » Wed Mar 25, 2009 2:39 pm

Giant Communist Robot wrote: I see the prevalence is larger in children than adults, and has been so. This suggests as some of those children grow, they lose their allergy. Either that or they die from peanut butter.


This could also suggest that the allergy is, indeed, new. Perhaps it is a result of genetically engineered food crops?
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Re: Peanut Butter Allergies

Postby Giant Communist Robot » Wed Mar 25, 2009 2:48 pm

This could also suggest that the allergy is, indeed, new


I'm not sure. The number with the allergy is small. It doesn't seem unreasonable that some small number of people are going to be allergic to peanut butter, which suggests it has always been so. One study over time of children had an increase in the number of those allergic, but it lacked statistical signifigance.
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Re: Peanut Butter Allergies

Postby Giant Communist Robot » Wed Mar 25, 2009 3:04 pm

Perhaps it is a result of genetically engineered food crops?


It appears the problem is a naturally occuring protein. I don't mean to imply this is not real, but eggs and milk have a high incidence rate of allergy than peanut butter. I see about 200 people a year die from anaphylactic shock, and about 80% of those caused by tree nuts, which will include peanuts.

I'm tired of googling.
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Re: Peanut Butter Allergies

Postby Shapley » Wed Mar 25, 2009 3:57 pm

Giant Communist Robot wrote:I see about 200 people a year die from anaphylactic shock, and about 80% of those caused by tree nuts, which will include peanuts.


I didn't think peanuts were included in the tree nut category, since they don't grow on trees, and they aren't a true nut (they are a type of legume).

Tree Nut Allergy
Tree nut allergy is one of the most common food allergies in children and adults. Like peanuts, tree nuts (almonds, cashews, walnuts, etc.) tend to cause particularly severe reactions, even if a person is exposed to only a tiny amount.

In a registry of 5,149 people who had peanut or tree nut allergy, the median age of reaction to tree nuts was 36 months. Sixty-eight percent of the tree nut-allergic participants were not aware of any previous exposure to tree nuts before their first reaction. This allergy tends to be life-long; recent studies have shown that approximately 9% of tree nut-allergic children eventually outgrow their allergy.

People seldom are allergic to just one type of tree nut, so allergists usually will tell patients to avoid all tree nuts.


Peanut Allergy
Peanut allergy is one of the most common food allergies. Unfortunately, it also is one of the most dangerous, since peanuts tend to cause particularly severe reactions (anaphylaxis). Some people are very sensitive and have reactions from eating trace amounts of peanut. Non-ingestion contact (touching peanuts or inhaling airborne peanut allergens, such as dust from the shells) is less likely to trigger a severe reaction.

Peanut allergies seem to be on the rise in children. In the United States, the number of children with peanut allergy doubled between 1997 and 2002. Subsequent studies in the United Kingdom and Canada also showed a high prevalence of peanut allergy in schoolchildren. Unlike egg and cow’s milk allergies, which most children outgrow, peanut allergies tend to be life-long. Recent studies, however, indicate that approximately 20% of peanut-allergic children do eventually outgrow their allergy.

The peanut (Arachis hypogaea) is not really a nut, but a kind of legume. It is related to other beans, such as peas, lentils, and soybeans. People with peanut allergy are not necessarily allergic to other legumes (even soy, another of the “big eight” food allergens), so be sure to speak with your doctor before assuming that you have to avoid these protein-rich foods. A person with a peanut allergy may also be allergic to tree nuts (almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, cashews, etc.). In fact, some 30-40% of people who have peanut allergy also are allergic to tree nuts. Not surprisingly, allergists usually tell their peanut-allergic patients to avoid tree nuts.

Researchers have isolated three major peanut allergens. They are trying to learn why peanuts cause such severe reactions and why the number of people who suffer from peanut allergy is increasing. Investigators also are trying to develop therapies that would prevent anaphylaxis in people with peanut allergies.
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Re: Peanut Butter Allergies

Postby Schmeelkie » Thu Mar 26, 2009 11:13 am

My nephew is allergic to PB - so bad that his mom asked us not to ingest PB on a day that we will see him. Bella is in a 'peanut-free room' at daycare - doesn't bother her as she doesn't seem to like PB. Pumpkin made it through daycare without that - good thing as he generally eats PB in sandwich or on toast 5-6 days a week. Think they have a peanut-free area or table at his elementary school. Interestingly he's officially allergic, though it presents more like an intolerance, to milk, but tolerates yogurt and lactaid products well. His elementary school cafeteria offers lactaid milk - which I think is cool - he can buy lunch and I don't have to pack milk for him. Husband is allergic to tree nuts, not peanuts. Also, recently has developed an allergy to raspberries - most other berries seem to be OK, but he's wary... I'm just allergic to tree pollen and so far, nothing has come up for Bella - I'm keeping my fingers crossed!

Various theories out there about why kids are developing more allergies these days. Nephew also had skin issues when he was little and has asthma. For sure, you have less of chance of getting these things if breastfed. Heard of increase in environmental allergens/pollution, greater ingestion of manufactured food.... it'll take a while to figure it out.
"Up plus down equals flat" Pumpkin, 3 yrs, 10 mo, July '07
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Re: Peanut Butter Allergies

Postby Giant Communist Robot » Thu Mar 26, 2009 12:27 pm

I didn't think peanuts were included in the tree nut category, since they don't grow on trees, and they aren't a true nut (they are a type of legume).


Of course peanuts are not botanically nuts, but the USDA's conventional use criteria mashes them together with nuts.

From Wikipedia:

peanut allergy is the most common cause of food-related death. However, deaths from food allergies are relatively rare, with an estimated one death per 830,000 children with food allergy each year, leading at least one authority to conclude that the danger has been greatly exaggerated via media sensationalism.Prevalence among adults and children is similar — around 1% — but at least one study shows it to be on the rise in children in the United States. The number of young children affected doubled between 1997 and 2002. 25% of children with a peanut allergy outgrow it. About 100 people per year die from peanut allergies.





How serious a problem is this?

Of course, if its someone you know, its serious on an individual basis. There's the key: you must take responsibility to ensure a peanut free environment and so on. Its reasonable and certainly no one could object. My complaint was about a statewide ban and a lack of peanut-allergic students at my daugher's school. Does this make sense to anyone?
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Re: Peanut Butter Allergies

Postby Shapley » Thu Mar 26, 2009 12:43 pm

I agree that a statewide ban is absurd.
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Re: Peanut Butter Allergies

Postby jamiebk » Thu Mar 26, 2009 12:47 pm

Giant Communist Robot wrote:My complaint was about a statewide ban and a lack of peanut-allergic students at my daugher's school. Does this make sense to anyone?


This is ....well.....nuts.
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Re: Peanut Butter Allergies

Postby Schmeelkie » Thu Mar 26, 2009 2:49 pm

My experience in NY shows a classroom/school based policy. this obviously makes more sense. Just a note - easily by the time he was 4, Pumpkin was good at idenifying foods with cheese, or asking first before eating something. So I figure most school-aged kids with allergies will know better, but some, like my nephew have it so bad that peanut fumes in the air can set him off. His folks still have problems with other family members not taking this seriously. They try to give him mass-produced cookies, which, almost invariably say - may contain nuts or peanuts, or were produced in the presence of peanut/nuts. I think someone could make good money with a bakery that was peanut and treenut-free! Could sell online! Maybe if my grant support peters out, I'll do it..... :lol:
"Up plus down equals flat" Pumpkin, 3 yrs, 10 mo, July '07
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Re: Peanut Butter Allergies

Postby piqaboo » Fri Mar 27, 2009 11:45 am

Tree nuts and peanuts often processed (packaged) in same plants, on same equipment, hence cross contamination.

Peanut allergies not hugely prevalent but the allergic response seems on the order of bee sting (analphylactic shock) rather than milk allergies which seem to have milder expression.

Nevertheless, they shoulda let your kid eat her sandwich, away from any children IDd as allergic.
Then if she washed her hands, no problems.


Yes, kids out grow the allergy.
There was a child in my school with it (well before 1995) and my father's dear friend was allergic to peanuts (wayyyyyyyyyyyy before 1995).
But there's been a surge in publicity.

Interestingly, in the way that science does, the understanding has changed. A mere 5 years ago, pregnant moms who had family tendencies to allergy were to avoid peanut products while pregnant and nursing, and not to give them to their kids til said kids were two.
About a year after Altoid was born, they revisited rates of allergy and decided the above practices increased the incidence of peanut sensitivity/allergy instead of decreasing it.
Altoid - curiously strong.
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