Raising a Toddler

Why Are So Many Kids Allergic to Peanuts?

Did you ever hear of anyone being allergic to peanut butter when you were growing up? I never did! We ate pb&j’s all the time on white, nutrition-less Wonder Bread without thinking twice about an affect. I used to scoff at people who made such a big deal about serving nuts on planes and in schools. Seriously, it’s just a peanut! How deadly can it be?

Well….serves me right. I have a toddler with a peanut allergy. And it IS a big deal. I am now becoming one of those big deal makers! I want to sock people in the mouth who don’t take it seriously. People like Joel Stein, who writes for LA Times, (but shouldn’t because he’s a bad writer) and says that peanut allergies are an invention of yuppy parents.

I’d like to see Joel witness his tiny son get red, itchy bulges all over his face and watch his lips blow up like a balloon and  then see if he still has the nerve to tell me I’m making this up. It’s really quite heartbreaking. And so scary.

The number of kids with peanut allergies has doubled in the last five years. So why do so many kids have peanut allergies? Maybe it’s my fault for liking peanut butter so much. One theory suggests pregnant women who eat a lot of peanut butter are to blame. Another, called the Hygiene Hypothesis says that because our kids have fewer infections, their immune systems (I’m assuming out of boredome) are targeting other things like the enviroment and food.

That’s a really weird theory. But I can’t come up with anything better. My attempt was that maybe evolutionarily kids are protecting themselves from peanut butter but getting allergies to it. Maybe we’re supposed to rid our world of those foods for future health. There was that big  salmonella, peanut-recall lately. . . . hmmm, probably not a plausible theory. Do you have one?

PS:  NorthWest Airlines (my airline of choice) just re-introduced peanuts to its snack menu, despite protests. Following Delta’s lead, I’m sure, with whom they recently merged with. I couldn’t be more disapointed.

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3 thoughts on “Why Are So Many Kids Allergic to Peanuts?

  1. That Joel Stein article is lame. People aren’t keeping nuts out of school to prevent kids from developing allergies . People are trying to protect those who DO have allergies. And yes, that is a good enough reason.

  2. I have no opinion on why peanut allergies are on the rise, but I am amazed at how truly insidious those allergies are. I have a niece with a really bad peanut allergy. I knew she couldn’t eat anything that might even have been processed in a factory with peanuts, which made sense (dust, etc). But I and her parents were shocked recently when she seemed to be ill for several days. The doctor said it was fairly mild allergic reaction. It turns out she was reacting to a jar of peanut butter which her parents had recently bought, which was yet unsealed, sitting in a closet into which the niece had never entered! Bizarre.

  3. As I feel for anyone who has a child with peanut allergies, I am in awe that we are banning peanut butter and the likes in school. Many low income parents use peanut butter to feed their children as it does have good nutritional values and does not cost that much. I am tired of the majority in this country having to change everything they do to suit any small group of individuals. How about this? Educate your children, pack your kids lunch, and schools enact a strict “No food trading policy. ” If your child is over the age of 6 or 7 and you educate them to the dangers of them eating peanuts, they will be fine and my kids can continue to enjoy peanut butter. Take responsibility for your own children and lets stop punishing kids who dont happen to have this allergy. Todays parents really need to stop allowing the government to legislate the safety and well being of their children.

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