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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2007 9:40 am 
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Opinion Columnist Julie Ryan wrote this article for The London Free Press (I think it originally appeared in September of 2006). Full article: http://lfpress.ca/newsstand/News/Column ... 61546.html

Quote:
Life-threatening peanut allergies are serious, yet very rare. Only 1.5 per cent of children have a nut allergy, and only one quarter of these allergies is severe -- that's just one in every 267 kids.


Quote:
It seems that either the parents or the schools are exaggerating the risk.


Quote:
There is no question that we should protect children with life-threatening allergies, but banning nuts for low-risk allergies doesn't make sense.


Quote:
Banning them (peanuts) from the classroom ought to be as rare as the actual incidence of the serious allergy.


Peanut - nut - ban issue aside -- this perpetuation of misinformation gets me sooooo hot under the collar!! She might have changed her "opinion" if she had actually educated herself about peanut / nut allergy. I would really like to know where she "researched" this one...


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2007 10:27 am 
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Location: Cobourg, ON
I agree misinformation is very frustrating and in this case it just could add unnecessary fuel to a fire. I responded to the article. Basically I said that the information about the severity of peanut allergy was inaccurate and that further research into this issue was needed so that myths were not perpetuated.

_________________
11 year old daughter -- lives with life-threatening allergies to milk, eggs and peanuts; seasonal allergies (birch, maple, ragweed); pet allergies; asthma; and eczema
9 year old son - no allergies


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2007 1:18 pm 
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Location: Toronto
If you are telling her that her numbers are inaccurate then you need to produce the accurate numbers and advise where and when they came from.

_________________
self: allergy to sesame seeds and peanuts
3 sons each with at least one of the following allergies: peniciilin, sulfa-based antibiotic, latex, insect bites/stings


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2007 2:29 pm 
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I replied to the article too:
Quote:
Julie Ryan's column, "Low nut allergy risk exacts high penalty", perpetuates misinformation about life threatening peanut allergy. She states that children living with peanut allergy can be divided into two categories -- those who have "mild" peanut allergy and those with "severe" peanut allergy. This is completely inaccurate and I would love to know where she obtained this misinformation. The truth of the matter is that much about peanut allergy is still unclear - the causes are unclear, why it is on the rise in children is unclear, etc. What is clear is this: minute amounts of peanut protein are enough to cause a reaction in children (a pamphlet produced by the AAIA states that 1/7,000 to 1/70,000 of ONE PEANUT is enough to cause a reaction in some children), that allergic reactions vary from child to child as well as from reaction to reaction -- meaning: a mild reaction today, does not mean a mild reaction tomorrow. As reactions vary, there is no way to predict how a child will react from episode to episode. Given that, a child's guardians must treat any potential exposure to peanut as life threatening. That is why a life saving dose of epinephrine should be available to the child at all times -- it is the only medicine that can reverse a life threatening reaction. The only treatment for peanut allergy at this time is complete avoidance of the allergen. There is no cure. If we understand that allergic reactions are unpredictable and that test results cannot determine the severity of an allergy or even the severity of a reaction - then I think that it's irresponsible for Ms. Ryan to classify peanut allergy as mild or severe. I am also tired of having to defend myself and my actions to people like Ms. Ryan who feel that parents of food allergic children are "over reacting" or "over stating" the seriousness of their child's medical condition -- does she really think that losing her child's right to a peanut butter sandwich is a higher penalty than my child losing his life?


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2007 7:50 pm 
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I did not have to produce numbers for her. She stated that only a percentage of peanut allergies are severe. As we all know, this is not accurate. There is no way to measure the severity of peanut allergy. Everyone diagnosed with a peanut allergy is at risk of anaphylaxis. I told her the source of my information, Dr. Gold at Sick Kids Hospital. A little research on anaphylaxis from any credible source would have told her the same information about the severity of peanut allergies.

_________________
11 year old daughter -- lives with life-threatening allergies to milk, eggs and peanuts; seasonal allergies (birch, maple, ragweed); pet allergies; asthma; and eczema
9 year old son - no allergies


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2007 10:23 pm 
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You can play with statistics and play up percentages or play down numbers but the bottom line is...it is possible to prevent deaths by preventing exposure. How many children need to die to make it an issue worthy of creating policies? Why is the right to eat peanuts in the school more critical than the safety of a child. We as adults need to protect all children, even when it's a major pain in the butt. Our children are our future. They are our most valuable resource.
Anyway...here are a couple of sources to back us up.

From the Mayo Clinic http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/peanut-allergy/DS00710

Quote:
Peanut allergy affects approximately 1.5 million people in the United States. As the most common cause of life-threatening allergic reactions (anaphylaxis), peanut allergies account for 80 percent of fatal or near-fatal allergic reactions each year. You can reduce your risk of having an allergic reaction to peanuts by knowing as much as you can about peanut allergy and how to avoid peanut-containing products.

If you have any reaction to peanuts, tell your doctor about it, no matter how mild the reaction may have been. Tests can help diagnose peanut allergy, so you can take steps to avoid future and potentially worse reactions.


and

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/peanut-allergy/AN01301

Quote:
A child at my daughter's school has peanut allergy, so the school has banned all peanut products to prevent inadvertently exposing this individual to these products. Is this really necessary?
- No name / No state given

Mayo Clinic asthma and allergy specialist James Li, M.D., and colleagues answer select questions from readers.

Answer
Most people who have peanut allergy develop allergic reactions only when they eat peanuts or peanut products. Rarely, a person can be so sensitive to peanuts that reactions occur even when exposed only to peanut particles in the air.

Keep in mind that kids share food. Also, peanut particles from foods eaten by other children can contaminate surfaces such as tables, plates and utensils. These surfaces could then be touched by a child with peanut allergy, triggering an allergic reaction. One way to reduce the risk of inadvertent exposure is to ban all peanuts and peanut products from the school.

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Daughter: asthma, allergies to egg, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, most legumes (not soy) & penicillin. Developing hayfever type allergies.
Husband: no allergies
Me: allergies to some tree that flowers in May
Cat: allergic to beef, pork and lamb


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2007 11:43 pm 
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Quote:
One way to reduce the risk of inadvertent exposure is to ban all peanuts and peanut products from the school.


I still think that this is an over reaction. Parents and kids have to be held responsible for themselves. And the percentages of people allergic to peanuts are not very high are they?

(I have to laugh at the airlines who banned peanuts. It's now ok for little pets to be brought onto the plane. I happen to be allergic to dander and will stay very sick on the entire flight if an animal is anywhere near me. How come they do one and not the other? I also have had systemic allergic reactions which send me to the ER)

_________________
Allergic to shellfish, penicillin, blackflies, fire ants, harsh chemicals in shampoos; hot foods; molds; did I say fire ants...hehe


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2007 6:42 am 
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I can understand how frustrating it must be to see one allergy banned when you are deeply affected by another. You state you will remain very sick on the entire flight but the peanut allergic is at risk of dying.
I think that it's important for us to realise that it would be impossible for businesses to avoid every potential allergen as everything has the potential to be an allergen to someone. What I would hope is that they focus on the most dangerous-those which are life threatening, most prevalent and most volatile.
Could you please tell us which airlines you believed were peanutfree? I know there are posters here who would love to know.

_________________
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Daughter: asthma, allergies to egg, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, most legumes (not soy) & penicillin. Developing hayfever type allergies.
Husband: no allergies
Me: allergies to some tree that flowers in May
Cat: allergic to beef, pork and lamb


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2007 12:00 pm 
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http://www.time.com/time/magazine/artic ... 43,00.html

And here's some alternatives:
Quote:
But some folks are so sensitive to peanuts that eating them can trigger anaphylactic shock, in which the airway closes off and blood pressure can drop precipitously. In these people, even the smell of peanuts can provoke asthma-like reactions. Allergists estimate that 125 people die each year from food allergies, usually to peanuts, compared with about 50 deaths from allergic reactions to beestings.

Fortunately, no one is yet talking about banning bees (full disclosure here: I am fond of both peanuts and honey), and that's precisely my point. There is just no way to render the world absolutely safe for every child everywhere. Even if schools do institute a ban on peanuts, how do they enforce it? By posting a peanut-sniffing dog at every entrance? And since most children don't outgrow peanut allergies, what happens after graduation? The best way to deal with peanut allergies isn't by outlawing the crunchy little legumes--which are an excellent source of protein--but by doing some homework and taking a few crucial precautions to lessen the risk of injury.

You may be surprised to learn that the Food Allergy Network, a seven-year-old advocacy group based in Fairfax, Va., agrees. "Peanut bans don't work," says Ann Munoz-Furlong, founder of the network. "They're counterproductive, and they create a false sense of security." She favors teaching kids what to do in case of an allergic reaction (children with the most severe reactions need to carry emergency adrenaline shots with them) and to beware of peanut products hidden in such foods as home-baked cookies and Chinese takeout. Most of the major candy-bar manufacturers already label even trace amounts of peanuts.

That doesn't mean that schools should do nothing to accommodate students with allergies. A handful of institutions have designated peanut-free tables in their cafeterias and trained teachers and others to give adrenaline shots in an emergency. In the meantime, doctors are working on a vaccine-like treatment that might dampen the immune system's overreaction. Until then, all the peanut-free zones in the world can't diminish the need to teach children with allergies to take care of themselves.


I've been on numerable airlines in the last few years and they do not even stock peanuts anymore.

_________________
Allergic to shellfish, penicillin, blackflies, fire ants, harsh chemicals in shampoos; hot foods; molds; did I say fire ants...hehe


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2007 2:49 pm 
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Re numbers and the food allergic.

Dr. Hugh Sampson's "Update on Food Allergy," published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology in May 2004, is the most widely referenced study when citing incidence. In the U.S., he and his colleagues found that peanut allergy had doubled between 1997 and 2002.

The study says:
Quote:
Food allergy is now recognized as a worldwide
problem in westernized nations, and like other atopic
disorders, it appears to be on the increase. Recent estimates
suggest that IgE-mediated food allergies affect 3.5% to 4%
of Americans.3 Food allergy remains a leading cause of
anaphylaxis treated in emergency departments in a number
of countries, and the public has become increasingly aware
of the problem.


Incidences cited for peanut, tree nut:

Quote:
Peanut [Young Children] 0.8% [Adults] 0.6%
Tree nuts [YC] 0.2% [Ad] 0.5%


All food allergies
Quote:
[YC] 6% [Ad] 3.7%


One thing that's not entirely clear - when they say "young children" in this study, they refer to 3 and under. Not sure the percentage in grade school - before they'd fall into the adult category.

Dr. Judah Denburg, the CEO and scientific director of AllerGen in Canada, told me that Can. studies lead researchers to believe that the incidence levels of food allergies are comparable, if just slightly less in Canada. So about 3-3.5 % of the pop.

By the way, Justine, it's usually the precise term "ban" that's objected to by FAAN and others - because of the false sense of security it may create. There aren't too many people involved in allergy who don't think some measure of "risk reduction" is appropriate around allergens that are easy to stick, smear, absorb (nut oils) in schools and other such settings. It's just good sense, especially with kids and their penchant for roughhousing and so on.

Also, fyi, if you fly Air Canada at all, it has "banned" - and yes, they use the term - pets in the cabin because of complaints from asthmatics.

_________________
Allergic to soy, peanut, shellfish, penicillin


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2007 3:09 pm 
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Bravo to Canadian citizens!

As I've gotten older my allergies have gotten worse to many things including pet dander. And paying what we pay to fly only to be seated next to people with their little pets.
:x

I can't help but wonder why peanut allergies are on the increase as is asthma. I'll have to do some research. Interests me because I think a lot of environmental things are causing the increase in asthma ...but peanuts....hmm. :?

_________________
Allergic to shellfish, penicillin, blackflies, fire ants, harsh chemicals in shampoos; hot foods; molds; did I say fire ants...hehe


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2007 6:44 pm 
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Justine:
Quote:
I can't help but wonder why peanut allergies are on the increase as is asthma. I'll have to do some research. Interests me because I think a lot of environmental things are causing the increase in asthma ...but peanuts....hmm.

Have you noticed? Allergies over active/immature immune system/ Cancerbody not attacking what it should/ AIDS immune system deficiency/ Multiple Sclerosis, Lupus, Arthritis body attacking itself...What is going on with our immune systems?
Just a little thing to ponder.

_________________
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Daughter: asthma, allergies to egg, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, most legumes (not soy) & penicillin. Developing hayfever type allergies.
Husband: no allergies
Me: allergies to some tree that flowers in May
Cat: allergic to beef, pork and lamb


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