Peanut allergy has become a major health concern in America, Canada and other European countries.
It is one of the most common types of food allergies especially in children.
People with peanut allergy may have serious and potentially lethal allergic reaction or anaphylaxis.
Peanut allergies are usually life-long with only 20 percent of people with the problem outgrowing it (Young, n.d).
Thesis:This essay looks at what entail peanut allergy, its causes and thepossible solution for this pandemic.
Causes of Peanut Allergy
Peanut allergy is a common type of food allergy that is triggered by traces of peanuts in food or when a person comes into contact with peanut, especially in the eyes, nose or mouth.
In some individuals, even mild amounts of peanut can result to serious reaction known as anaphylaxis (Nicolaou et al., 2010).
Peanuts are major causes of severe allergy attacks across the world.
One can be exposed to peanuts through eating, inhalation or cross contact, where food becomes contaminated with peanut unintentionally (Nicolaou et al., 2010).
The risk for having peanut allergy increases with certain factors.
Children are at high risk of developing food allergies than mature people,
A person with other food allergies say hay fever is at high risk of having peanut allergy or allergy to other foods.
Family history of food allergies increases risk of a person having peanut allergy.
In individuals with serious skin conditions like eczema, the risk for peanut allergy or other food allergies is high (Sicherer et al., 2010).
Avoiding peanuts to avoid allergies is the first step to preventing from peanut allergy.
In addition, one must be able to manage or relieve mild symptoms and how to identify and deal with serious reactions.
Studies have shown possibility of treating peanut allergy through desensitization (Nicolaou et al., 2010).
Peanut Allergy in School
About 6-8 percent of school going children are allergic to peanuts.
With children being at an increased risk of peanut allergy, it becomes very difficult to protect children from having peanut allergy reactions.
A variety of foods contain peanut and other related ingredients that can cause peanut allergies and should thus be avoided (Nicolaou et al., 2010).
Parents of children with peanut allergy should read labels carefully of the foods they buy to ensure that their children are safe.
Knowledge of these foods can greatly help in preventing serious peanut allergic attacks.
What Schools Can Do
Since schools do not have the right to ban peanuts in school as some food ingredients may contain cross contact with peanuts, a policy should be put in place to help the school in dealing with peanut allergic reaction.
Schools can adopt simple guidelines as provided by a Food Anaphylaxis Task Force (Young, n.d).
The guideline provides that,
a).The school must identify students with food allergies,
b).Have a written action plan for cases of emergency in managinganaphylactic reactions and
c).having a documented personal healthcare plan in place for preventingand management for a child in all school situations including inclass, cafeteria, in the field or in a school bus (Young,n.d).
The school nurse is bestowed with the responsibility of administering this action plan in an emergency (Young, n.d).
Peanut allergy is a major food allergy problem among children in the United States.
It is caused when a person allergic to peanut comes into contact with peanut.
It is not treatable although desensitization process can help in treating the problem.
Schools may adopt a policy to enable deal with allergy attacks as established by the Food Anaphylaxis Task Force in Massachusetts,
Most importantly, parents should understand their children with peanut allergy and teach them how to be safe at all times.
Nicolaou,N., Poorafshar, M., Murray, C., Simpson, A., Winell, H., Kerry, G.,… & Custovic, A. (2010). Allergy or tolerance in childrensensitized to peanut: prevalence and differentiation usingcomponent-resolved diagnostics. Journalof Allergy and Clinical Immunology,125(1),191-197.
Sicherer,S. H., Muñoz-Furlong, A., Godbold, J. H., & Sampson, H. A.(2010). US prevalence of self-reported peanut, tree nut, and sesameallergy: 11-year follow-up. Journalof Allergy and Clinical Immunology,125(6),1322-1326.
Young,M.C. (n.d). SchoolPeanut Allergy Safety.Retrieved http://www.parents.com/toddlers-preschoolers/health/allergies/school-peanut-allergy-safety/(Accessed December 8, 2014)