PEANUT ALLERGIES – CAUSES AND SOLUTIONS 7
PeanutAllergies – Causes and Solutions
Apeanut allergy refers to a reaction that occurs in the human immunesystem when it identifies peanuts as a poisonous substance. When aperson eats food substances that contain peanuts, the body`s immunesystem that defends the body from infections overreacts leading to asevere life threatening response (Sicherer & Malloy 2010). Thenumber of people suffering from peanut allergy has increaseddrastically over years. It is easier to hear people on the streetssaying that when they were growing up, there were no such cases ascompared to nowadays where most of the kids are allergic to peanuts.A historian Heather Fraser researched on the issue of peanut allergyEpidemic and discovered that the outbreak began after World War 11.The epidemic has been growing rapidly, and it exploded around 1990affecting mainly the children (Fraser, 2011). It spread in the sightof newspapers and other documents that recorded how it was spread.The social, economic, political and medical factor has contributed tothe dissemination of this condition. The aims of this paper it toaddress the causes of and solutions for peanut allergies. It explainsthe factors that instigate the allergy and will change every parent’sway of thinking.
Peanutscause reactions that are sometimes severe. These reactions commonlyknown as anaphylaxis occur when the immune system releases somechemical substances into the blood. When someone comes into contactwith something, he is allergic to, the body releases histamine thatforces the blood vessels to leak a fluid leading to swelling(Sicherer & Malloy 2010). As a result, different symptoms areexperienced. The reactions affect the body tissues such as nose,skin, lungs and blood vessels among others. Researchers have notgiven enough proof as to why some people are allergic to peanuts. Thesymptoms are seen within a few minutes after coming into contact.Some people react with one nut while others are after consuming inlarge numbers. This shows that one does not have to eat them in orderto respond. Research shows that a tiny piece of peanut on the tongueor even standing next to someone eating is sufficient to get anallergy (Fraser, 2011).
Researchshows that someone who comes across peanuts for the first time doesnot get any symptoms of a reaction. The allergy begins after cominginto contact for the second time. Further, studies argue thatchildren appear to have an allergy when exposed to peanuts for thefirst time. The assumption is not realistic. Studies show that thiswould be their second time because they have been exposed to itthrough their mothers (Rolfes et al., 2012). There are two scenariosthat they may have been exposed to these peanuts. The first scenariowas when they were in the womb. The other instance is through theirmother`s breast milk. They argue that the mother could have eatenthese peanuts, and the child experienced their effect from either ofthem.
Ahistorian Robyn O Brien says that no one knows the real causes ofthese peanuts allergy but he questions whether it is people who areallergic to food or something has been added to it. In her book “TheHidden Truth about Peanuts” she explains the farming practicesbehind the growing of peanuts. She argues that peanuts are cultivatedon the ground and mostly are alternated with cotton that requires alot of herbicides. They destroy the microorganisms in the soil, andafter alternation, the same diseases attacks peanuts leading to theuse of more chemicals (Sicherer & Malloy 2010). According to areport by the USDA, they discovered over five pesticides in peanutbutter. They were analyzed, and results showed that they had a 25percent of infectious substances.
Theother cause of peanut allergy is the issue of aflatoxin. It refers toa harmful substance that is released and grows on peanuts. Scientistsfrom the University of Cornell found a relationship between peanutand cancer. They argued that this correlation varies depending on thekind of butter brand. She firmly believes that eating food that hasbeen grown with the aid of chemicals have serious complications inthe human body (Rolfes et al., 2012). The effects are felt becausemost of the farmers have shifted from small scale to large scalefarming. Some argue that it is too late while others demonstrate forthe introduction of quality peanuts that are free from chemicals. Itwill help reduce the condition to the coming generation.
Inthe United States, the Consumer Protection Act requires that all themanufacturers of peanuts must clearly label the packaged foodcontaining peanuts. They are mandated to give details of theingredients used and whether the food contains peanut or not (Fraser,2011). It is because they consider peanut as one of the allergiesthat have severe side effects. There are different solutions offeredto address the causes and solutions of peanuts allergies. Majority ofthe medical specialists urge that people with peanut allergies mustbe observant on whatever they eat. Majority of the products thatcontain peanuts include cookies, pies, cereals and cakes amongothers. They urge people who eat outside to enquire about theingredients because some products are likely to contain peanut butterthat would lead to the condition (Rolfes et al., 2012). Further, theyinsist that most of the Mexican dishes contain peanuts and hence theneed to be extra careful.
Theother emphasis made is that food products may lack peanuts but couldbe interfered with during manufacturing. There are factories thatproduce both peanuts free and peanut products. There could becontamination of the non-peanut products leading to an allergy.People are advised to check the precautionary messages on theproducts purchased to avoid such occurrences (Fraser, 2011). Some ofthe factories voluntarily use these warnings for the welfare ofcustomers. Examples of these precaution statements include “maycontain substances of peanut” or “manufactured in factories thatuse peanuts substances”. When one is cooking own meal, it is easierto identify these peanuts and to remove them by changing the recipes.People with peanut allergies are urged to use other nuts that do notcontain peanut elements. From a medical perspective, people withpeanut allergies should use food made with oil that has been refinedand purified to remove the protein (Rolfes et al., 2012). It isproven that one can get symptoms when they smell peanuts. It is alsospread through airborne when one inhales peanut particles duringpulverization.
Astudy conducted in Australia showed that more than 5% of the schoolchildren suffer from peanut allergy. The numbers tend to increaseevery year with United States showing the mostly affected. It hasforced majority of the schools in the US to declare nut free mealsfor students (Fraser, 2011). They make sure that there is no peanutsubstance in the meals they offer. It is because medicalprofessionals have declared peanut allergy as a severe condition thatcan cause death. It is advisable to avoid these peanut substances inorder to be on the safe side.
Accordingto medical research, there is no single way to treat peanut allergy.One of the best techniques that give a positive response isdesensitization. It involves giving people with allergies anincreased dose of peanut substances over a prolonged period (Sicherer& Malloy 2010). The process has been a success for most childrensuffering from this condition. Like any other allergy, peanutrequires one to avoid food that leads to the problem. By so doing,the minor symptoms are avoided, and one also learns how to respond incase affected. No matter how one avoids the peanuts, the chances ofcoming into contact with peanuts are very high. In the event of aminor allergic reaction, a person is advised to take antihistaminesthat reduce the itching, though they do not treat (Fraser, 2011). Fora severe allergic reaction, consult a medical practitioner for anemergency injection of epinephrine.
Fraser,H. (2011). ThePeanut Allergy Epidemic: What`s Causing It and How to Stop It.New York: Sky horse Publishing, Inc.
Rolfes,S. R., Pinna, K., & Whitney, E. N. (2012). Understandingnormal and clinical nutrition. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.
Sicherer,S. H., & Malloy, T. (2010). Thecomplete peanut allergy handbook: Everything you need to know toprotect yourself and your child from the most deadly food allergy.New York: Berkley Books.