It’s a sad but true fact of life – unless we’ve been in any situation, we’re never likely to be able to understand it. That’s the way it is with nut allergies; people who don’t suffer from them or who are not close to anyone who’s allergic to nuts just don’t seem to understand what all the fuss is about. In their point of view, those who insist that schools be declared nut-free zones are just nuts about nut allergies. But then, if they knew the severity of the problem, they would change their minds.
As many as 15,000 children born every year go on to develop nut allergies – they don’t ask to be born this way, it’s just the luck of the draw and they get stuck with this socially debilitating illness (yes, it is a chronic illness like asthma or diabetes but which is more dangerous in that a tiny mistake could prove fatal). When kids with nut allergies eat even a tiny amount of nuts, they could end up with an immediate laryngospasm where the throat swells and they’re unable to breathe, or they could go into anaphylactic shock some time later. Both of these could cause death if not treated immediately.
If schools are not prepared and if emergency medical help arrives too late, a child could die simply because the school did not take his/her allergy seriously. The sad but hard-hitting truth is that nut allergies are life-threatening, and when parents of healthy children fail to understand this, it becomes an issue. A study conducted by the Johns Hopkins University which followed 13 children with life-threatening nut allergies found that six of them died because they had eaten food that contained nuts at school.
So you can see why it would be safer to make schools nut-free zones in order to save lives – after all, if you don’t have a nut allergy, you could eat peanuts and all other kinds of nuts at home or outside school, but if a child dies because he/she ate something made of nuts, his/her parent can never replace him. So in a nutshell, it’s imperative that we are nuts about nut allergies, because it’s a matter of life and death.
On the bright side however, a study conducted at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center has said that nine percent of children outgrow tree nut allergies as they grow. Also, doctors in Cambridge are trying to find a cure for peanut allergies by testing a group of children by giving them minute amounts of peanuts every day. A word of warning though – these tests are conducted under the watchful eye of trained doctors and researchers, so please don’t try them on your children at home.
This guest post is contributed by Maureen Denard, who writes on the topic of MSN Programs . She can be reached at denard12.maureen(AT)gmail(DOT)com.