Peanut Allergies - Have We Gone Too Far?

Filed under: Nutrition: Health, In The News

peanut butterA Massachusetts school bus driver recently evacuated a bus full of children to protect them from danger ... a stray peanut that had fallen on the floor. If that seems like overkill to you, you aren't alone.

Though peanut allergies have increased by 17% in the last 10-12 years, experts aren't sure whether the incidence of allergies are on the rise or if more people are getting tested and diagnosed. But either way, Americans seem to be developing a case of peanut fever.

It's fairly common these days to find nut-free classrooms, lunch rooms, or even entire schools, but over at Time, they're asking the question: Have Americans gone nuts over nuts? Consider the statistics -- of the 3.3 million suffering from peanut allergies in the United States, 150 die each year. And while that's 150 too many (especially if it's your child), one has to wonder if our fears are a little overblown.

When I was still teaching, I had a family who asked us to remove all nut products from the classroom due to their daughter's "severe" nut allergy. We complied, shopped for nut-free snacks, and sent home notes to all of the other parents. But when school started, that little girl had a nut-containing product in her lunch box at least three days a week.

If a child has a severe allergy, then they absolutely need to be protected at all costs. But have we made a villain of the common peanut unnecessarily? What do you think?

Do you think nut allergies are overblown?
No. Even a little risk is too much.106 (29.0%)
Yes. People need to take a deep breath and relax.192 (52.6%)
I don't know. My child doesn't have allergies so it's hard to relate.51 (14.0%)
Other -- share with us in comments.16 (4.4%)

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.