Kids with peanut allergies

According to this article in today’s Houston Chronicle, several schools and school districts are banning peanut products from their campuses because some kids have peanut allergies.

I can understand both sides. Parents of kids with allergies are concerned about the health and safety of their kids. Parents without kids are annoyed at the inconvenience of having a whole class of food taken away from them.

So, who’s ultimately the “winner” here?


Are peanuts so important? I don’t think there is any nutritional benefit to peanuts that couldn’t come from another source.

I had a friend in grammar school who was allergic to peanuts. His mom packed him a lunch. The thinking was that – since his mom was the one preparing and packing the food – she would be able to ensure that he didn’t get any peanuts with his lunch. And the rest of us were free to eat peanuts and peanut-related products with unfettered license.

That seemed to be a pretty effective solution. The kid is now a happy, healthy, 30 year old survivor of peanut allergies. And sometimes, I had peanuts at lunchtime. Those were the days…

Is it now insensitive to suggest that parents who love their peanut-allergic kids might want to go ahead and have the little nippers brown bag their way, K-12?

Clearly, I need to read the article again, because this sounds as dumb as tits on a bull.

Some people are so allergic to peanuts that a kid eating a peanutbutter sandwich at another table could potentially cause problems. Somebody that I know has a peanut allergy and was affected by a person eating peanutbutter M&M’s two rows behind her in a lecture.

Of course, some kids are allergic to wheat, and others allergic to milk. Maybe all food should be banned at schools.

Also, is the percentage of the population with this allergy growing?

Yes, if your child is allergic to peanuts, the allergy could kill him – so don’t ever let your children read Charlie Brown comics unattended!

Well then. In the interest of safeguarding those with airborne peanut related sensitivity, my revised view of this thing is that Houston’s schools have acted with the wisdom of Solomon His Own Bad Self. I take back everything I said.

This sucks. So does the example of a kid having a reaction from smelling a PB sandwich. I don’t think banning peanuts is the answer though. The article doesn’t give distric-wide numbers, but mentions 4 kids that have the allergy at an Elementary school. Four kids out of an entire urban Elementary? Overkill. Way overkill.

The linked article says that asthma is a predictor, so yes, it could be as asthma rates rise, if they are tied together in any way.

Erm, this sounds kind of dumb. Of course they are tied together, I’m just not sure whether there is a rise in peanut allergies that matches the rise in asthma cases.

We’re in the middle of a full-fledged political campaign. E.g. the cited article says

This statistic gives us no idea of how many people are so alergic to peanuts that they could go into shock from sitting near my PB&J sandwich. I’ve seen other articles and reports on this topic. One started with an anecdote about a mother whose trips to the supermarket put her allergic child at mortal risk of being exposed to a stray peanut. This report ignored the obvious question of why the mother takes this child to the supermarket at all.

However, one achievement of the anti-peanut campaign is better food labeling. In my opinion, that’s in everyone’s interest.

Once again, the minority is setting the rules for the majority. I’m sorry, but, if a person is so different from the majority that they simply cannot fit in, then it is that individual that must make changes, not the majority.
Now the weak of society are telling us what we can/can’t eat for lunch? What’s next? Please, I just want to know: What’s next?

If I had a kid with severe airborne peanut allergy, you betcha I would be asking the school to keep my kid safe. If my choice was between my kid risking anaphylactic shock and death so someone else’s kid can eat peanuts, I don’t see that the right of that kid to eat peanuts is a higher good than keeping my kid alive.

I’ve got two kids with pretty severe food intolerances. It doesn’t inconvenience anyone but me though because at school events I make sure there is food they can eat. I’d never dream of trying to insist that other kids be limited in their food choices because of my kids’s issues. But if those food choices were a risk to my child’s life, then yeah that takes priority. And let’s face it - it’s easier to plan to shop without your kid than to plan for them not to attend school.

weak of society?


Wanna come over and shoot my kids now? They’re allergic to more things than peanuts. Peanut allergy is an allergy which doesn’t affect intelligence, cognitive processing or physical development. but by all means let’s dispense with the weak of society - peanuts being the all important food that they are. I guess American civilisation would collapse if some kids had to do without their favourite lunches at school. It is far better to kill their weaker classmates than to make a different food choice I guess.

Primaflora, you are in Australia, right? I don’t believe that PB is nearly the staple there that it is here. Here it is the number one cheap lunch food for kids, which is why this seems so radical.

The New York Times Magazine ran an article about kids with severe food alergys a couple of months ago, and I admit I was suprised how potentially dangerous these allergies could be. However, as they still effect a relitivly small number of kids, it seems more sensible to have these kids take lunch in the library or a classroom. Does that suck for them? Sure. But if a kid has a strong bee-sting allergy we don’t make the entire PE class stay inside the whole year, we just find alternate activities for him.

Where did I say anthing about killing kids, or the weak?
ANSWER ME!:mad: Where did I say that?

What I did say is that people with these kinds of weaknesses need to make changes for themselves, and not force the stronger elements to change, especially when the stronger elements are, in number, the majority.

Alergic to peanuts? Pack a lunch that doesn’t include them!
Alergic to the smell of peanuts? Sit somewhere else in the cafeteria!
Sitting somewhere else doesn’t work? Try home schooling!

I’m tired of itty bitty groups of people being able to control the large mass of us.My wife grows lots of beautiful flowers at our house. The flowers attract bees. My neighbor is deathly alergic to bee stings. Should we and the rest of the neighborhood tear out our flower beds to accommodate this one persons weakness? It’s the same principle as dictating what kids can eat for lunch. No, giving up peanuts isn’t that big of deal. Giving up our freedom is. I too, happen to have a food alergy. An alergy that could kill me by making my throat close up. I improvise my life around this weakness, I don’t make others change their lives because of it.
I make such a damn big deal over things like this because it’s this very same type of scenario that is happenening over and over again in our country: The “lesser” making the rules for the “greater”. It’s wrong.

My fourth-grade son has a boy in his class with a severe peanut allergy. Nobody is allowed to bring any sort of peanut product into his classroom (even if it stays wrapped up), and he does eat his lunch in a separate room from the rest of the kids, since the other classes do not have this same restriction. Everybody in his class takes turns eating lunch with him so he won’t feel lonely.

We know his parents and everyday they send him off to school deathly afraid that some knucklehead will ignore the rules and send one of his classmates to school with something that will send their child off on yet another emergency room crisis. So, our boy doesn’t get PB&J…oh, well…

We wouldn’t dream of making an issue of it. Really, how much of a sacrifice is this? That’s what it boils down to for me, and there’s no need to discuss Constitutional issues, or slippery slopes, or the continued erosion of majority rights…it’s just a little kid who needs just a little bit of help…

Of course, maybe the difference here is that this is something of a middle ground. It was not a district-wide restriction, mandated by law. It was a reasonable approach addressing a specific situation that incovenienced some, but not all, of the students…

pk bites

I reacted to kids with allergies being referred to as the weak of society.

Manda Jo

I suspect the reason that schools are banning what is simply a sandwich spread :wink: after all is that while on the surface it seems reasonable to simply have the allergic kids eat simply, you still need to make sure that the other kids are not eating peanuts around the allergic kids. In Australia, kids have their lunch boxes outside the classroom but still have access to the food. With an airborne allegy it does seem harder to regulate case by case than it does with a blanket prohibition of a food stuff.

I wouldn’t see this as fair and reasonable if it were not life threatening and air borne. I just don’t see how a kid can be kept safe if other kids are allowed to bring peanuts without the knowledge of the teacher.

And I’m sorry but I just can’t deal with the concept that the right to eat a sandwich spread/peanuts is more important than another child’s right to life and an education.

How is a sandwich spread “airborne”? I can understand actual peanuts, especially in the shell, with those papery skins around the actual nuts. Anyone who has been to a baseball game or a “throw the shells on the floor” restaurant knows what a freakin mess peanuts can make. Definitely peanut dust in the air. But peanut butter, on some other kid’s sandwich? It’s creamy, like, well, butter. Are little microscopic “peanut particles” somehow breaking free from the spread and floating around the lunchroom? Anyone have a cite for someone actually dying from a “whiff of a Jif-and-jelly sandwich” as mentioned in the article?


I was about to ask the same thing. I have heard of peanut butter being banned ,but it was never because of a person being allergic to the smell. The cases always involved young children, and the reasons given were to avoid swapping and because a child who ate peanut butter might get peanut butter on something later touched by an allergic child. Has anyone heard of such a ban at the high school level or above,or of people going into shock because someone in the park is eating peanuts? If not, I suspect it has less to do with the allergy being airborne than it does with the difficulties of monitoring young children. Even if it is airborne, at what point do we stop trying to contol the enviornment? My sister, for example, is allergic to peanuts,chocolate,wheat,and just about any animal,among other things.I suppose if a peanut butter allergy can be airborne ,so can the others.If there was a fear of anaphylactic shock, should her schoolmates have been prohibited from bringing bread,peanut butter and chocolate for lunch, and from having pets, or is that past the point where home schooling or home tutoring would be appropriate? I think there are cases where a ban or partial ban would be appropriate ( 20 of 25 kids in a class allergic,ban on peanut-containing birthday treats,not using peanut products in lunches served by the school) and others where it clearly is overkill (banning peanuts in the entire NYC school system because 100 students might be affected)

I’m willing to bet that the alleged “allergies” to peanut smell are entirely psychosomatic. You’ve eaten peanuts and had an allergic reaction to them before, and you remember what peanuts smelled like when you ate them – the human sense of smell causes VERY strong cognitive associations – so now the smell of the peanuts alone can make you THINK you’re getting exposed to dangerous levels of allergens.

Psychosomatic symptoms can and do include real, physical symptoms that often resemble allergies. Your eyes can get red, you can get shortness of breath, if you’re asthmatic you might have an attack, you skin can redden, etc… It is possible to faint from a psychosomatic reaction. In extreme cases, specific areas of the body can “think” they are under attack to such an extent that they can even develop bleeding sores.

So-called multiple chemical sensitivity is also, quite likely, a psychosomatic reaction.

(Note: This should not be taken to mean that I believe all, or even most, cases of actual peanut allergies are psychosomatic. It is only cases of peanut smell allergies that I think are psychosomatic.)