Airplanes are a special case for peanut allergies because they use a recirculated air system that keeps pumping the same air around over and over, spreading allergens over the enitre area of the plane while not giving them any way to escape.
Grocery stores are larger, contain the peanuts in unopened packages, and have continual air replenishment. Therefore there is less chance of encountering anything you might have a reaction to.
I know someone with such allergies problems who makes extensive use of on-line grocery delivery services and has her husband unpack the stuff when it arrives, just in case a mistake has been made.
While my allergies are not so bad as that, they are a collassal inconvenience. Accurate labeling on food is a MUST. I don’t want to deprieve anyone of enjoying their favorite foods, I just want the information to be complete so I can stay healthy.
I have heard of people were allergies so sensative they they reacted to a Snickers bar still in the wrapper. However, I think there would be a reasonable expectation for someone who had an allergy like that to know that peanut products would be in a grocery store.
What I don’t understand about this whole peanut-allergy thing is, has it actually become more common in the past few decades? Or is it just being reported more because of larger populations and better communications?
I’d hate to have to declare my apartemnt off-limits to a friend because I’ve had peanut-butter on the cutlery.
I wonder, as the warning becomes more common, does it become devalued? When every store covers its ass with a warning that some products MAY contain traces of nuts, does it get harder to spot the products that DO contain traces of nuts?
It’s my understanding, though, that wheat allergies are both more common and typically more severe than peanut allergies, but that many people who think they’re allergic to peanuts aren’t. With as much publicity as peanut allergies get, a person who eats a peanut butter sandwhich and subsequently gets sick is likely to blame the peanuts, regardless of whether they had anything to do with it.
First of all, there is overreactive/overprotective parents. They find out the kid is allergic to something (like peanuts) and want to declare a 1/2 mile wide “No Allergen Zone” around the kid. This is not practical an seldom truly necessary. MOST people with food allergies are not as sensitive as all that (just a very few) and can co-exist in the same room as the Offending Substance without dropping dead - as long as they don’t eat.
In fact, even if they DO eat an Offending Substance, many folks with food allergies will not drop dead. They may acquire an itchy rash. They may have uncontrollable vomiting or diarrhea. Clearly, none of the above is something we want to have happen in public, even if it’s not fatal.
The best tactic is to ASK. “Do you have a food allergy?” “Oh, you’re allergic to X? What precautions should I take?” If you’re cooking something, save the wrappers from the ingrediants so an allergic person can read them. THEY usually know what is and isn’t a problem.
But. yes, allergies ARE becoming more of a problem. In part because more people are allergic. In part because reactions that might have been fatal in the past people are more likely to survive, thus remaining in the pool of allergic people. But also because mass production food methods can spread certain food stuffs throughout the entire diet. The ubiquitiousness of wheat, dairy, corn products, and certain others is an artificial situation unique to the 20th Century and later. This makes it harder for the allergic to avoid certain substances, which only adds to the problem
Well, at least in practical terms he/she had better be prepared.
My mom is a classic peanut allergic. She swells at the touch of them:
“Oh Bob, you kissed me with peanut butter lips!”
“I ate it half an hour ago!”
Actually ingesting some peanuts runs a good chance of closing her trachea.
About two years ago she got ahold of a cookie with peanut oil, and her cousin took her to his pediatric clinic (he’s the doctor there), and he was worried. If it got worse, he was going to take her to the real hospital.
She is a Nurse Practicioner, and was an RN for decades so for her to carry a hypodermic with antihistamines wasn’t that big a deal, but I suggest it for anyone else that allergic. We always had to use the jelly before the peanut butter, wash the knife by hand, and then put it in the dish washer. She would stay about ten feet away.
I make sure I have an EpiPen in reach, or at least readily available at all times, have needed it twice, once from hazelnuts and once from an unknown trigger. Suddenly being unable to breathe is not a lot of fun! Peanuts usually give me some warning, like swelling of lips or tongue or an asthmatic reaction to airborne aerosol. The problem is that so many foods use a variety of ingredients, so you get lulled into a false sense of security after trying a product only to have a reaction later.
We have peanut butter in the house because my wife and 2 of our kids like it, our oldest is also allergic. It is actually a simple matter to avoid it, as mentioned above regarding utensils we have a you use it, you wash it rule. As long as the container is closed there is no problem. Peanuts in the car are a big problem, confined space and closed environment.