Peanut allergies ... just don't understand

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by donna723, Nov 27, 2010.

  1. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    Why are so many kids allergic to peanuts these days? I just don't get it!

    Turns out, my 19 month old grandson, Ethan, is very allergic to peanuts! We're going to South Carolina for Christmas and this means a big change in grandma's cookie baking routine! Most parents and the day care are very careful not to give young children anything with peanuts in it or anything cooked in peanut oil. Somehow he got ahold of something with peanuts in it and his whole little face started swelling up. She had to take him to the ER! Ethan loves french fries and he had eaten some fries from their favorite takeout place - they were not aware that they cooked them in peanut oil! Very few places still do that because so many little kids are allergic to them now. Allison (my daughter) is a nurse so Ethan's in good hands, but it's a very scary thing. Now they have to read every label on every item they buy in the grocery store and ask in every restaurant to make sure they don't use peanut oil. And do they really list ALL the ingredients on those labels?

    I just don't understand this! When I was a kid (back in the Dark Ages) there were NO kids who were allergic to peanuts. Our schools received huge shipments of government surplus peanut butter and our school lunches had peanut butter hidden in them somewhere almost every day. It was the same when my own kids, now both in their 30's, were in school - you never heard of a kid being allergic to peanuts so this has all come about fairly recently. Both of my kids had allergies but they were all environmental, no food allergies. So what has changed? Is it our current obsession with "clean" now where everything a child touches has been sanitized and sterilized and they have no resistance and react to everything?
  2. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    What I don't get is when so much research says that peanut (or other tree nut) allergies can be linked to the mother eating them during pregnancy, and how you shouldn't give it to kids under a certain age unless you KNOW they aren't allergic to it - WHY OH WHY does WIC give out peanut butter to pregnant moms and small kids every month?
  3. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    But pregnant women have been eating peanut butter ever since it was invented! I did and I'm sure our mother did too! My daughter might have too but she's not that crazy about it and wouldn't have eaten that much of it.
  4. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    It could well be that such did exist in such percentages in previous generations, but many did not survive it and died young, and it was not attributed to peanut allergies. Have to wonder how many crib deaths of weaning babes that ate it might have died from anaphylactic shock simply because it wasn't something that was checked for or really known.
  5. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Both my brothers were very allergic to peanuts - amongst other things - from birth. That's going on 60 years ago now. My sisters and I were not. I remember now how my brother T would get angry if we got peanut butter on the butter knife. It must have been miserable. Of course peanuts weren't in everything 60 years ago, as they are now.
  6. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    I wonder about this myself, Donna. I don't remember kids having allergies to foods when I was in school, if they did, it certainly wasn't announced the way it is now. When I sub, I see classrooms that have signs declaring they are "peanut/tree nut free", there are peanut-free tables in the cafeteria, and something that terrifies me are the epi-pens. I haven't had to use one on anybody, but holy moly, the idea scares me.
  7. skeeter

    skeeter New Member

    both of mine are allergic to trees, grass, weed, mold and dust mite, but the oldest is also allergic to cow's milk. Allergies also run in families that have high incidents of diabetes, arthritis and other auto immune issues. Many, including the kids' allergist, theorize that we have over active immune systems. We would have been the ones that lived through the plague or small pox. But since our bodies don't have to fight these things (either due to immunization or not being exposed) instead it decides to fight ragweed, casein, or itself.
    Luckily milk allergies are rarely the kind that go into shock, so we didn't have to keep an epi-pen handy, but we have had just about every other symptom - nausea, vomiting, hives, hyperactivity, eczema, subcutaneous acne - over the years. We did read every single ingredient label. He can have tiny amounts of milk now (such as in a baked good) but if he overdoes it, it's obvious.
  8. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Cory was horribly allergic to all formula type products such as milk based or soy based and even ones we attempted to make using goats milk when he was a baby. We were never given the option of those pre-digested ones because no one ever told us about them and I hadnt heard of them. If I had, I would have at least tried it. He had violent vomiting and horrible diarrhea which turned into such bad diaper rash it left burns that peeled his skin off. He was miserable until I completely took him off anything in his bottle except pedialyte, weak tea or weak kool aid. I started him on solid foods at about 1.5 months old simply because he couldnt keep any formula down. He was born in the summer and we would lay him on the floor in front of a window on a towel and just let the sun warm his little tush because it was so sore. It was the worst thing ever.

    Now oddly enough...he can drink milk just fine now. Jamie is the one who is lactose intolerant now!
  9. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    In all truth, I think allergies in general have become more rampant than ever.

    I don't recall a single kid in my grade school being allergic to food. I do recall one being allergic to bees and another having major issues with ragweed ect. That doesn't mean necessarily there wasn't a kid or two with a food allergy......just none I came into contact with.

    What a mother eats wouldn't create an allergy in the child. The fetus has absolutely no contact with the food the mother ingests, by the time the fetus gets the nourishment it is in the form of amino acids ect.

    I do think our modern sterile environments are contributing to this. But Aubrey has allergies and I can testify that while Nichole is clean, the child's environment is anything but sterile. lol Same for Brandon.......and easy child is clean, but is careful not to overuse cleaning products. So I just don't think it's the entire problem.

    I also think it's all the preservatives in our food, the chemicals sprayed on lawns, crops ect, the antibiotics given to livestock.........just an overall huge change in environment. I mean even our diets have changed in a huge way since we were kids. Eating at a fast food place was a rare event during my childhood. Most meals were cooked from scratch, no prepackage food for us. lol Our veggies were home pesticides or store bought fertilizer either.

    So I think it's is the accumulation of a lot of contributing factors making this a much bigger problem than it used to be.
  10. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    My allergist strongly believes the increase in allergies is environmental. The rates for allergies in third world countries is very low and rates increase in developing countries. Who knows what they'll eventually find out to be the trigger: just think how much more prevalant plastic is in food storage and preparation compared to when I was a kid and was still taking lunch in a metal lunchbox with my milk in a glass thermos.

    I also think that the fact that due to advances in medicine people who would have died due to asthma and servere allergies just two generations ago are living to contribute to the gene pool could have something to do with it.

    Peanut allergy is a strange one. I was one of those severely allergic kids--reacted to foods in breast milk, allergic to formula, spent years fighting eczema in the days before they had good medications for it, ruptured eardrums, and by my teens had respiratory congestion/drainage/pressure so bad that it was verging on debilitating. Thank God due to shots and medications those severe reactions are behind me, although I do exercise caution and know I'll pay if I eat a bowl of ice cream or use whipped cream on a dessert. But I can eat peanut butter by the spoonful without a single problem and so can my kids.
  11. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    I think you've hit the nail on the head here!

    I remember an article from years ago (when peanut allergies were on the rise) that suggested that folks were not allergic to the peanut--but to the pesticides that the peanuts are soaked in before processing!

    Evidently, when peanuts are dug up from the ground, they are accompanied by all kinds of ground-dwelling when the truckload of peanuts, dirt an creepy-crawlies arrive at the plant for processing, the entire truckload is hosed off with an insecticide and left to sit overnight. The next morning when the insects are all dead, the peanuts are unloaded and processed into food products.

    Sounds like just as good a theory as any....
  12. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I am sorry your grandbaby is allergic. It sure isn't ANY fun for him, or his parents. At least the first reaction was not severe enough to be life threatening, and his mom is a nurse!

    As for WIC, they give moms a choice between peanut butter and tuna plus beans. Most moms take peanut butter because it costs more to buy. I was not told ANYTHING about a link between the mom eating something and the child being allergic to it. In fact I was encouraged by every book, doctor and nurse to eat LOTS of high protein foods including peanut butter!!

    Our entire school district has gone peanut free - it can be VERY hard to find items thank you likes that will pack well that do NOT have peanuts. He has only had ONE child in his classroom with a peanut allergy - this is for the entire 7 years he has been in school (including preK and K). One child, ONE year as the parent moved the child to the local private school after that one year. His entire school has only THREE kids with peanut allergies, and they have classes from preK to 5th grade, and still the ENTIRE school has to be totally peanut free!!! in my opinion it is an over-reaction. A peanut free table seems more appropriate, even having certain classes be peanut free if there is a child there who is allergic to peanuts. NOBODY went milk free when thank you couldn't have milk. They didn't even give him an alternate drink with his lunch if he got the school lunch. He was given more fruit and veggies if he had to skip something with cheese, and they did keep some hot dogs on hand if he wanted school lunch and it had cheese or tomatos, but that was IT. And even the hot dogs were a problem at first - I had to teach them that casein and some of the other things in the hot dogs they were buying (and giving to twelve, yes 12, kids with milk allergies that were NOT due to lactose intolerance) were a problem for a kid with a milk allergy. At least 4 of the kids with milk allergies, including thank you, reacted with respiratory symptoms and had to have an epipen at school. Those kids had to have TWO epipens at school - one in the office and one in the cafeteria just in case. Talk about an expense for parents!!! We could only get 1 each 6 months unless we had doctor's or hospital notes that showed it was used! So we had to pay for the 2 pens at school and the 1 that had to be kept on the bus!!!!!! Epipens are NOT cheap - I got lucky to have an allergist who thought it was wrong to put limits like that on the pens when kids NEEDED them in more than one place. He ALWAYS had a couple that he got from the pharm co rep - so if they were expired we could just call him and he would actually MAIL them overnight to us so that school could have enough of them to keep my kid safe. He said too many parents were spending WAY too much on bills and were trying to cut corners with not enough pens so that in a true emergency one of "his" kids could die while someone tried to go get the epipen. Since he COULD get them from the rep, in substantial amounts, he thought he SHOULD help parents. He was a real gem.

    Anyway, I completely believe it is the additives in our food, leftover chemicals sprayed on fields, soil additives, chemicals on animal feed, etc... that have helped give rise to the problems we currently face. I also think that there is something to the notion that our bodies are all geared up to fight some major disease (and some of this ramp up is likely from vaccines), so it goes on the attack and attacks US instead of the many diseases that we either vaccinate against or simply do not see anymore. My immune system has completely trashed my body, in so many ways (including completely destroying my thyroid to the point that it cannot be FOUND by touch, which is almost unheard of! I have had FIVE docs try to find my thyroid by feeling it - NONE have been able to, and it explains why I can gain weight on a diet of under 1000 calories a day, according to my docs.

    There are some great alternatives to peanuts and peanut butter, including a soy butter that is marketed to taste like peanut butter and in my opinion tastes BETTER. Heck, if I still bought the tofutti cutie ice cream sandwiches my kids would FIGHT over them because they taste so good, ditto the tofutti cream cheese!! Sometimes the "alternative" foods open up a whole world of things we might not have ever tried otherwise.
  13. Marcie Mac

    Marcie Mac Just Plain Ole Tired

    Am always checking out allergies on the web - this one is interesting and gives a timeline of introduced vaccines

    I was listening to Coast to Coast on the radio the other night and they mentioned that the polio vaccine, they knew years ago it was going to cause cancer. Scarey if you google it Polio Vaccine and Cancer

    There is enough junk in our air, in our water, in our food nowdays that I am sure years and years from now when some new epidimic hits, they will trace it back and keep it for the most part quiet. The stuff that SO was taking to build up the calcium in his bones came with a big ole warning "May cause bone cancer" Oh, just great - this may help you but on the other hand, may kill you as well