Although living with an acute peanut allergy can be scary and potentially life-threatening, according to the latest research from the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) it doesn’t mean that schools and airlines should totally eliminate peanuts from their surroundings.
“People with severe peanut allergies can work with their allergist to develop an action plan to prevent or manage attacks,” said ACAAI President, Dr. Sami Bahna.
Highly allergic people may react after ingesting minute hidden quantities of peanuts or even after touching or smelling peanuts. These patients often live in fear they will come in contact with peanuts but however much they try to avoid them, there is no guarantee that specific allergens can be removed entirely from an environment.
“Unfortunately, life is not risk-free,” said Dr. Bahna. “A minority of people are severely allergic to peanuts, but it is not reasonable or possible to expect schools or airlines to be peanut-free. Consideration should be also given to the freedom of the vast majority of non-allergic persons. Also, peanut is not the only food that can cause severe allergy.”
Dr. Bahna suggests that people and parents of children with severe peanut allergies check to be sure the school and airline carry emergency treatment and educate their personnel about food allergies, rather than call for an out and out ban.