Many people have heard the phrase “Peanut Allergy” but few understand exactly what it means to have a peanut-allergic child, and even fewer see the need to pay attention or care about Peanut Allergy when neither they themselves nor their own children have a problem with peanuts. I did not think twice about food allergy, much less peanut allergy, until both my children were diagnosed with this life-threatening condition.
Having a peanut- allergic child in your child’s classroom, for example, is a possibility and means that every parent needs to be educated about the condition. The BIGGEST issue that people need to know about peanut allergy, is that a peanut allergic child can have a severe reaction without actually putting a peanut to his lips. The allergy is to the peanut protein.
If my child comes into contact with the peanut protein…not even a peanut, but the peanut protien, by lets say, putting a store bought cookie or cupcake made at the Kroger’s Bakery, in his mouth; within seconds, his body will have an anaphylactic reaction, his throat will close, and he will be unable to breath. This means, I have seconds to inject my child with an Epi-Pen Jr. and minutes to get to the hospital, or he will die. It is a very serious allergy.
This protein is very lightweight and is easily airborne. At first, I thought “Yeah, Right.” to have a reaction like that would be extremely unlikely; that is until my child had an allergic reaction to plain vanilla custard at a place that made only chocolate and vanilla but offered crushed candy bars as a fun topping choice.
My child’s reaction was because a visibly “clean” plastic spoon was contaminated with peanut protein. A product may still have peanuts in it without an adult seeing any peanuts in a product.
Some excellent examples of products that contain peanuts that you might not think of include: Jelly Beans, Candy Corn, plain M&M’s & anything manufactured by the M&M Mars company, Frank-in Berry Cereal, most desserts made in the bakery at the Grocery Store and most ready bake desserts made by Pillsburry.
The peanut Protein can also find its way inside plastic easter eggs that have been stuffed with candy that melted and then later re-used and stuffed with something else. Holidays are a nightmare to the parent of a peanut-allergic child.
To avoid putting a peanut allergic child in contact with a peanut product or a product that has been cross contaminated with peanuts, you just have to know what to look for. On the label of every thing you plan to expose a peanut allergic-child to you must check the ingredients.
At the bottom of ingredient list, there will be the words: “Allergy Information.” You want to look for statements that say: “Contains Peanuts, Contains Peanut Product, May Contain Peanuts or Tree Nuts, May contain Trace Amounts of Peanuts or Manufactured in a Facility That Processes Peanuts or Tree Nuts.”
All of those statements mean that particular product should not be brought in contact with a peanut allergic child because that child could get hurt an no one wants to be responsible for causing an anaphylactic reaction on a child.