The Truth About Six Common Peanut Allergy Myths

A peanut allergy can be hard to live with, and hard to accept. after all, there are many nutrients in peanuts, and many peanut products are far more economical than other sources of nutrition. Peanuts butter nutritional value is especially great, as it comes in such a tasty package. Having to avoid peanuts and peanut products entirely is costly and inconvenient.

Peanuts and peanut butter are everywhere. More than 98% of the population can safely eat peanuts, and the average American eats more than six pounds worth of peanuts and peanut products in a given year. This means that peanuts are prevalent throughout the food world and safely avoiding them can be a real challenge to allergy sufferers. Understanding the peanut allergy is key to keeping all of us both safe and well-fed. Read on to learn some common myths about peanut allergies and what the truth really is.

Peanuts Are the Most Common Food Allergy

They are in the top eight food allergies, but they are not the most common. Less than 1% of the American population actually has a peanut allergy, and milk and eggs are far more common things for children to be allergic to.

Peanut Allergies Manifest in Childhood and Are for Life

Any allergy can develop at any time in life, and any of us can develop an allergy to a food that we’ve previously eaten safely. Also, children can and do outgrow food allergies. This is very common in allergies to milk, egg, soy, and wheat; with peanuts and shellfish, it’s not as common. About 20% of children with a peanut allergy will outgrow it as they age.

Universal Bans on Peanut Butter in Schools Make Children Safe

Actually, research shows just the opposite. schools with bans do not see any fewer reactions or less use of epinephrine, and experts do not recommend such bans. The reason for this seems to be that bans create a false sense of security in both the peanut allergy sufferer and in caregivers and parents which makes everyone less watchful for unidentified allergens. Additionally, it is simply not possible for any school to ban every food that could possibly result in anaphylaxis.

Being in the Same Room with Someone Eating Peanut Products Can Cause Anaphylactic Shock

Research shows that this is not enough to cause any life-threatening reaction in a peanut allergy sufferer. Peanut particles are too heavy to be transmitted through the air, and while skin contact can sometimes result in itching and swelling at the site, it does not lead to a systemic immune response.

Peanut Allergy Is the Same as Peanut Intolerance

A peanut allergy is an immune system response. When the body’s immune system detects the allergen, it produces an antibody that triggers an extreme and life-threatening histamine reaction. Food intolerances of any kind are not life-threatening and do not involve the immune system. They may be very uncomfortable, but they are not fatal.

If a Food Doesn’t Obviously Contain an Allergen, It’s Safe to Eat

This is a dangerous myth that in extreme cases could even get someone killed. Without asking or reading the label, you never know what has gone into a food’s preparation and service. If something is not a whole food (i.e., a piece of fruit, an actual peanut sitting in front of you) and you have a severe allergy, you should never eat it without finding out everything about it.

A peanut allergy can be a very serious thing, and care should be taken to protect peanut allergy sufferers from a deadly reaction. For the rest of us, though, peanut butter nutritional value and the benefits of eating peanuts make this delicious, and historically American treat a nutritional source of immense value.

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