Expert says gross over-reaction to peanuts to blame for ‘nut hysteria’
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A Professor at Harvard Medical School suggests many people today are over-reacting to the threat of peanut allergies in children.
According to Dr. Nicholas Christakis many parents are caught up in an “epidemic” of irrational fears about children having allergic reactions to peanuts products and are in the grip of “nut hysteria”.
Dr. Christakis says the hysteria is such that a school bus was evacuated and decontaminated after a peanut appeared on the floor and he suggests there is a “gross overreaction” to nuts which is simply serving to make allergies worse.
Dr Christakis, along with other experts believes the avoidance of potential allergens may actually make children more sensitised, because they never have a chance to build up a tolerance to them.
It is thought that as many as a quarter of a million children suffer from some form of food allergy but Dr. Christakis this should be put into perspective.
While around 150 Americans die from food allergies each year, 50 are killed by bee stings, 100 struck by lightning. and as many as 10,000 children are admitted to hospital for traumatic brain injury after playing sport and there are no plans to ban sports.
Nevertheless it might be useful if parents are aware of the danger signs of an allergic reaction.
These include facial, lip or throat swelling, rashes that appear and spread quickly, breathing difficulties (from mild wheezing to gasping) and difficulty speaking - there may also be abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting or diarrhoea, or a sudden feeling of weakness - very young can become unresponsive and “floppy”.
The food allergy will appear every time the food is ingested and if a child often complaints about a particular food making them hurt, take notice especially if the complaints involve the throat or mouth.
Around 7% of people with peanut allergies have a sibling with one too, and many will also have another allergy such as asthma.
The good news is one in five children outgrow their nut allergy by the time they go to school.
The most reliable way to tell whether your child has a nut allergy is by a referral from your doctor to a paediatric allergy specialist.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States in 2007 around 3 million children under 18 had food allergies - a rise of 18% since 1997. The CDC says in 2006 about 6.8 million children suffered from some sort of allergy and for some reason which remains unclear there
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Chicago researchers report the development of a new mouse model for food allergy that mimics symptoms generated during a human allergic reaction to peanuts. The animal model provides a new research tool that will be invaluable in furthering the understanding of the causes of peanut and other food allergies and in finding new ways to
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A team of scientists from across Europe are embarking on new research to develop a treatment for food allergy. “Food allergy affects around 10 million EU citizens and there is no cure,” says Dr Clare Mills of the Institute of Food Research, a lead partner in the Food Allergy Specific Therapy (FAST) research project. “All
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According to a recent study from the University and the University Central Hospital of Helsinki, Finland, no allergy-preventive effect is extended to age 5 years by perinatal supplementation with probiotics in babies at risk for developing allergies; protection is conferred only to Cesarean section babies. Childhood allergies have increased significantly in industrialized countries during the
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